Death & Dying, Life & Living, Poetry

the turnstile

the turnstile cropped

I was struck by the beauty and wisdom of these words by Gwyneth Walne who responded thus to 7 ways to honour living and dying with dementia:

“A peaceful and respectful death is the greatest gift one can give to a fellow human being. it is perhaps the most honourable thing a person can do. it’s not about money or status; it;s about the joy of being alive and the sheer wonder of life’s rich tapestry. What comes next none of us know, but we are all going so let’s make it special and personal.”

The poem below was partly inspired by Walne’s quote; it’s about the pain and anguish as well as the hope of being at the side of someone you love as they transition to another place.


the turnstile

a poem by punkie

you never know
what you may find
you wake to learn
you’ve lost your mind

bloody bruises
broken arms
does death await?
or other harms?

try to comfort
hold limp hands
lose your way
in shifting sands

close your eyes
sleep awhile
ask some god
to turn the stile

bitter twisted
hidden lies
break and bleed
when people die

seek the light
pray for rain
flee the deadly
knife of cain

greener grass
the other side
rainbows arc
in bluer skies

forests deep
say come to me
o’er the fence
and there you’ll see

truth is spoken
by the brave
blessings sing
beyond the grave

See also: once a dancer

© Susan Macaulay 2016. I invite you to share the links widely, but please do not reprint or reblog or copy and paste my poems into other social media without my permission. Thank you.

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4 thoughts on “the turnstile”

  1. Wow, I love that last verse – “truth is spoken by the brave / blessings sing beyond the grave.” Thanks for a nice moment of morning calm, Susan. I’ve been discussing death with my mother, and sharing my belief that we will all be reunited in another form beyond the grave. Even if it’s just blind faith, why not make it positive?


  2. I do agree so much with your sentiments. Although it is now 18 months since Mum died and I now have John on the journey. I find I think about these things a lot, hard not to. I love your poems and find them very meaningful to me – I am sure others feel the same. Thanks so much for sharing.


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