Death & Dying, Life & Living, Poetry

don’t rest in peace or sleep deceased

52504746 - mother and her daughter with umbrellas in spring alley

With death comes grief and letting go, but the loss is in us. The person who has died is no longer confined to this place and this space where we are limited by our bodies, our minds and the physicality of living.

This poem is about celebrating life and seeing possibility, even in death. It’s dedicated to my mom who lived with dementia and died, at least to this world, on August 17, 2016. Resting in peace wasn’t at all her style. Wherever she is, I hope she’s dancing a jig and being enveloped by love and joy.


don’t rest in peace

a poem by punkie

Click to hear me read the poem (or read the words below):

rest in peace, well-wishers say
but that’s not how I hope you’ll stay

i miss you, but i’m glad we’re free
from elder jail, and one to three

paradise has no locked doors
no one there will keep the score

they won’t scold you: “please sit down,
you might fall flat and break your crown!”

nothing good is disallowed
stuff that’s bad is disavowed

you can do just as you please
sip on sherry, not eat your peas

be as feisty as you like
stand up, speak out: fight fight fight!

golf and ski, swim in a lake
sleep in late for goodness sake

long gone are the aches and pains
the deadly drugs, the beeping chains

you can sing and rhyme and dance
archangels never look askance

leave behind death’s heavy shroud
skip to my lou amongst the clouds

try a two-step with some bear
like you did at the winter fair

water heaven’s windows boxes
watch birds and bees and little foxes

walk with rainbows in memory lane
touch the sky, embrace the rain

cuddle babies, delight in laughter
rock the world in your hereafter

reach down to me and take my hand
remember the words to mcnamara’s band

you’ll get to rap more irish tunes
fling and swing, bay at full moons

with friends and family all around
in a place where love abounds

the clock is on eternal time
each tick tock becomes divine

drink milky tea at endless parties
pop countless candy-coated smarties

throw caution to celestial winds
forget that you have ever sinned

god’s got your back, your front and sides
on one big long seraphic ride

stay awake, don’t sleep deceased
rejoice and savour sweet release

shoot fireworks with eden’s gang
march with saints, create big bangs

don’t rue the day you said goodbye
live it up, take wing, fly high

no more sorrow, instead you glow
your spirit soars, get up and go!

Here’s me reading it again for your listening pleasure:

Download a PDF of “don’t rest in peace.”

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

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