Mid-Week Mourning Poem (for Victor Gato)

If you are new here, hi, hello. I generally leave a weekend writing exercise at the end of the week and post a new piece of writing at the beginning of the week, but today I’m bringing you a mid-week exercise and a poem.

I haven’t blogged in a while because my cat was very sick and it became clear several days ago that he wasn’t going to make it. It was that delicate time when one has to decide in the cat’s best interests rather than one’s own. It was time to let him go.

I find the periods of my life when I am in mourning to be inspiring creatively. In particular for poetry and song. Emotional pain might not feel “good” – but it’s powerful stuff. I’ve learned to just be in it.

This week the workout is to write a “3-Stage Mourning Poem.” By “stage” I basically mean stanza. With each stanza, you need to “switch direction” but keep them related.

If you aren’t mourning a person or a pet right now, mourn anything. A plant, a favourite pair of shoes, your youth, your favourite restaurant, your ignorance, your idealism . . . whatever, just pick something to mourn.

Most importantly: bring in TANGIBLES. Familiar things we can see, hear, touch, etc. We so often feel pain when we see objects or hear songs that remind us of our loved ones. Show us those objects, weave them into the poem. If you start to get abstract, bring it back down.

And BTW, It doesn’t have to be a serious poem. (or piece of prose for you prose peeps out there)

In Mourning Cats

I know many cats in heaven.
All grandparents, a dad, cousin-in-law, acquaintance,
and at least three friends.
I may know two mice, if mice go to heaven
but my thought is mice
get an automatic rebound
back to the material world maybe
in the form of squirrels

They say cats have nine lives and I believe it.
Once you get to be a cat in heaven
you get to choose your next life.
That’s why cats always act like they own the place
because they do and when they commune with the mother ship
we are the butt of their jokes
how we suffer
how we break our hearts
how they just walk off in the middle of the night
without so much as au revoir

merci

We get close to the void
and write poems about getting close to the void.
Death makes us narrative.
We need to tell it straight
so family members can slip into the words
weave through remnants of troubled dreams
the stories weighing us
like magnetic ghosts

Victor Gato (1995 – 2011)

2 Comments

  1. Suma
    Jul 31, 2011

    Oh Danika, Sorry about Victor!

    I hope writing heals your heart with time.

    Best,
    Suma.

  2. Thank you Suma – I just found this comment. Still missing Victor Gato, especially since Christmas was his favourite holiday.

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