Monday, April 11, 2016

Instructions for Ashes

I will trust you to give away my turtle drum
rain stick   the redwood burl just beginning
to root   Return the borrowed books   old letters
hold me between thumb and forefingers   Drop
my ashes   dark as burnt paper   among chicory

alyssum   wild mint   Let me fall like sunlight
on irises unfolding purple wings   drop
blueward into sea   one salt crystal
the shell’s secret core   Feed me

to summer trout   Let the hounds carry me home
through green gape of morning   a burdock
hooked tight   riding the fine mesh of fur
muscle and bone   falling in farmyards
rising up in cow’s small brown hills

crusted and dry   poked by a child’s bare foot
Let me be welcome in folded leaves   cherry pit
appleseed   rose-colored moon inside the grape
If there is no eulogy   let it be

in the cloud of dust rising from hooves
a scar in some poet’s hand   let it be
in riverbeds covered with snow   in the small talk
of birds   clam-colored light of early evening
Let it be one last milkweed pod   spitting seeds

~Ellen Kort 

I love this poem. It is freeing, positive, and joyful. When our journey here is done and the sun sets on our lives, I think it is not necessarily a bad thing. I think that we can look at it in a positive way, becoming part of the universe in a permanent and still important way. Each particle of everything matters and has a place and a purpose. We matter. It all matters. This is how it is meant to be. I first read this poem when I was a young woman. As I grow older, it becomes more personal and relevant to me. 

Please read my Challenge Reveal Post for insight on the poetry that I chose to share here.


  1. What a lovely poem - it flows so beautifully and has such wonderful imagery. That's Purrfect

  2. Yes indeed, we are made of the elements of the earth and rightfully return to it. I get that this guy wants his ashes spread around to the four winds.
    One thing I noticed in this poem is that the author doesn't use punctuation. Like the wind, it's just moves quietly where it will.
    Have a great day.

  3. I agree, this is a beautiful, peaceful poem. The natural order of things, the cycle of life. This is why we have chosen to be cremated and have our ashes scattered. I want to return to the earth, and the ocean, and the sky! Thank you, Annie, for sharing something new that I will treasure.
    Josie Two Shoes
    from Josie's Journal

  4. an awesome choice Annie for the letter I; when my time comes; I hope to go with courage, a sense of accomplishment, and to see Weezer...first ♥♥♥

  5. That is a beautiful poem. My request is to have the ashes of all my cats that have passed before me to be buried in my coffin with me. And to bury me in pajamas. I am strange.

  6. Very pretty, what wonderful thoughts! Yes, i want my ashes to fertilize the flowers, become again part of something living.

  7. I am unfamiliar with this poem and author. I liked it, but found the last line in the first stanza not to ring true or fit the poem. It is the only metaphor in the poem and human ashes are not dark like burnt paper. These four words just stopped me in my tracks! The rest was excellent and gave me lots to think about. Hope you don't mind the criticism of the poem and won't hold it against me. Sending lots of love and hugs, Janet

  8. Oh I love that "let me fall like sunlight on irises" brilliant. The imagery in this is so peaceful.

  9. It is a beautiful poem and echoes many of my sentiments. I could not say it so eloquently.

  10. Beautiful poem and imagery, thank you for sharing :)

    @LunaNoctis from There She Goes