Poetic Interlude III: In which Obituaries are Combed

Gentle Reader! This might take the place of a proper post today, or it may not. I am being remarkably productive, and I want to keep the momentum rolling. While the blog is helping acquaint me with prose, poetry is what I do, live, breathe. I soak in it, like a hot bath.

There were a few ideas for series of poems that recently sprang to mind, and they are underway. Series 1 will involve interviewing my remaining relatives – on my father’s side, individually, alone. I will grill them with their experience with mental illness, both personally and the fall out from other’s afflictions. Each interview will be gleaned for interesting diction, and carefully arranged into a poem – hopefully, as intended, from that person’s point of view.

Series 2 involves inventing a new mythology from whole cloth, without borrowing elements from, well, any culture, really. I’m allowing myself to borrow the idea of personifying concepts, simply because that’s how pantheons come about. People don’t understand things like Death, or Time, and so on, and they knit together a story to explain the world. Once said mythology is created, I will have a fresh, unique, set of imagery to call upon, hopefully lending a new eye to the commonplace. I’m happy with how this series is coming, so far.

Today’s poem, however, was written this morning, upon being stricken by this muse, while thumbing through yesterday’s newspaper:


I have no permission to use this photo, but it was published in Sunday’s Tacoma News Tribune, and I figure that therefore it’s fair game, if credit is given where due. Ahem.

Helen Zeigler-Robinson pierced my heart with her beauty. I therefore grabbed highlighter and the entire Obituary section, combing the death notices for phrasing, details, little indications of the living of life, from the loving statements to mothers, aunts, wives, and daughters. An hour or so of reworking, rewriting, reducing, and we are left with:

Ladies of the Obituaries, January 27

A proud Teamster,

A pioneer’s daughter,

Married a Major

One month, and one day.

Alma and Irma and Edna and Cleo

Slipped from this earthly life.

Survived by a husband,

A brother,

Her children;

Preceded in death;

Widowed again.

Born, in Olympia, Nineteen Fifteen.

Two world wars,

Three strokes, and twelve presidents,

In lieu of a service,

The eldest of eight.

Exhibited strength at Medosweet Dairy:


©2013 by Tyler J. Yoder. All rights reserved

About Ty DeLyte

Madame DeLyte has suffered a grave disappointment - YET AGAIN - and still believes that freedom, beauty, and truth are what's valuable, rather than vulgar cash. He'd add love to that list - but, well, what can he say about love?
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3 Responses to Poetic Interlude III: In which Obituaries are Combed

  1. Bernie says:

    Awesome. Great idea

  2. Sarah Spectacular says:

    Really fantastic, Tyler. So many people don’t even look at the obituary page anymore. Have you considered sending it to the “Editorials” page of the paper? Or perhaps, you’re saving it for the bound volume of your work I know will be published someday.

  3. paisleyglen says:

    Sarah, I hadn’t considered it. This is only a rough, knocked off after an hour, a cigarette, in the breakfast-hour. I’ve resolved only to post things still in progress here, and things that will lead people to purchase the eventual volume. It’ll be soon, if only electronically, if I can find a publisher that isn’t absolutely evil.

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