The Doe

For Karin’s prompt at Real Toads, What is? I don’t know if I met the bar but….here is my poem. I don’t use metaphors. I only write what I see and feel.  Also visiting dVerse Poets Pub open link night with this.

The Doe

“And to die is different from what any one supposed, and
Luckier”. Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass
Now that we speak of dying, And should I have the right to smile:” T.S. Eliot Portrait of a Lady III

I don’t know why I have been thinking of death,
sitting up here in my tree.
Maybe it is the suicide of Tony Bourdain or of a friend a year ago
or maybe it is the death of my mother,
almost a year ago.

The tree bark is warm and rough behind my back.
Green shadows dance about my head
while birds sing and fly and fluff
and squirrels chase each other,
some of them coming perilously close to my head.
I had dropped down some withered apples from
my pantry for the forest folk to forage.
I heard the faint crack of a branch and looked down
to see a doe nibbling on the apples.
She looked up and for just a moment
almost fled.
But then she resumed her eating.
Perhaps she had seen me sitting
on the back porch as she wandered through our yard.
Her eyes reminded me of my mother,
large and pansy brown
looking up with innocence,
looking up with knowledge of her dying.
looking into my eyes with sorrow
at leaving me behind.
I’ve been thinking a lot about death.
I wonder what it is.
I don’t know what death is.
I only know what it isn’t.
Today it isn’t the blue sky and green trees
and the doe eating apples
at the foot of the tree.

34 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Jun 14, 2018 @ 16:12:37

    Splendid way of treating death… especially love :

    I don’t know what death is.
    I only know what it isn’t.


  2. Frank Hubeny
    Jun 14, 2018 @ 16:38:50

    Nice description of the doe eating those apples and not running off.


  3. Vivian Zems
    Jun 14, 2018 @ 16:44:27

    It’s so much easier to know what death is not,,,than what it is. It’s never comforting, nice, peaceful…or any of those words. Your mum’s passing is still recent….and i read the emotion in and between your words.


  4. sanaarizvi
    Jun 14, 2018 @ 16:56:47

    This is incredibly moving Toni.. I can feel the pain in your words and the burden of understanding death.


  5. ManicDdaily
    Jun 14, 2018 @ 17:10:22

    Just a lovely lovely poem. Really very moving–I love the moment you described and all that you fit inside it.

    Please note that I think you have a typo–I think you mean eyes, where you type yes, writing about the doe and your mother. I mention it only because it’s such a wonderful poem–

    thanks much. k.

    ps – my mother also died about a year ago (in late August.) I have written a little book that I hope to publish soon. k.


  6. Charmed Chaos
    Jun 14, 2018 @ 17:13:59

    Beautifully moving Toni.


  7. scotthastiepoet
    Jun 14, 2018 @ 17:53:52

    Great write I think – really loved this – you have a strong and original voice, I think…


  8. Grace
    Jun 14, 2018 @ 18:15:47

    I don’t know what death is too ~ I think its a personal journey for all of us ~

    Take care and enjoy your beautiful season ~


  9. Victoria C. Slotto
    Jun 14, 2018 @ 18:20:59

    I love this, Toni. Perhaps you don’t purposely write metaphor. And it’s true, this is an exquisite example (as I see it) of realism, a style I like. But taken in parts and even as a whole, I see so much that it stands in for. An example? Those birds fluttering around your head are like a call to live fully. I like the circular effect of the beginning and the end, that always grabs my attention. Funny thing, I’ve been thinking about wanting to climb a tree lately and keep looking around for one that would work. ;0>


    • kanzensakura
      Jun 14, 2018 @ 19:08:05

      Oh Victoria, you need a tree. We all of us need a tree. Find yourself one and if necessary prop up a ladder to get you started. I do keep my cell in my pocket because after all I am 66. I don’t know why Tony’s suicide has affected me so deeply. I met him a few years ago and he was a delight. All these deaths occurring in June. These anniversaries are piling up.

      Get Outlook for Android



  10. coalblack
    Jun 14, 2018 @ 19:46:56

    There is always the yin and the yang, and sometimes we can only say what a thing is not. This is poignant and touching and I can totally identify with it.


  11. oldegg
    Jun 14, 2018 @ 19:58:15

    This is so beautiful. It reminded me of my childhood climbing up and sitting in a tree and observing the world…then I felt weepy wishing I was back there over seventy years ago.


  12. rothpoetry
    Jun 14, 2018 @ 21:35:11

    Interesting what triggers our memories and our pondering of the future. Death is one of those unknowns that we all will face and a mystery to all. Very well done.


  13. Sherry Marr
    Jun 14, 2018 @ 22:21:52

    This is so lovely – the doe looking up with eyes like your mother, and staying to eat, not running away…….your mother’s eyes, the sorrow of leaving you behind….how moving, Toni. So beautiful. Sigh. I love those closing lines. The tree, the der, the apples….gifts!


  14. kim881
    Jun 15, 2018 @ 01:53:37

    How wonderful that we have similar visitors in similar places, Toni, and sad that we both miss our mothers.. As I read your opening lines I can see the early sunlight through the branches of our willow, the brown bark and green shadows, and I’m there with you. No deer in our garden. They’ll appear later. 😉


  15. annell4
    Jun 15, 2018 @ 09:52:03

    Dear Toni Death is a tender place, we humans have such a hard time with…why do good people die, the ones we love, the ones we miss so much? There really are no answers, we are left to question. It is good to keep “death” close. Then she can’t sneak up on you. I have come to know her well, and to know that she is kind and tender. Always faithful. If we have lived, all who remember us, will keep us with them. My Mom died in 2012, and I miss her everyday. To lose our Moms, is a very hard one, indeed. It is said, “she remains close in your heart.” She speaks to you, if you look for her words. xoxox


  16. purplepeninportland
    Jun 15, 2018 @ 16:28:09

    The scene in which you ponder death is set like a storybook. I love the way you ended this, and I relate to these words, as they have been in my head for some time.


  17. MrsBednar
    Jun 17, 2018 @ 16:57:25

    A poignant poem and I adore the way you ended with what it is not!


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