When I retired as a humanist celebrant I thought I'd stop writing this blog, but my fascination with all things death-related prompted more posts. They're just written from a slightly different perspective, that's all. Oh, and I still do the odd one, by special request.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thanks for your interest, if you had any

As I've retired as a celebrant and am planning to spend my time doing other things (like painting, drawing, taking photos and keeping the weeds at bay), I'm unlikely to be blogging here very often, if at all. If you haven't visited before, there's stuff to read anyway. If you have, thanks for showing an interest.

Here's one of my favourite poems about death:
Dennis O'Driscoll

someone is dressing up for death today, a change of skirt or tie
eating a final feast of buttered sliced pan, tea
scarcely having noticed the erection that was his last
shaving his face to marble for the icy laying out
spraying with deodorant her coarse armpit grass
someone today is leaving home on business
saluting, terminally, the neighbours who will join in the cortege
someone is trimming his nails for the last time, a precious moment
someone’s thighs will not be streaked with elastic in the future
someone is putting out milkbottles for a day that will not come
someone’s fresh breath is about to be taken clean away
someone is writing a cheque that will be marked ‘drawer deceased’
someone is circling posthumous dates on a calendar
someone is listening to an irrelevant weather forecast
someone is making rash promises to friends
someone’s coffin is being sanded, laminated, shined
who feels this morning quite as well as ever
someone if asked would find nothing remarkable in today’s date
perfume and goodbyes her final will and testament
someone today is seeing the world for the last time
as innocently as he had seen it first

From The Long Pale Corridor, Contemporary Poems of Bereavement, edited by Judi Benson & Agneta Falk, published by Bloodaxe Books (now out of print, but try www.abebooks.co.uk).

It could be you, so carpe diem!

Dennis O'Driscoll died suddenly on Christmas Eve, 2012, aged 58.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Poor Miss Baker

Miss Baker was a squirrel monkey who was sent into space in 1959 as part of the US space programme when she was two years old. She was the first animal to be sent into space that returned alive, though the poor little thing must have been terrified.

Miss Baker died in 1984 and is buried in Huntsville, Alabama, where this headstone marks her grave. Note the bananas left on top.

Click on the images to see them enlarged.
Photo of Miss Baker from Wikipedia Commons.
Photo of her grave from 'Cemetery Conservation Issues'.