At Rest

Indoor Plant

We placed our palms upon the casket’s lid.
He used a marker tracing out a place
Where we could write some parting words. We did
The best we could while scrambling for some grace
To honor with farewell one so well-hid.
What words we wrote no readers need to face.
Eventually our hearts will come around
Since all’s still good above and underground.


Linked to dVerse Poetics hosted by Paul with prompt “underground”.
Photo: “Indoor Plant” by the author

I am also linking this to dVerse Form for All that I am hosting.  The form is ottava rima.

Author: Frank Hubeny

I enjoy walking, poetry and short prose as well as taking pictures with my phone.

87 thoughts on “At Rest”

      1. I have only experienced it once. I think it is a good idea as well. It is a very memorable experience. I wish I knew they were going to do that, I would have thought of something more interesting to write.

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    1. I was surprised when I saw the immediate family invited to write on the casket and I was glad the rest of us, friends and extended family, were allowed to do so afterwards. It was cathartic.

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  1. What a wonderful idea. I would have liked to have written on my mother’s casket, even though she was cremated. I love the measure pace of your ottava rima, Frank, like walking behind a casket. You’ve even included the word ‘underground’ fro Paul’s prompt 🙂

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  2. Well put, well said–beyond the testimonial; a novel & creative act. Beware though, or Hallmark will get involved and commercialize this.

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  3. I love the idea of sending our loved ones to their final resting piece with messages from those who will miss them. I wish this could have been so at my brother’s funeral many many years ago. A wonderful response to this challenging prompt.

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  4. I was fascinated with the idea of writing on the casket, as is everyone. I know many who have tucked messages in the casket, but this is a unique idea. We’re often left with words unsaid when we lose a loved one. This is an opportunity to say them. I suspect it’s quite cathartic. Great write!

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    1. I have seen people tuck messages or small objects in a casket prior to it being sealed also. This is a more communal way for everyone to touch the casket together and write some final words.

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    1. I hadn’t noticed that before, but I think you are right. Palms is a better word than hands. The whole hand, with spread fingers was traced, but the palm mainly touched the casket. It reminded me of those prehistoric cave paintings where one could see the hands with spread fingers painted on the walls of the cave.

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      1. I see what you were referring to, Jilly. That makes sense as well. My Aunt’s family is Methodist. The next time I see my cousin, I’ll ask him about it. I didn’t think about getting more information about it at the time.

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    1. I wasn’t expecting to do something like that and so I didn’t know what to write. What I wrote were simple words about loving and missing my aunt. Nothing more. Just placing the palm on the casket while it was outlined was powerful enough for me.

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    1. Thanks, Candy! That I used the same poem for both prompts was more a sign of running out of ideas on my part. Sometimes I look at a prompt, even my own prompt, and I have my doubts that I will be able to find anything to say.

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  5. I like this, Frank. Gentle and understated. It reminds me of when we buried my father-in-law and the children wanted to put things in the coffin with he that he might like ‘afterwards’. The undertaker didn’t like it much but tolerated a few of his personal objects. He drew the line when our second child (she was five years old) slipped a packet of his favourite mints in his jacket pocket. Seemed to think it was inappropriate.

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    1. Just the thought of your five-year-old slipping those mints in his pocket is a nice memory and one I now won’t forget. However, you may have to remind her of that when she gets older. Thanks, Jane!

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    1. I think they would be just as good, but normally only the very closest relatives would do that. Here even the extended family were allowed to write something and leave it with her. Thanks, Kathy!

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  6. Eventually our hearts will come around
    Since all’s still good above and underground.

    One could only remember the good while our loved ones were around and to record good memories of them when they were gone! That should be the case. Very wise words Frank!

    Hank

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  7. A poignant piece because of a deceptive simplicity. I love the idea of writing on the coffin and handprints are one of the oldest remaining testimonies to human presence. A lovely send off for your aunt, Frank. I am sorry for your family’s loss.

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    1. Thanks, Sue! She was a happy and much-loved aunt. You are right about hand prints. They are in prehistoric cave paintings. I was thinking of those cave paintings as we outlined our hands on the casket.

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  8. SigNaturE
    oF A SoUL
    Given and
    ShaRed letters
    of words touch
    iN pAlms oF LoVe LiGht
    CaskET or heArt.. asheS and duST
    Force
    LiVeS oN
    as syNerGy uS..

    Best Wishes for the
    Love of your Aunt’s
    Memories.. my FriEnd.. Frank..

    As all
    Love
    is
    MeMory NoW..

    No distance
    space or time..
    MeMory LiVes LoVe NoW..aLwAys aLive..:)

    Liked by 1 person

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