“Bermuda Urn”

When is life held in gold russet skies?
Vermilion glows, seagull glides…
Or cremation of muscle pulp
Mortar and pestled brain
Grains of sand trapped
Fevered oasis, metempsychosis
Cuticles and burnt hands
Without explanation as to how
We crawl from water, withstand
Nor why free radicals spread illness
Universal mitosis, for giving, then taking,
Our time…

Your body could not win that fight
Razed to die, its own undoing

Condensed via fire into a “Bermuda Urn”
Calling it that throughout your hurt
One lifetime more than a story…
Prior to sailing north of cancer

Her wit seldom lost then
Leaving me now without her laughter

Ex rays, cat scans, biopsies, skin grafts
Vomit, holding her hair back
Malignant ugly purplish bruising
Red bandanna covering bald head
Still meaning each word, every single thing
When I said that you were beautiful
Won’t forget those long drives
Venting for lest it drain in truth

Trips over The Ambassador Bridge
Both loving Vonnegut

Trying not to go broke dying
PT, OT, loss of limb
Watching her struggle on prosthetic leg
Her arm shook supported by cane
Painfully—self-awareness of living unable

Sadly, cursing fate
And all lifelong “friends”
Who out of convenience

Walked away

Before her fatal conclusion; there was a will
She planned a “Bermuda Urn” in pink ink

That made me squint at the torn spiral page
For herself spread, becoming over ocean

Immunity being without design here
Unlike a box of Wheaties, Shredded Wheat
“So it goes…”  Incomplete
You were my champion
In the throes of cosmic jokes
Left in trade winds of connection
Charred vestiges of insanity
Love, I’ll always miss you
Wishing you would come back to me

Care for a reading?


60 Responses to ““Bermuda Urn””

  1. You’ve shredded my emotions a little today and I thank you for bringing some buried memories to the surface. They need to come up for air from time to time.

  2. This is so touching…it is a beautiful tribute, yet shouts so vividly of another’s pain, I find I am left speechless. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Sammy Sutton

  3. betweenhearts75 Says:

    This brought me to tears, from remembering my aunt, my mom’s sister (only 29)… and my own mother’s struggle (a “survivor” ) ~well written Adam, and a beautiful tribute….

    • Oh no, didn’t mean to make people teary. Happy to hear your mother is a survivor, April. Sorry to hear about your aunt.

      • betweenhearts75 Says:

        🙂 You are a wonderful writer Adam, its certainly okay/bringing out emotions/release is always a good thing…I don’t mind being moved in it with your work. 🙂

  4. A wonderful poem of rememberance and the pain and emotions of these events…a beautiful poem.

  5. boah adam – i managed to hold back the tears while reading it – but when i saw the player and listened to your reading, i started to cry..

  6. I listened before I read…I shouldn’t have, I know…but it reminded me of having this chat with my mum last year about her funeral arrangements. There’s more to this story, but not for your blog. Thank you, another one that requires tissues lol…you have a great gift Adam x

  7. Sometimes when friends and loved ones talk about ways to die, and funeral arrangements and such, I think often they do not realize the effect it leaves on the person spoken to, especially a caring listener. Sorry you needed tissues. Appreciate your kind words, Shan.

  8. dude…way to rip the emotions today…heavy one shot…reminds me of giving my MILs funeral…

  9. Beautiful, Adam. Like the memories contained within the urn.

  10. moondustwriter Says:

    another tear

  11. I feel the struggle, the lingering, the longing for the end, and for life not to. Beautiful.

  12. Adam, this is a heartrending poem. It has left me speechless.
    I recently lost my brother to cancer/parkinson’s disease.
    How we don’t want a life to end, but the suffering is more
    than we can stand. This is beautifully written.

  13. We need to embrace our memories and you wrote these out (if they are in fact yours) with grace… May I offer this quote:

    “When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
    —Kahlil Gibran

  14. You get into all the underlayers of what hell watching a loved one suffer and die really is, and also manage to flood the poem with the light of that person’s presence and the love you felt. An excellent, very human poem which I’m grateful to have read.

  15. A heart full of ache and memories dearer than gold. Thank you for sharing.

  16. much healing in this writing….dustus…blessed memories of this champion….she obviously was a wonderful influence in your life…thank you for sharing this…bkm

  17. If death could be made beautiful, your words have done it justice. Tender, heartfelt, painful, real. The loss is obvious, the images fantastic..I fear nothing I could “comment” could lay proper homage to this piece. Wow! Goosebumps linger, consider this heart touched.

  18. Ooo, I love the play of imagery here – mixing the beautiful with the grotesque, to some degree. “Gold Russet skies” contrasted with “cremation of muscle pulp mortar and pestled brain”…makes for some very striking visuals juggling in the reader’s mind. And the piece itself is a touching one, it pulses with ache, but also love, and remembrance…it is a horrible thing to watch one go as such, but to be able to remember all the beautiful moments one shared with them…there is no price on the feeling. Very real, very raw, and quite breathtaking in its unveiling, my friend. A powerful piece indeed.

  19. That’s a very powerful and emotional piece. After my mother died, I wrote a piece called Parade of Love. It was cleansing for me. Your last line seals it.

  20. Adam…
    Vivid and touching.
    What a fantastic poetic talent you have.

  21. thoughtsnotlost Says:

    I felt enveloped by this poem. The wording. I was captivated!

  22. I’m going to be teared out by the end of tonight. Beautifully written.

  23. I am so glad I didn’t listen to this before I read it. I would have been a mass of jelly.

    What a tribute to love, to an individual, and how well you captured dying.

    It’s something our culture shuns the knowledge, except it happens, it happens, and it happens to us.

    A strong, humane and powerful with loving poem.

    Lady Nyo

  24. this left me breathless, Adam ~ feeling the agony of two sharing such a painful journey, yet the deep love struggling through to …and past… the end. beautifully crafted. i am in awe.

  25. This brought tears to my eyes – strong writing

  26. Touching words.

  27. This is beautiful, Adam. It’s not easy to confront such a huge loss at all, much less in a stunning poem. We have posting poems of loss/pain in common this week. What shines through this poem for me is your love for her, like a sunset over the ocean. Be assured that this love sustained her. When I scattered my father’s ashes I felt that his love remained; I often feel it in the Western skies here in Colorado. Baci– Jenne’

  28. Beautiful, touching – tugs at the heart.

  29. Adam,
    This certainly touched me. Cancer is such an awful disease, both for those that pass on and are left behind. I agree with Chris, the beautiful mixed in with the sad was a great touch. My Aunt lost her battle last March and it was hard watching the progression. Cancer affects everyone at least once in their life. Thank you for sharing.

  30. Adam my heart goes out to you in your loss of her. Great piece of her memory, struggles, and your love. River

  31. […] . “Bermuda Urn” by Adam Dustus  When is life held in gold russet skies? Vermilion glows, seagull glides… Or cremation of muscle pulp Mortar and pestled brain Grains of sand trapped Fevered oasis, metempsychosis Cuticles and burnt hands Without explanation as to how We crawl from water, withstand Nor why free radicals spread illness Universal mitosis, for giving, then taking, Our time… Your body could not win that fight Razed to die, its own undoing Condensed via fire into a … Read More […]

  32. A wonderful tribute, Adam. Very touching.

  33. Anita Wakeham Says:

    Heart wrenching words Adam, so beautifully written.


  34. A really powerful piece, Adam.

  35. Raw, real and very wrenching.

  36. *hand to heart* ouch. Painfully lovely. ♥♥

  37. Ack…this was tight and very very moving…
    I really liked your wordplay here! Bermuda, cancer, ocean, gold russet skies… they all linked together so beautifully! It was like you were speaking of both a sufferer, and the island itself – rising (or at least attempting to rise) from its own ashes!

    The sadness here is so palpable… And I sincerely pray no one has to ever go thru’ this misery! 😦

    A highly impressive piece, Adam! Hats off to you, my friend!!!

  38. Beautiful, sad and powerful and you sent me to the dictionary.

  39. Just read Terresa and Pete…all beautiful and moving pieces including yours but it’s playing havoc with me — it seems the blackest and saddest clouds have settled over onestop today and I want to break through and let the sun shine again. Yet this piece is so haunting, so vividly imagistic, so piercingly emotional – well penned and haunting. The dead, it seems, have returned this end of January for a visit to the living. Welcome back, I say. Thank you.

  40. I can read this poem over and over again since every word pierces my soul. You really are a great poet.

  41. this one speaks to me, as I work on a med. rehab unit. perhaps these words will help put someone back together? Very cool.

  42. my friend, that is a breathtaking poem….beautiful imagery…so heartbreaking…and stunning in its beauty
    thanks for sharing,


  43. With everything else behind them, once I got to your last two lines I cried. A universal truth for any broken heart.

  44. Wow. This one, this one just aches. I felt so many emotions without being told to. Brilliantly written, so hard and delicate at the same time. So, so sad, and it’s personal but somehow speaks to the human condition. Wonderful work.

  45. A searing piece, Adam! And from the comments above, you’ve touched us all, all the chords of our being. The honesty of your lines, how you bare your sorrow make of this a great poem. You’ve said for us in masterful poetic form what we cannot and who has not felt this pain at one point in time? I, too, lost a love but I haven’t couldn’t go back there, not even look back without dying. Thank you for sharing yourself in this wonderful poem.

    Sorrow and pain seem to be a theme we share this week. My OSW post, “alien notes” just below “quenched” is all about that, too. Thanks again for this space!

  46. A difficult poem. In a good way.

  47. Cathartic gut wrenching – raw real passion for the struggles of survival and losing our loved ones and leaving us here to carry on without them, somehow we manage but the deep down pain is significant I don’t think we really get over it but manage to cope and love again in time.

  48. Adam, reading this was touching enough. But listening to you speak these words, hearing the inevitable swing between resistance and acceptance tore my heart. Thank you for sharing such a private place with us.

  49. Sad, warm, great tale-telling.

  50. Staggeringly poignant Adam, beautiful write.

  51. oh, adam :'[

    what a tragic, yet beautiful poem…

  52. Beyond touching! Your words are like memories repeating the pain. It is ironic how it must be vented to be borne.

    You’ve conveyed deep emotion and made hard words beautiful. Thank you Adam for the poem and especially for reading it aloud.

  53. Very powerful, and beautiful photograph.

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