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May 28, 2015

Poetry Friday--"Mind and Heart"

At the Library, we lost one of our co-workers to leukemia last week.

You start to think about things like how you'd like YOUR memorial service handled when the time comes. I came across a portion of "Mind and Heart" on a Pinterest quotes page, many months ago, and it somehow lodged itself in my head. I find it to be affirming.
Mind and Heart
by Charles Bukowski

unaccountably we are alone
forever alone
and it was meant to be
that way,
it was never meant
to be any other way–
and when the death struggle
the last thing I wish to see
a ring of human faces
hovering over me–
better just my old friends,
the walls of my self,
let only them be there.

I have been alone but seldom
I have satisfied my thirst
at the well
of my self
and that wine was good,
the best I ever had,
and tonight
staring into the dark
I now finally understand
the dark and the
light and everything
in between.

peace of mind and heart
when we accept what
having been
born into this
strange life
we must accept
the wasted gamble of our
and take some satisfaction in
the pleasure of
leaving it all

cry not for me.

grieve not for me.

what I’ve written
forget it

drink from the well
of your self
and begin

I would like to have the part that begins "peace of mind and heart" read at whatever memorial service may take place after I go off to that big library in the sky. (Where else would a librarian and a writer go?) I also think "My Grave" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, would do.

And do you want to know what song I want played at my memorial service? This one:

Hurry down to Reflections on the Teche where I'm sure Margaret will be rounding up poems leaning more to the "bright side."


  1. It's hard not to think about your own death when a friend or colleague dies. Out of one side of my mouth I say it's not for me to plan but for the living. Yet, I have marked hymns in my hymnal. A friend said to me about this dilemma, "I'd like to think they will honor me with what I would have liked."

  2. Having recently done the planning for my mother and my husband, I really haven't thought much about this for myself, yet when I read your words, I remember a long time ago a conversation with my mother about what we liked when we said goodbye to our loved ones. I like that final thought in the poem, 'begin again'.

    1. Thanks, Linda. It's really quite an interesting poem.

  3. sorry to hear of the loss of your colleague Diane; thanks for sharing the poem

    much love...

  4. So sorry to hear about losing your friend and colleague, Diane. In just the last two weeks, I lost an online friend as well as my half brother. And like you, it's made me think about what my own memorial service might be like. Enjoyed the Bukowski poem -- hadn't seen it before and it seemed atypical of what I normally think of regarding his work.

  5. Beautiful choices, Diane. May it be a long time before they need to be used!

    1. Well, Tabatha, I certainly don't plan on needing them any time soon!

  6. What Tabatha said. :-) We have a standard set of funeral hymns for our family, and we add a personal favorite for each person, or one that reminds us of that loved one. When my dad died last year, we included his chocolate chip cookie recipe in the funeral program -- an enduring legacy. I'm sorry for your loss, friend.

    1. I love the idea of your Dad's cookie recipe in the program!

  7. I wonder, shouldn't dealing with death be difficult, how else do we balance out all the happy memories? Thank you Diane for reminding me to enjoy life and live big.

    1. I'm glad you took away "enjoy life and live big." I only wanted you to know that it doesn't hurt to plan ahead!

  8. So sorry for your loss, Diane. My hubby is off to a conference next weekend about end-of-life issues; kind of a special interest of his and he's done a lot of work in that area.
    I love your Van Morrison song choice - of course there must be LOTS of libraries on the bright side of the road. And cats. Lots of cats.

  9. Didn't know you were a Van fan, Diane! This, too, we have in common. :) May we all be ready when the time comes. I was just reading Bukowski the other day and thinking about my dear friend who turned me on to Bukowski. Unfortunately my friend died before he, or anyone else, was ready... he was only 27.

    1. 27 is ridiculously young, I'm sorry to hear about your loss. I've long been a Van fan. Not rabid, but a long-time listener.

  10. My son set this to music a few years ago when he was experiencing a dark, dark time. Such a haunting poem - and it made for a haunting song.

    1. I can imagine it was haunting. Out of darkness came the creative spirit, but, that still doesn't make the darkness any less frightening.

  11. I liked the very same lines you did.

    And yes, I have a folder on my computer full of poems and songs for my memorial service!