Monday, 7 November 2011


“After your death you will be what you were before your birth.” - Arthur Schopenhauer

The image from Magpie Tales is a rather lugubrious one today, perhaps in keeping with the Northern Hemisphere season, and also attuned to All Souls’ Day (November 2nd). Death is an inevitability that we must all face up to sooner or later. The advantages of doing this sooner are immense, as we can spend our lives doing useful, wonderful things that are more productive than sitting around worrying about dying. Perhaps most people have no issue with the idea of death itself, but are more concerned about the process of dying. The two concepts are quite different and should be distinguished.

Many people are concerned that they will be in pain when they are dying. Whenever we hear of someone who died, our first question seems to be: “Did s/he suffer? Was s/he in pain?” I acknowledge that concern about the process of dying need include consideration of the physical effects and manifestations of the disease or other cause of death, but most people seem to have serious concerns about the emotional, spiritual and metaphysical aspects of the cessation of life. Add to that the feelings of those who are left behind and our concern for them and how they will cope with our departure and one immediately begins to understand why death causes such disquiet for many of us.

Well, in the Southern Hemisphere we are in our last month of Spring, Southern November being the equivalent of Northern May. The weather is very changeable, with many showers and Spring rains that are making the gardens look green and are filling them with flowers. The ancient Greeks and Romans considered May a mournful and unlucky month, dedicated it to the dead, thus no weddings were celebrated in this month. I have altered the image to reflect our season, with apologies to Magpie Tales…

Spring Rains

The equinox balances day and night
And sun aligns itself most carefully.
Spring showers turn to rain
And iron weeps rust.

The air is warmer, birds soar into flight
But moon wanes most mournfully.
The deep ache turns to pain
And dreams to dust.

Spring is a most melancholy season
Despite the wild burgeoning of green.
Flowers suit more the grave,
And bitter thought.

I try to find in all a rhyme, a reason,
But deep down lurks my vengeful spleen;
How easier if all I forgave,
No longer fought…


  1. The changes work well, visually and poetically. It held me throughout and the last two lines inspired.

  2. I have never considered Spring to be melancholy, quite the contrary, so this slant on it is interesting. I imagine the Greeks and Romans tried to avoid bearing children in May, since they would be considered unfortunate individuals.

  3. Beautiful. The image sits well in an era of spleen and burgeoning and wane. It must have been quite the thing to edit the image that much. I really felt as though spring had come to it.

  4. As always your little fragments of history delight me and inform. I had not known the banning of marriage in May. Perhaps then why there is this well spring of June brides?

    I currently have a couple friends struggling through a painful death and have analysed my own feelings about the dreadful trend these days to prolong life no matter how agonizing it is.

    You poem, as well as your prose, touched deep feelings in my heart and soul.

  5. I can relate a bit to the changes in only that I hate the summer. My winter is Heaven to your Hell for me...if you see what I mean..!

    The poem has depth and deliverance. Beautifully done.

    *ahem*......and don't feel too bad about altering the image, (it suited your work) a few of us take liberties there from time to time...just an extension of our artistic promptythingmying-type stuff!

  6. I love the notion of iron weeping rust...

  7. ...iron weeping rust. Beautiful.

  8. I love the images you conjure here-the iron weeping rust, the wild burgeoning of green, which I never considered melancholy but somehow seems appropriate to your poem. Very thought provoking.

  9. A deep Magpie, you give us much to ponder.

  10. Thought provoking and beautifully written! :-)

  11. Lovely poem, as usual, Nicholas. I found the rhyming pattern fascinating - almost subliminal and the concept of Spring as a sad season was quite a mind shift...
    That we should relinquish our vengeful spleen and move on is quite good advice!

  12. A profound write - thank you Nicholas.

    Anna :o]