‘The Mortal Ash’ and ‘The Shadow Of Mortality’ poems
By strange coincidence, two of my very first poems to receive publication have both been on the subject of mortality. It’s perhaps not the most comfortable subject to deal with, but I think the impetus to write about this came at a time of greater exposure to loss and grief than I’d experienced before, and made me feel more tuned-in to our own mortality and compelled to write about it. It may even partly explain why I began writing poetry in the first place.
‘The Mortal Ash’
The poem is filled with sadness for me, as it reflects on the death of an ex-girlfriend. In 2021 I stumbled on the news, via social media, that her ashes were to be strewn at a remembrance ceremony, and it transpired that she had died 6 months previously. Shocked, and stunned by this chance discovery of her untimely death, I decided to locate the cemetery and went there the next day to pay my respects in private.
It was heart-breaking to see the ashes of the lovely person that I knew, who had so much life ahead of her, scattered on a patch of grass in front of me. So, when I returned home I wrote the poem in her memory.
The poem can be read in Duck Duck Mongoose magazine (Issue 1, poem no.16) My thanks to the editors for giving this a chance to be read in their wonderful new publication.
The Shadow Of Mortality
This poem reflects more generally on the fragility of the human experience and how we seem to grow more aware and sensitive to our own mortality with age. I suppose the ‘shadow’ is always with us, but looms larger, and in clearer focus, with time and experience. However, the poem also makes the point of how we can use that to help us try to live our best lives.
The poem can be read in The Writer’s Club edition of 9th April 2022.
By Sam Bartle