Fin de siècle

Born at the end of a century,

she knew only this one, not even

for two full decades. Too brief.

Fin de siècle, closing one era, onto another.

A brief summer. Winter without a spring.

graves snow

Fin de siècle is a French term meaning “end of century,” a term which typically encompasses both the meaning of the similar English idiom “turn of the century” and also makes reference to the closing of one era and onset of another. It is often associated with the end of the 19th century.

An Autumn Dance of Death

bees hive

Female worker bees are working long hours

gathering autumn nectar for the colony’s winter.

Like me, they’re storing carbohydrates and protein

for when they stay inside, although unlike

bees, I hope not to die there.

Death Mask

Wax or plaster cast of a face.

A primitive, accurate photo without a camera.

Memento, or basis for a later portrait.

Eerily real, every feature, with some distortions

from the weight of plaster and death.


Death mask of the poet Dante Alighieri who wrote The Divine Comedy. He died September 13, 1320 from malaria.