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. 

Advertisements

Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Casket Rediscovered in Former Wine Cellar

A funeral rime for one who considered

spirits, drugs and zombies in his life

and whose remains in a lead coffin

journeyed from chapel to church wine cellar.

Toast a blood-red wine to his life.

Coleridge

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY ELIZABETH BROCKWAY/THE DAILY BEAST

Read more: smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/poet-samuel-taylor-coleridges-casket-rediscovered-former-wine-cellar-180968811/

Picture: The Great Falls

 

The Passaic River is

interrupted

on its journey to the sea by

Little Falls

then

Great Falls

in Paterson, New Jersey

that inspire poets,

lovers and photographers.

My screen shows

a couple on the bridge

we all pause

a moment –

 

I allow the water

to move them

ever so slightly,

then take the picture.

 

 

One Whose Name Was Writ in Water

Here lies all that was once mortal.

An empty page of a short life.

He who wondered “Can death be sleep,

when life is but a dream?” now

knows more than we want to know.

Keats_Tombstone

John Keats’ tombstone in Rome


John Keats’ birthday was on Halloween. This poem was inspired by his tombstone. While caring for his brother who was dying of tuberculosis, John contracted the disease himself. He died in Rome early in 1821, at the age of 25. He had wanted his gravestone to carry this one beautiful line: “Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water,” but his two closest friends added a message as a way to attack some of the poet’s critics. This has always stuck me as so very wrong. They added: “This Grave contains all that was mortal, of a YOUNG ENGLISH POET, who on his Death Bed, in the Bitterness of his heart, at the Malicious Power of his enemies, desired these words to be Engraven on his Tomb Stone.”

On Death

1.
Can death be sleep, when life is but a dream,
And scenes of bliss pass as a phantom by?
The transient pleasures as a vision seem,
And yet we think the greatest pain’s to die.

2.
How strange it is that man on earth should roam,
And lead a life of woe, but not forsake
His rugged path; nor dare he view alone
His future doom which is but to awake.

John Keats

At the Beach with Sylvia Plath

Photo of Sylvia Plath from Gordon Ames Lameyer Papers probably from the Summer of 1953.

Sylvia Plath during a beach holiday in 1953, three years before she met Ted Hughes, and 10 years before her death. (photo from the Gordon Ames Lameyer Papers)

Even some who never read your poetry,

know about your suicide, troubled marriage, depression,

and life in the bell jar vacuum.

This cold day, I see you young,

a happy, blonde dream on a beach.