The Dead Woman and Wanting


For Big Tent Poetry, but not to prompt

I find that I am liking Marvin Bell’s Dead Man poetry form. It fascinates me and takes me to unexpected places. So, I did another one, rather than the wordle that was this week’s prompt.

The Dead Woman and Wanting

The dead woman knew she wanted something.
She could feel it, there, where her gut used to be.
But, the dead woman couldn’t quite remember what it was that she wanted.
The feeling of wanting kept pulling her to awaken.
But the dead woman never awakened fully, only drifted toward the surface (never
     quite arriving where earth ended and air began).
The dead woman was restless, trying to move, to find a more comfortable place, and position.
She realized she couldn’t move because all of her connections were broken.

More About The Dead Woman and Wanting

The dead woman had a lot of time on her disconnected hands.
She thought thoughts about wanting something.
Realized that the more she thought, the more she wanted whatever it was
     that she might be wanting.
She could feel the want rising like a bubble, from the place where her gut used to be.
The dead woman focused on that bubble and the bubble grew.
She couldn’t see it, of course, could only sense it growing.
The bubble continued to grow, filling all of the space around the dead woman.
It finally burst its confinement and the dead woman gasped in surprise.
She pulled in the very air of her wanting.
And for that one brief moment, the dead woman knew she wanted to live.

Elizabeth Crawford  12/24/10

About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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13 Responses to The Dead Woman and Wanting

  1. mark says:

    That is tremendous. I’ve been playing around with the form, and still come up empty but have really enjoyed what others, including you, have done with it.

    Hi Mark, it’s been a while and thank you much for the “tremendous.” I’ve been trying to figure out what it is about this form that draws me. The first one was a bit of a lark and not quite according to the rules. The second one was much closer to those rules and terribly satisfying. This one came about because of another prompt and this one hits the mark, in a very deeply satisfying manner. This one simply demanded to be written, ran around inside my head for two days before I said yes. So, I too have been playing with the form, while trying to reason out my own fascination.

    I think it is because it starts, begins with a Universal. Whereas, most other poems begin with a personal and reach for the Universal, this form starts there. At some future date, we will all be dead men and women. What would we have to say about that from the grave? Looking back from the grave, what would we see, and say about it? It then becomes a Universal reaching back to a personal. It certainly changes the perspective and gives rise to a different bent in the thought process. And I can see why Bell became so enamored of the form he created. It is a possibility waiting to happen. Sorry, about that, but your comments triggered off my own thought process. Thank you,



  2. Christopher says:

    This is an intriguing motif. I like both of yours and I like Gautami’s too. I am not sure it fits in my frames. I will have to try.

    And hello again to you Christopher. And I agree, it certainly is intriguing. Glad you like it and I also like Gautami’s version of the form very much. And I would hope that you do try. You have a deep well of personal wisdom that could do much with the form. Here’s hoping that you do, and if you do, that you come back and let me know so I can read it. Look forward to that. Thanks much for your comments,



  3. neil reid says:

    Elizabeth, you use this form to well crafted and good result. Perfect application I think. I’m not only impressed, I’m may want to try playing with this myself. (Pardon my brevity. It’s late. I’m sick. But couldn’t not “appreciate” this fine poem you made.)

    Thank you Neil, not just for the wonderful comments, but as the source of inspiration for this poem. It started whispering the moment I read your last prompt about saying what I want, lol. I dismissed it and moved on. The poem refused to lie down and be silent. So, here it is and I believe we are now even, lol. I would absolutely love to see what you would come up with using the form, so do please try it. And I can only hope that whatever is bothering you takes rapid leave and allows you a wonderful and warm Holiday,



  4. vivinfrance says:

    This theme has really grabbed at you and Gautami. And you exploit it so well, with some beautiful writing. I particularly like your closing line – but then don’t we all want that?

    Thank you, Viv. I don’t mean to exploit it so much as explore it, lol. And you are absolutely correct when you say it has grabbed both myself and Gautami. I think I keep very good company, my friend. And that is one of the things about the form that intrigues me. It simplifies and directs all at the same time. Almost like backward logic, something I think I do a bit of and have done for a very long time, lol. You are into your Holiday and I hope you enjoy each moment of it,



  5. Susannah says:

    Oooh, I find this very powerful, especially the very last line.

    I also found the line “She realized she couldn’t move because all of her connections were broken.” very emotive too on so many levels.

    I am late to your poetry blog Elizabeth but I am very much looking forward to exploring here.

    Susannah 🙂

    Susannah, thank you for finding me and I hope to see you often. And am glad I found your site as well. I agree that the form lends itself well to a rather profound train of thought about the simplest truths. I’m old enough to be able to say that I have past, or other, lives I have lived. I particularly like the broken connections as well, because they are so real to me and to my experience. Hope your Holiday is filled with wonder and wonderful moments,



  6. Wow, this is really deep, Elizabeth. I must go back and investigate the form. I love what you wrote about instead of starting from the personal to reach the universal, this forms starts off there. Interesting. Powerful writing.

    Hi Sherry. Like any poet, my poems are seldom truly finished. So, much of what I write here turns out to be no more than draft material. I began revising this one this morning because it suddenly occurred to me how to deepen it and make it richer. That happens way too much and I’m thinking that my blogging is simply practice space. Do you feel the same way? Hope I’m not the only one, lol. And I definitely prefer my poems with a bit of meat on them. Thanks for stopping, and again, have a wonderful holiday, just don’t fall in the ditch, okay? I do so hope you try it, it takes a bit of playing with, but eventually one can and does find that bit of meat.



  7. pamela says:

    Elizabeth the second poem is very powerful. Yes, essentially all we want is to live.
    You do a fantastic job with this form. I am wishing you and yours a love-filled holiday.

    Hi Pamela, and thanks for your generous and encouraging words. The powerful and fantastic are on their way to the kudo box, as we speak, lol. I am looking forward to the festivities tomorrow, after all, I’m bringing the Amaretto slush. It’s quickly become a tradition, lol. I wish the same for you and yours, have a really good one.



  8. Yes, well done my friend. You make me want to try the deadman form again. This is wonderful. And yes the broken connections, are very familiar to me. I have known them. And maybe last line, for every poem, is the desire to live! It’s great and you add so much! Thanks.

    Thank you, my friend. And I do hope you try it again, there are so very many possibilities within the form itself. At our age, the broken connections are many and familiar, although they don’t hurt any less. And when I started the poem, I had no real idea what I was actually going to write, but did know that was where it would end. I love what happens between those two spaces when I write. Have a wonderful trip out to the Pueblo this evening, I’ll be thinking of you,



  9. Laurie Kolp says:

    Lovely, descriptive piece… I love disconnected hands, and the ending is riveting.

    Thank you Laurie. I’m of an age that I have experienced many disconnecting moments. The last was this past spring when my mother passed away at 91. It altered my entire daily existence. And all that suddenly free time and how to fill it was both scary and thrilling. But, I stumbled onto the poetry prompt circuit and feel as though that bubble bursting was an astounding thing. The last couple of years she lived, my mother frequently apologized for taking up so much time and energy. I have a sense that somehow she led me directly here, then whispered, “Have fun.” And I have.

    I’m glad you liked the poem and hope your Holidays are extra special,



  10. irene says:

    I like the transcendent moment. Merry Christmas Elizabeth!

    And the same to you, Irene. I love that moment as well, I’ve had a few of them.



  11. jagdish bali says:

    The dead woman can’t rememnber what she wanted. She has always found life lacking but can’t make out. Nicely built.

    Jagdish Bali, welcome and thank you for that very succinct interpretation. And yes, that was a great deal of what I wanted to say. Wanting to live, is wanting more.



  12. deb says:

    Wow. I really like “where her gut used to be.”

    Thank you Deb, the “wow” goes in the kudo box. I am really enjoying the exploration of this form. Ideas dance, and I love that when it happens. Thanks again for the prompt,



  13. Ellen says:

    I see so many parallels in this poem~ I love the way you portrait the woman! An internal battle of wills; I am glad she won!

    That battle is the story of my life and perhaps many others. She wins, even when she loses, because if it is important, she will be given yet another opportunity to choose again. At least I sense that to be true, the opposite occurs if she continues to say no. I believe in second and even third chances. Thanks for stopping and leaving your generous words,



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