About The Dead Woman and Waking Up


For We Write Poems prompt:  Wake Up Call

About The Dead Woman and Waking Up

The dead woman felt something move.
She didn’t know what the something was, only knew she felt it move.
The dead woman was still, had been still for years, still for far too long.
Just there, like waiting, she supposed.
The dead woman remembered all the waiting.
Waiting to go to school, to grow up, to attend her own wedding.
Then waiting for the first child, and for that child to go to school.
The dead woman remembers waiting for all of her children to grow up.
Waiting for them to get married, then waiting for the grandchildren.
She remembers waiting for retirement, then waiting in the doctor’s office.
The dead woman remembers waiting for death.

More About The Dead Woman and Waking Up

The dead woman wonders if she has waited too long.
She has waited for dawn, but doesn’t remember seeing such a thing, too busy making breakfast,
     getting everyone else ready to go, to be on their way to somewhere else.
She knows she has waited for sunrise to give her its blessing, to tell her to rise, to fill her day
     with her own creation, to tell her story, paint her portrait, weave her tapestry, sculpt her soul.
The dead woman knows she is dead, but that death is also waiting.
She knows she has unfinished business, things waiting for completion.
She knows she has done what was expected, always waiting to fill the next expectation.
The dead woman knows there is a second chance, one that can not be wasted.
She concentrates on moving: first one finger, then another.
Feels herself rising and knows she will sing the sun into being.
She is ready, now. There will be no more waiting.
The dead woman is awake.

Elizabeth Crawford  1/25/11

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: https://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ https://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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10 Responses to About The Dead Woman and Waking Up

  1. WOW!!!!!! Okay this is the best one yet! I SO relate to this poem of waiting – waiting for everyone else to get on their way and leave you one scrap of life for yourself………this is fantastic!!!!!!! I have lived this poem!!!!!!! GREAT writing!!!!!!!!

    Sherry, thanks for your enthusiasm. This one was waiting for a while. Guess it needed the prompt? Glad it happened.



  2. neil reid says:

    More than ample demonstration you’ve given me! Some page for me will just have to turn into one of these dead-person-poems. I like your representation here very much.

    Most specifically here, those last four lines really caught my breath, “moving: first one finger, then another.” And the sense of change, of transition here really does “wake up” after the long initial description where the woman is continually – at most – the subject of, the effect of something or things outside herself with no initiation of herself. Very clear and rooted in sense of self. It is just like a dawn. Thanks for this poem Elizabeth!

    And thank you, Neil. I knew it wasn’t exactly to prompt, because it is far more internal than physical. However, I also decided that dead is quite physical, so went ahead with it. Was surprised and pleased with the outcome. This form always surprises me somehow. It seems to have its own energy and its own appointed path. I like that very much. There are so many ways of being ‘dead.’ And I think that is what attracts me to the form. And thank you very much Neil for really getting it,



  3. vivinfrance says:

    Eli zabeth, superb poem, though I’m still not happy with the dead woman theme! 🙂
    I love your line: “… knows she will sing the sun into being.”

    Hi Viv, and I can understand the reaction to the theme. However, as I said to Neil, there are all sorts of ways and manners in which we are deadened to our own reality. Some of them so sublte, while others fairly jump out and yell, “Look at me!” Personally, I think these poems mark a passage for me, from one state of being to another, one way of seeing, to a different perspective. They allow me to speak about and into things I feel strongly about, yet wasn’t perhaps, mature enough to do before. And I will keep writing them because I see them differently. I see them as a look back, not just on my own history, but of women’s history. It really is different than masculine history. And I guess I have always wanted to write about that, but never found the vehicle that would allow me to do so before now. Glad you brought that up. Thank you,



  4. pamela says:

    Elizabeth, you do so well with this form.
    So many excellent lines in this.
    “The dead woman knows she is dead, but that death is also waiting.”

    Pamela, as women, we have been trained to wait until acted upon, or given permission to act at all. What really prompted this poem was a conversation with another woman my age. She was really upset and said in total frustration, “Everybody wants something, wants me to do this or that. I’ve already had one heart attack. Won’t they be satisfied until I’m dead?” I kept seeing her face, hearing her words and although I’d already had a line for this poem dancing in my head, that line wrapped itself around her words and thus, the poem. I’m not happy that she feels that way, but it was the nudge needed for me to give voice to her statement (and obviously, my own). Her words were a gift and I am grateful.



  5. RJ Clarken says:

    This was amazing! It is probably one of the few forms I couldn’t seem to wrap my head around in order to make some poetry happen. You’ve done it brilliantly – and this is probably one of the best examples of the form I’ve ever read.

    Wow! Thank you RJ. I really wasn’t sure about the form at first. Didn’t really know if I understood. Still not sure of that, simply know it gives me a totally different view of my own experience as a woman. And, in turn, that of all women,



  6. Susannah says:

    Wow! This one was SO powerful. I got a real physical jolt when I came to the last line, I felt the surge of power!

    I also really loved…

    “She knows she has waited for sunrise to give her its blessing, to tell her to rise, to fill her day with her own creation, to tell her story, paint her portrait, weave her tapestry, sculpt her soul.”

    …and then to be followed by

    “Feels herself rising and knows she will sing the sun into being.
    She is ready, now. There will be no more waiting.”

    Good stuff Elizabeth, I really ‘felt’ this one.

    Thank you, Susannah. This one, as I said earlier, was dancing in my head for a while and needed a couple of good nudges, which it got. And I feel stronger each time I do this form and write from this perspective. That is exciting when it happens. There will probably be more to come,



  7. Irene says:

    There’re many ways of being dead, you said. What a memorable comment. I too love that “she will sing the sun into being”. Is it possible to write ourselves out of being dead, Elizabeth?

    Is that a trick question, Irene? We deaden ourselves in so many ways, but I am a firm believer that self-expression is one of the straightest paths to awakening what has been deaden through daily routine. And of course, my first and formost means of self-expression is writing. Although I use very general terms about her activities, the dead woman must first of all be me. I have been writing myself back to life for many years, awakening what had died along the way, learning to nurture it until it brings me both joy and satisfaction. So, my answer is a resounding yes.



  8. b_y says:

    Excellent use of the form!
    “She has waited for dawn, but doesn’t remember seeing such a thing, too busy…” I love that.

    I knew, at one point in my life, that I was dying where I was standing and nothing would ever get better. So, I moved away from that place and have now watched many dawns. Always with that awe and gratitude of a child seeing it all for the first time. I am still busy much of the time, but never too much to stop, look up and outward. Thanks so much for your comments,



  9. Mary says:

    Elizabeth, I agree with others…you do so well with the dead woman theme. I haven’t been able to write a dead woman poem. I also identify with the waiting. So much of our lives we spent waiting for something, thinking that the next ‘thing’ will bring us fulfillment or happiness. The ending of the poem is amazing…The dead woman is awake. I know that some of us walk around as if dead – dead to feelings, emotions, potential, our own talents, etc. Food for thought, Elizabeth. Time to wake up what is there within us and unrecognized! (And on another note, I enjoyed talking with you the other day…thank you.)

    Mary, I enjoyed the talk as well. I think what works for me in these poems is really several things. I’m old enough to know that there are things I have allowed to die, to wilt and dry out and blow away, for lack of nurture and any concentrated effort on my part. I was too busy being all the things everyone else expected of me. And finally knew that I actually had some expectations of my own, ones that no one else could see to fruition other than me. I know that Bell placed the essence on “living as though you are already dead.” When I do that, I know there are things I would regret not having done or accomplished. And that’s where I come from when I write these poems. And, if I’m honest, they strartle and surprise me as much as anyone else. Thanks as always for you thoughtful response,



  10. I like the dead man poetry. I find that it gives me freedom to let my mind go in directions I had not thought of. Yours is VERY good. And wants me to write more on this….

    zeroing into the arrow

    Please do Gautami and let me know so I can read it. I agree, it does make the mind travel in different paths, seeing at sometimes odd angles. I’m glad it speaks to you. Your poetry often does the same for me. Thanks for your comments,



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