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Rachel Hessom - On Dying Young

Strange things happen when a person dies so young,

The people told all open mouths so silently

Like goldfish gasping for some air or life or sense

Of a situation that reeks of God’s unfairness.

I sat beside you rubbing fingers on your gown

And watched the way your life unravelled

While no one else came near the gloomy ward

That staved off kindness and neighbours

Like the convoluted scent of certain death.

But you were young and not supposed to go

And that was why they cried,

Not because they missed your presence there,

But for the fact that tragedy could well have taken them.

They think of children, partners, loved ones they would miss

And fear can echo through them, hollow and untrue,

Turning dreams to shrieking sounds

That shake the bones, the cage of ribs

That holds the life they refuse to give.

And when they speak to me on quiet nights

Over glasses filled to rims, with tears in eyes

And hands reached out in gentle supplication,

I see the pity that you feared for me,

It will always follow me, until my dying day

And so I’ll learn from this although

I feel I’ve died with you.


Rachel Hessom is a writer based in the UK. She writes daily poetry on her blog, and she enjoys tweeting words that vaguely represent poems. She is currently training to be an English teacher so that that she can pass on her love of literature to the next generation.

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