Sonnet 32

by Thomas Davis

They came to see him as his body failed,
the morphine shredding boundaries between
the world we know and dream worlds where the seam
of time and substance is at last unveiled
and all the phantoms that have ever sailed
into our consciousness become a stream
of concrete beings shed of cloaking dreams,
the boundaries that held them prisoners curtailed.
He asked us if we saw them in the room.
We didn’t look, but looked at him instead,
resisting how we felt inside the gloom
that haunted us inside our haunted heads.

When, at long last, he spent his days asleep,
his spirit was the one we wished to keep.


Filed under Poetry, Thomas Davis

29 responses to “Sonnet 32

  1. Scriptor Obscura

    Powerful. This poem socks the readers in the gut with its resounding emotional impact and vivid, painful imagery and doesn’t let go, long after the poem is over. This is a masterpiece of emotion, gripping readers with sadness and longing. I am truly sorry for your loss.

  2. thomag1

    This is eerily beautiful, Thomas Davis. Such a peering inside of a truism of life; depicting its horror with an insightful treatment of rhythmic grandeur.

    my best

  3. This is heart-breaking.

    And yet the beauty of the poem leaves this reader feeling a sense of gratitude for having visited the poem.

    Thank you for being prepared to share


  4. My 86 year old neighbor past away last week. I watch him grow frail the last few months — he was receiving treatment for lung cancer. But, he never lost his positive spirit — he is now sharing it in his sleep.

  5. I too am sorry for your loss, I am however grateful for you that the going was more gentle.I have have been at the bed side when a close friend passed and for days it was not peaceful. I wish all deaths could be gentle and peaceful, I do not understand why that is too much to ask for.

  6. Exquisite. Though sorrowful, it reminds me pointedly of a useful and even reassuring truth that we learned as my grandmother slid through her many years of Alzheimer’s: the walls between our world of “reality” and many others are thin and permeable membranes to some. If we keep our eyes and hearts open, we can sense and believe and be in the presence of so much more than this predictable and plain universe we occupy rather thoughtlessly most of the time. Thank you for reminding me!

  7. Julie Catherine

    Thomas, this is both heart-rending and beautiful in its poignancy. You draw me in with raw emotion that brings me to tears – and yet, finally spent, allow me to leave with extreme gentleness, knowing his spirit is safe within your keep. This is lovely, thank you for sharing your heart. ~ Julie

  8. A very accurate versification of how we only get comfortable with a dying person after they are asleep. We miss the opportunity to learn much about other entities, other events when we shirk other people’s visions.

  9. Caddo Veil

    These are the ones that always grab my heart and wring it. I thank you for sharing so personally, and letting strangers love you so much.

  10. sandy

    A poem I feel right down to my feet.
    So beautifully written.

  11. Damn. 😦

    Beautiful and mournful without being trite or syrupy; and that takes a true voice.

  12. Pingback: Our Friend and Neighbor, Ed Cohn — RIP | tanuri

  13. One of your best. Great mastery of the sonnet form.

  14. A gorgeous sonnet: dreamlike and eerie, moving seamlessly between the seen, unseen and imagined worlds. There is so much love and pain and wonder in your words: it is true poetry.

  15. Absolutely everything a poem should be. A beautiful exploration of various dichotomies that springs directly from the heart. I am very sorry for your loss.

  16. I am quite a fan of this. It is beautiful. I eerily relate to the content…my father passed from esophageal cancer back in 2008, and I was with him until the end (four months). The morphine created a similar situation between us, and the ammonia from a failing liver caused hallucinations. He asked me once if what he was seeing was real, and I told him he was ‘dreaming awake.’ He smiled at me.

  17. Great post! I have a new page because of personal reasons. Please feel free to follow me again at my new url I’m hoping to see you on my list soon. Thanks!

  18. love the flow of this..the dreamlike state actually recalled a dream segment I had last night (forgotten until I read your words) sadly, it made me recall a good friend on his death bed, too…what I imagined he felt/saw as his soul started to drift ~

  19. Wow, Thomas… your bare words of grief and poignancy woven into such a touching tapestry of your love for your son. Thank you for letting us into your life through your poetry. I’m in awe, on so many levels….

  20. pouring so much pain in a sonnet is a tedious job.

    nothing hurts more than being witness to a loved one’s suffering. Its really sad to know that you had to face it.

  21. Yes – we do so wish to keep

  22. The spirit survives within the keeper of the memories. Thank you for sharing your grief and how it embraces your life. Your sonnet rejuvenates my desire to not hide from life. Sherry

  23. Ina

    Strong and moving sonnet. This is a very personal poem and at the same time it speaks to others.

  24. “As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children” (Psalm 103:15).

    Grace and peace to you,

  25. fivereflections

    Truly the most haunting realistic reflections of enduring survivors witnessing the passing of life-long pieces of their deepest love I have ever read.

    Thank you for sharing these heartfelt sonnet lyrics

  26. Somehow a fine memory, soaring above the grief and pain to where only love remains.

  27. A strong and beautiful poem. Great.

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