Showing 1241 - 1250 of 1266 annotations tagged with the keyword "Death and Dying"

Washing the Corpse

Rilke, Rainer Maria

Last Updated: May-09-1995
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

Two persons are washing the body of a dead man. It becomes dark and they light the kitchen lamp. Because they don't know the man, they invent his story: "since they knew nothing about his life / they lied till they produced another one . . . . " When the body is finally washed, it "lay clean and naked there, and gave commands."

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In the Third Month

Ray, David

Last Updated: Jan-17-1995
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

Three months after his son's death, the author is driving by "the storefront where we found his blue Toyota." He is simply doing errands, nothing special, but suddenly "the tears pour down / as I think how much he wanted to be a man . . . . "After the death, the author found his son's books, including "one stamped in gold but with all the pages blank."

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Alabama

Coulehan, Jack

Last Updated: Jan-04-1995
Annotated by:
Donley, Carol

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poetry

Summary:

This poem is narrated by a physician (probably a young resident) trying to keep Alabama alive ("my stern professor . . . frowns at my attempts to stoke the boiler in her chest.") But Alabama wants to die and whispers to him "Let me go." The physician-narrator, however, is completely committed to keeping her alive, slapping her and saying, "Dammit, Live!"

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Medicine

Walker, Alice

Last Updated: Nov-11-1994
Annotated by:
Nixon, Lois LaCivita

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

An adult tells a very simple story about her elderly grandparents. In the morning the speaker wakes the sleeping couple observing that Grandpa, who is ill and in pain, gains comfort from the old woman in bed beside him. In fact the grandmother IS medicine that "stops the pain" during the night, a medicine contained "in her unbraided hair." Grandma's act of crawling into bed with loosened hair sustains him; it is an act of compassion, of love and an oblique reference to conjugal union.

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Annotated by:
Nixon, Lois LaCivita

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

For those considering a comprehensive overview of plague in Medieval Europe, Hirsch’s long poem is extremely useful. Comprised of thirty-five stanzas, it provides an historical account of devastation associated with the onset of plague in Venice in 1347. An inventory of behavioral responses to catastrophic disease illustrates that responses to AIDS frequently mimic irrational behaviors associated with earlier epidemics. There are references to hysteria, scapegoating, flagellants, illness symptoms, escape, desperate cures, and religious fervor.

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To William Shelley

Shelley, Percy Bysshe

Last Updated: Aug-08-1994
Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

Shelley is writing about the death of his young son, William. He imagines that William's body held a bright spirit who consumed the body of his host. William's body does not lie beneath the headstone. The grave is merely a shrine for the grief of the parents. The child's spirit runs free. Shelley hopes to sense its presence in the colors and scents of the flowers and grasses surrounding the grave.

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To Mary Shelley

Shelley, Percy Bysshe

Last Updated: Aug-08-1994
Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

There are two short poems by this name. Both are about Mary Shelley's reaction to the death of her son, William (see also To William Shelley in this database). Mary Shelley's depression is so intense that her husband feels as if she too has died. Her body is still there, but her real self has "gone down the dreary road / That leads to Sorrow's most obscure abode." Shelley knows he cannot follow her into depression for her own sake; he must be strong to pull her back.

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Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Sonnet

Summary:

Shelley angrily asks why some people chase after death or knowledge of it. To analyze the source of life or the conditions of its end is "vain" curiosity. Such knowledge has no benefit; it merely is a case of man trying to usurp the role of God.

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Up-Hill

Rossetti, Christina

Last Updated: Aug-08-1994
Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The poem is an exchange of questions and answers that compares life to a journey. The journey is up-hill all the way, but at the end is an inn, a resting place, that cannot be missed and which has a room for everyone.

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Father and Son

Kunitz, Stanley

Last Updated: Jul-11-1994
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

Through “suburbs and the falling light,” the poet follows his father, mile after mile, trying to reach “the secret master of my blood.” He tries to speak with his father, to tell him how things turned out--they lost the house, his daughter married, the poet “lived on a hill that had too many rooms . . . . ” Finally, at the water's edge, the poet cries out for his father to return; he implores him not to jump into the water. The father turns his head and reveals “The white ignorant hollow of his face.”

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