Dying: A Resurrection, 1969

Sissman, L. E. (Louis Edward)

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack
  • Date of entry: Dec-19-1996
  • Last revised: Aug-17-2006


When "death came in out of the cold / And laid a glove on me . . . ." the poet worked feverishly, sang angry songs, "paroled / Myself with garlands of last words." He acted as if he were the hinge of the world. The dramatics were soon over, however, when he "fell into the ocean’s arms . . . . " Later, he "crept back into life as into much / Too large a pair of trousers."


Sissman developed Hodgkin’s Disease in 1965, when he was 37 years old. He lived another ten years, during which he wrote most of his mature poetry and published three collections. This poem, however, was first published posthumously in Hello Darkness, Sissman’s Collected Poems.

His falling "into the ocean’s arms" may represent a recurrence of the malignancy in 1969, after initial successful treatment in 1968. The poem continues the story begun in Dying: An Introduction (see this database). See also A Deathplace (annotated by Lois Nixon and by Jack Coulehan) and Homage to Clotho: A Hospital Suite (annotated by James Terry and also by Lois Nixon).

Primary Source

Hello Darkness


Little, Brown

Place Published





Peter Davison