Magnolias and Childhood Macabre

Posted: October 5, 2013 in creative writing, Everyday Life
Tags: , , ,

As a child my first encounter with human death was at the age of eight attending my grandfather’s funeral. We lived on a farm at the time and seeing the death of animals of all sorts was already common even for a boy of my age. But now experiencing the thoughts all people have of death of a close family member, this was the first personal relationship I had lost and my mind was filled with all sorts of thoughts.  And it was the first that I remember thinking of human death and realizing that someday I may experience it. Even at that age I was skeptical of the traditional explanations of heaven that my mother was telling me. Welcome to a bit of my childhood macabre and a night I spent peering from underneath my blankets and even then making up words for things I was trying to understand.

There are none
None that burn the candle or stir the last dimming coals
that haven’t listened for that noise or peered into the night shadows
listening for that hum and watching for the fleeting movement in the night
while holding breath and staring deeply with squint eyes
hoping it is not there but still anxious to have but a glimpse
as if seeing only briefly would make it less.
Beware the Doombroser.
One that no one has seen but all have felt.
Beware your wish to see that shadow or hear that hum.
For last visions seen and last breaths taken may follow.
From under the protection of blankets I watch and listen
Minding mother’s words, he is only asleep and he has gone to heaven
And remembering the smell of the white magnolias.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Beware the Doombroser, indeed. I remember this, and enjoyed reading it, again.



  2. Wow! This is very powerful…and filled with emotion…a great write!
    Now I’m thinking about my first encounter with death/loss as a child.


  3. I really didn’t come to understand death until I was standing at my father’s grave when I was 19. Even then, masked as it was by grief and fear, it was many years before I accepted what it’s all about.


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