Poems by Charlene

On Dying With Dignity, a poem.

They say “Stage four,
There’s not much more
To do for you.”

“A pack of pills
Prolong your ills,
We’ll numb the pain,
But not much gain
Under the sun
Is left. Just run…
Your best.”

“My best?” you say,
“Is this the way
All sputtering
To go? Say No.”

“These cheeks to pale?
Young strength to fail?
Hair to fall out
And faith to doubt?
My frame waste thin
While disease win?
My eyes lose light
With trembling fright?
My body drag
While others beg
Me no more rise
When failed tries
To leave my bed
Find me instead
In crumpled heap
To faintly weep
‘Come help me please!’-
‘My best’- all these?”

“I’ll say it- No.
This death defy.
Allow no time
For asking why.”

I imagine
In a fraction
Brittany- why
She chose to die.

I can’t decry
Such fears for I
Would sure relate-
Yet not force fate.

I can conspire
Of that desire,
But see the lies
That bid her “fly.”

To dignity-
Define it now.
Stiff lip? Calm brow?
Unwrinkled sleeves?
Warm, calm reprieves?
An easy sway?
Chin up? Planned day?

To seek in death
Unlabored breath?
Fall in full bloom?
Friends in the room?

Cut down green blade
‘Fore flowers fade?
Block out the sun
‘Fore day is done?

The God who made
Life said it fades
Like withering grass
Frail men pass.

Retains no man
Power o’re God’s plan.
All wish it not
By cancer brought.

Now, to living
Flesh considering
I write. Please hear-
Death will draw near
You too. For few
Already pain
Each day leaves stains.

Should you measure
Worth by pleasure?
Content until
Bones creak and thrills
No longer yours
Have shut their doors?

Does life lose light
While dying fight
And stand though bent,
Each day as sent
In purpose still
To shine through ill?

Even in bed
When by love fed
With broth, hands strong
Serve weak and songs
Can’t better raise
To God their praise.

Could God be blessed
When in the chest
That rises slow
A heart that knows
Still God is good
And trusting would
For joy still leap
If hearts did keep?

Dignity not
To speed death sought,
But fold into God’s care
That tent which pain won’t spare.
Then when collapsed
Up goes its’ sigh
Delivered then-
To never die.

This was the most difficult poem, both emotionally and mentally, that I have ever written. I can’t help but feel its’ inadequacy, but I do hope it will serve as a small piece of all that has been, and should be said. Assisted suicide is not a topic Christians can roll over on. I know this poem leaves much unsaid, and so I think to end with scripture is best.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die.”

Ecclesiastes 7:1-2 “…The day of death (is better) than the day of birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.”

Ecclesiastes 8:6-8 “For there is a time and a way for everything; although man’s trouble lies heavy on him. For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be? No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death.”

Ecclesiastes 11:8 “So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many…”

Ecclesiastes 12:1 “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them.'”

2 Corinthians 5:1-10 “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”

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Charlene Nelson

Charlene Nelson

Welcome to the poetry blog of Charlene Nelson. I view poetry primarily as an expression and means of seeing and savouring Jesus Christ, while inviting others to join me. Some readers may even want to join by writing and submitting their own poetry- and I hope they will! I also intend to use this as a place to share hymns and poetry of times past.