I’ve launched a CrowdRise campaign so folks can join me (easily and inexpensively) in sharing copies of Good in the End with patients at Hospice of the Chesapeake, where I work and vigil volunteer. A $10 tax-deductible donation gifts a book to someone who’ll really appreciate it. Thank you!

The Crossing

Legions crowd the shore
With legions more
Frothed and gasping in the rapids
Scrambling up the far bank
Stretching to the horizon

Ever on the move
Flowing forward
Here and there
Now and then
This and that

The news only covers
The midstream flailing and the cries
The real story is too obvious
Too simple and too close
Proclaim it now:

We will cross the river
We are crossing the river
We have crossed the river
We are the river and the shores
We are the crossing

We are.

–Copyright Deborah A. McGlauflin, February 11, 2017.  All Rights Reserved.

Two osprey chicks hatch and grow
connected to millions by webcam
webcam and the archetype of motherhood

One cloudless day in plain view
a hungry eagle swooped and grabbed
twice, leaving an empty nest

We sat dazed at our computers
betrayed by the intimate view
faced with our virtual helplessness

A keening flood of poignant posts
some angry, some philosophical
some calling it all out of proportion

Worldwide grief for two chicks
for two chicks and for the loss of every child
taken from its parents too sudden and too soon

Copyright Deborah McGlauflin, July 2015. All rights reserved.

Final Exchange

All that remains now is your ragged breath
harbinger of fast approaching death
I breathe with you having made my peace
sending love and the gift of release
taking in your lingering hurts and strife
ease now the last knots of this life

Breath by breath
Birth and death
Countless alphas and omegas
Inhale others’ pain
Exhale one’s own gain
The breath of life connects us

Your benediction a wordless communing
breathing my pain for your kind consuming
breathing me glimpses of your transcendent views
our entwined hearts ascend and fuse
consumed in a blaze of awed beatitude
leaving undying embers of gratitude

Breath by breath
Birth and death
Countless alphas and omegas
Inhale others’ pain
Exhale one’s own gain
The breath of life connects us

Not just for us this final exchange
we include multitudes as far we range
all welcomed in our expanding embrace
across infinities of time and space
sending love to fulfill every need
blessed and blessing beyond lightspeed
Copyright Deborah A. McGlauflin, July 4, 2015. All rights reserved.

Losing My Minding

At first I minded
we minded together
the daily assault of mounting losses
the thief who kept returning to steal more of you

Then I minded alone —
minding too that you no longer did
apart from flashes of recall and regret —
left to sort solo through the plunder of our life

In the anguish of uncoupling
I wrestle with the riddle of our connection
a wounded wolf howling in caves of despair
Then, thundering grace in my darkest moment

The finding is in the losing
when the delusion of separateness dies
One soaring heart beyond all woes and throes
beyond mind and minding


Copyright Deborah A. McGlauflin, July 3, 2015. All rights reserved.

Tilting water world
One red leaf falls to the pond
Startled geese take flight

Osprey over pond
Sharp-eyed, wings fold and plummet
Death served with a splash

Fluffy baby swans
Only two left of seven
Snapping turtles’ lunch

After a flood tide
Stranded fish gasp on the sand
Mouthing alien air

Cherished family dog
Releasing its final breath
Suddenly a corpse

Copyright Deborah McGlauflin, April 2011. All rights reserved.

Good in the End

Bearing witness to your labored last breaths
Loved ones keen and the hospice nurse comforts
A mourning dove lights on the windowsill
Plumps its breast and coos its haunting five-note song
Your eyelids flutter and we all exchange glances
It’s time, and it’s the time of knowing it’s time

Words fail, and in the gap a gift of insight
Each life’s end like a wave spilling on certain shore
Losing its swell and sliding back into the ocean
Adding a measure of pinnacled experience to the deeps
How it caressed the canopy of space-blued sky
How it reflected the roving sun, moon and stars

A prayer then for good in the end
As we approach the beach may we each be
Sweetly open, unbiased, and uncomplicated
So that the rest may simply take care of itself
So that we may all know the grace in dying
The joy in rejoining the depths of our sea

Copyright Deborah A. McGlauflin, May 17, 2015. All rights reserved.

Escape Velocity

Some few slip free of gravity
into orbit thundering heavily
there they ghost above the oblivious
and witness the sacred obvious
Finitude beholding the Infinite

Some when dying attain liberation
from the gravity of their situation
they float us free in a loving wake
clear eyes reflecting a bottomless lake
Finitude beholding the Infinite

Copyright Deborah A. McGlauflin, May 12, 2015. All rights reserved.

End of Story

How will my fabled story end
my tale of wins and woes
I’m curious I must confess
to see how it finally goes

The years have doled out practice
with tears of loss and separation
it seems the dying’s in the living
every day’s a preparation

I know just how my story ends
I know how yours ends too
with the death at last of dying
the rest is much ado

Copyright Deborah A. McGlauflin, May 12, 2015. All rights reserved.

Be it peaceful or arduous
Come it swiftly or slow
Without need to know
May I patiently remain

In the here and the now
In the bare whatsoever
With no need to alter
May I calmly remain

Without foisting my faith
Without senseless chatter
With a touch that is tender
May I gently remain

When ready or not
Death claims a life dear
Without hope, without fear
May I simply remain

Copyright Deborah A. McGlauflin, March 2015. All rights reserved.

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