Poem for Poetry Thursday

Happy Poetry Thursday, everyone!

This poem is one that has been festering inside me for a few days. I was struck by the recent press and interview on Princess Diana with her sons. I realized I had never written a poem about her. I usually don't write about celebrities, but I felt as if I wanted to get something down on paper.

Didn't want to write about the usually stuff people mention when talking about Diana. I was thinking about the hospital staff that cared for her in the final moments and what might have happened to them just after. So here's my attempt. First draft, so be kind (and I'm not happy with the title).

After Diana’s Death

After the medical staff put down their tools,
recorded the last electrical transpirations,
slid the masks down their faces in disbelief, in grief,
they knew this moment would always quake,
a tuning fork stuck flatline inside their souls,
a fault inside each surgeon. To hold this heart
in their bare hands until it died
showed them something small about faith,
and how science is always being tested by bad luck.
Who knew seeing this body dismantled—
a body not unlike others before and yet
unlike any before—could bring about
a silence beyond resuscitation.

After, some called their spouses while on break,
cried into the receivers. Some left work early,
found the dawn clouds gnarled around each other.
Some confessed all their sins to anyone who’d listen.
Then there were the others
who tried to go back to their ordinary days,
the ones trained to forget their own skin—
trained to stop life, to start it again—
they drove off in their shiny cars
going wherever they wished to go,
just one more moment in the flow.


Clare said…
This is really good. I really like the approach you took on this -- a powerful perspective and very moving. And you wrote this with such sensitivity and heartfelt emotion. I was in London a week ago and I thought of her so much -- she was such a beautiful spirit and humanitarian.
January said…
Thanks Clare. I love your avatar, BTW!
Oh gosh- I remember how hard her death hit me- I cried for a week! She was a very complicated woman but one filled with such heart and emotion. I loved her. I can't imagine what it must have been like for those caring for her at the end... but your poem somehow seems to give me a glimpse of their heartache.
Tammy said…
I've been visiting new poets (to me) on PT. There are so many my one finger never gets to them all.

I have often wondered how medical staff feel when someone famous dies before them. I'm sure she looked so normal in that setting. Well done!
Rob Kistner said…
An excellent snapshot of cold blunt, reality... and its impact on the varied hearts and souls of humankind that it touches, or glances off -- as may be the case.

Felt intimate and real. Very well done -- an engaging first draft.
GreenishLady said…
You found a way in to the topic that is real and not at all cliched. So well done. (I was going to say I'm envious, then not, and now I just have to say it: I'm envious!)
Tinamtl said…
The world stopped momentarily that day.

I loved your poem.
January said…
Thanks everyone for your comments.
That was a very good perception taken from the point of view of doctors and nurses. It touched a chord.
Catherine said…
I agree with all hte other comments - I also thought about the death of JFK and how the medical staff must have felt that day. One line that I found awkward - the "tuning fork flatlined inside the soul" - you might like to consider whether that is rather a mixed metaphor. The ending is powerful and real.
I like how this showed that though Diana was such an extraordinary person, in death we are all the same.
Interesting perspective, I've often wondered about how medical staff feel treating famous people.
I LOVE this--you've captured it from a fascinating perspective. (and, yes, it is absolutely okay that you used the line...I'm glad it resonated with you!)
January said…
Thanks Delia!
January said…
Catherine, you're right. I wondered about putting those two images together. Great feedback!
paris parfait said…
Your poem captures much of the mood that was pervasive in much of the US and Europe at the time of her death. And even though the French are quite different in their reactions than the Brits, I think what you describe is accurate.

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