Red Mourning

Red Mourning

The day we buried Eddie, it snowed.
We gathered like penguins on ice,
all in black; black suits, dresses,
black umbrellas turned against gusts.

Black veils shrouded our hearts in grief,
and draped into the open hole of his life.

But she stood like a wounded heart,
splayed and bleeding its fire,
dressed all in red; red dress, shoes,
red umbrella kissing the sky.

Scarlet veils bled love from her veins,
and dripped into the open whole of his life.

People will talk. She said nothing
until the last flower was laid in snow.
Red is my love’s favorite, she whispered
to those silent men with black shovels.

I want to know he looks down from heaven;
smiles me vibrant in this cold and lonely world.

Shirley Alexander


Filed under death, love, poetry, romantic

11 responses to “Red Mourning

  1. This funeral, graveyard scene is burned into my memory, and I have a feeling it will remain there fro a good while. You have a knack for reaching out and touching your readers. That’s a good knack to have.

  2. Thank you, Jerry. You always know just what to say to lift my spirit.

    I hope there is someone who will wear red for you someday. 🙂


  3. belfastdavid

    I read this, in particular those last two lines,
    and I was left with a longing to know the whole story
    – to read the novel!


    With love

    • Thank you, Irish. 🙂

      No novel. But, I do think this poem represents an emotion more than a setting. It’s about being yourself, for someone you love, without regard to what anyone else says is practical. And, of course, it’s about loving someone enough to believe they can recognize you from afar.

      Much love,

  4. I changed a couple of things. I realized “draped into the open hole of his end” could be read in the wrong way. *laughing at myself*

    I changed it to “open hole of his life”, and fixed the related lines also. LOL

  5. Hi Shirley,

    I really love this poem! It’s so strong. Despite the settling, maybe even because of it, it just resounds a strength and purity of love that is so warming at least to me personally.

    It reminded me of how so often people do constrain themselves in conventions and maybe don’t do what their heart needs or don’t speak the words that need to be said.
    The woman in this poem is just such an inspiration. To stand proud and defiant in her love.

    Being true to who you are is never easy at the best of times but to stand true to yourself in the worst of times reveals your true character and heart and this woman shows she’s all strength and beauty and that to me makes this a most beautful poem and ironically leaves me with a little wry smile on my face.

    That and I had to giggle at your changing the line “draped into…. 🙂 It hadn’t even occured to me. *lol*

    Thankyou so much for sharing.

    • Tikarma,

      Awww…thank you so much. Your comment made me smile, especially as I thought you might like this poem.

      As for the “woman in red”–there is maybe a bit of wish-I-had-done in that image. From your comment, I can see you got exactly what I wanted the reader to get from my words. I think too, that we should all be prepared to stand proud and defiant for ourselves at all times. It is a way of adding honor to our own memories, while we are still here. That honor will live past us.

      My father was the one who gave me the best advice most Southern girls get from their mothers (miss him!). He was the one who told me: “You don’t ever let ’em see you weep. Wear a red dress and laugh until you feel happy again!” The memory of him saying that, after an especially hard day for my family when I was young, is what nudged this poem into my mind.

      I had a belly laugh at myself on that choice of words too! I was talking to a good friend, via computer message, when I realized it, and I had to hurry to repair it before anyone else noticed. Of course, he said he had noticed it, but skipped right over it and forgot about it. I think he wanted to spare me further embarrassment. LOL

      Much love,

  6. powerful piece.
    masterfully done!

  7. Thank you so much! Are previously posted poems okay to use in the Rally?