Death poems

On dVerse Poets Pub Gayle sets the challenge :  To write in haiku or tanka style, to the theme of Jisei (Japanese death poems).

Gayle also says, “In ancient Japanese, Chinese and Korean cultures, a practice was used at the time of death to capture the last words spoken. This practice was called jisei (in Japan) or death poem and is the “farewell poem to life.” Jisei was written by monks, samurai, the literate and poets of these cultures. One of the earliest recorded jisei dates to 686 C.E. (Common Era) or in Christian terms, B.C. (before Christ) with the death of Prince Otsu who was the son of Emperor Temmu of Japan.”




I hear the sea sing

in my veins, of homecoming.

Save your salty tears


for life and its sorry tales,

not me. I am going home.




This vain, heavy shell

I no longer need, fading

softly like daylight


surrenders to night, sighing

soft promises of return.




This shell will return

to its womb. My sinews will

turn into roots, limbs


into tree-trunks. And my song

will trill out from the tree tops.




Soon, I will be rain,

falling on seeds, springing them

into life. Lusty,


fecund, virile, alive. Death

is a mere wisp of a veil.




Watcher – haiku

a coiled tense spring
the cat watches its victim
eat its last meal


Watchman – haiku

you watch over me
like a lighthouse, always there
forever shining


Watchkeeper – tanka

third watch of the night
the clock stops still in mid gong
Death has come calling

“your time is up” gaily says
that relentless watch keeper


For dVerse Poets prompt What does the watchman see?