Elegy – #NaPoWriMo19 – 18

#NaPoWriMo19, Mental Health Add comments

Hi 🙂


I write about grief and loss a lot.

I wrote a poem after the Grenfell Tower fire news bulletins (here), and the Manchester arena attack (here).

When I was 18 I wrote one about the horror that unfolded at Dunblane.  I lived not far from there at the time, and the death of children particularly haunts me.

I even write about imaginary loss sometimes.

Or ‘just’ how grief crumples you up.

I fervently miss a few people in my life, but I write most often about the void I experience  without my maternal grandmother (see here and the second poem from here, for example) she even creeps into short scenes I have written from prompts people have left me on my Facebook page!

So, when the Global/National Poetry Writing Month’s site said:

“Today, I’d like to challenge you to write an elegy of your own, one in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail”

You’d think it would have been easy to comply.


I enlisted a generator for inspiration and wrote a poem using all of the nine words I’d been given, then realised it read better when shaved to about two thirds of its size… I only ended up using “execute” and “describes” in my final cut.  I am not being a stickler for my usual generator rules for NaPoWriMo though, so it’s all good 😉

I don’t know if what I wrote meets the prompt for you, but I know that I’m referencing four relatives who have passed on in the poem, so I think it does…


I spend evenings wrapped in fluffy cardigans:

Ironed flat

Over a decade ago.


I still enunciate on the green hearth rug

In my head.

(Though I saw on the internet

The walls of that room

Came down a while ago –

And the paint and plaster job

Made it kind of difficult

To fathom where they even stood)


I searched for any mention

Of familial singing exploits

In 1930s papers.


I have deciphered a housewife’s handwriting –

The meals with which she grew my grandfather –

I’ve charted her obsessions,

Though she never knew my name.



I’ve started studying faces.

Each pencil stroke I execute

Feeling more intimate and magical

Than the last;

A connection to ancestry

Emerging slowly.


The bend of time sometimes visible

As the flow describes how we got here –

And how we’re never truly gone.



[Pic is from here]


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