The Last Friday

The Last Friday is a poetry editing group. Once a month, we post a poem and then offer feedback to the other poems on the Forum. We're a friendly but honest group. We value each other deeply and desire for every poet to be published or become famous.

    Sorting The Ashes

    Dewell H. Byrd

    Posts : 385
    Join date : 2012-01-05
    Age : 88
    Location : Central Point, OR

    Sorting The Ashes Empty Sorting The Ashes

    Post  Dewell H. Byrd on Wed May 27, 2015 1:14 pm

    I'll welcome any and all things you find to make this poem comfortable for the reader.  I've wrestled with deleting stanzas three and five... still wrestling... Dewell


    Grandma wants to sort out my ashes
    after she cleans them up some.
    Good deeds here, bad deeds there, lots
    of in between stuff; things I did
    that don't make no difference.

    None of her kith or kin will
    see the Pearly Gates with dirty
    doings in their urn, not if she
    can sift and sort the remains
    of their wayward ways.

    Where she gets the power to know
    all this stuff, find it in the ashes,
    sort it into little piles, I'll never know.
    Yet the whole clan stands by in black
    silence not daring to speak up.

    Grandma decides who gets the leavings
    after St. Pete and Satan gets their likes.
    Might be each of my kids gets a
    smidgen of me to grace their mantle,
    collect dust, spill to the hearth.

    When I die, please
    don't let Grandma sort my ashes.

         Dewell H. Byrd

    Posts : 320
    Join date : 2014-10-25
    Age : 65
    Location : North Little Rock

    Sorting The Ashes Empty Re: Sorting The Ashes

    Post  Karen on Wed May 27, 2015 4:30 pm

    Dewell, this is a gem of an idea.  I agree on farewell to stanzas 3 and 5.

    What I miss in this poem is stronger rhythm.  When I read it aloud, I misread the the first part like this:

    Grandma wants to sort my ashes
    after she cleans them up.
    Good deeds here, bad deeds there,
    lots of in between stuff.

    I admit I'm on a jukin'-n-jivin' poetic spree in my own writing, but ... I kinda want that in such a cool, folky topic as Grandma picking through a man's ashes like they were dry beans.

    Posts : 643
    Join date : 2011-05-21

    Sorting The Ashes Empty nice ideas

    Post  tsukany on Sat May 30, 2015 5:49 am


    This is a fun poem.  I get a bit conflicted when deciding if the persona is alive or not.  I am not sure if the persona's ashes go to the Pearly Gates or stay on earth.  I am such a dualist that if satan gets some and St. Pete gets some, what's left for the family to take home?

    I am not sure if "sort" is the strongest verb for line one.  Maybe one that hints more to the doling out of the persona's remains to family members.


    Posts : 720
    Join date : 2011-09-12

    Sorting The Ashes Empty Sorting ashes. . . By Grandma

    Post  Pat on Sat May 30, 2015 12:45 pm

    I smiled my way through it.   I know nothing about sorting ashes, but I know about sorting dried beans, getting the unwanted rocks? charcoal? bad beans?  out of the pile of good beans.  I have spread ashes before:  there are always chunks of bone mixed into the gray ash.  It's interesting if you push the feelings aside.  : )  Grandma is obviously in charge and no one is going up against her thinking.   It is a fun poem.  I like:   in black silence, the detail of piles.  Might want to change not daring to to scared. . . making it more alliterative.  I'd give up the last stanza.
    Grandma:  is she planning, wanting or asking to sort the ashes?  Sounds experienced.  : )  I like Karen's idea of making it more musical because it is folksy.   You already have it sort of like that.  : )   Dewell, I think of your Abe Lincoln poem.   it has that folksy sound.   You also have a couple of others that do.   I say:  let it rest and come back to it.  It has such great potential.  I'd choose either heavenly/hellish doling or earthly doling.  Otherwise, it is a little confusing.  This may be about too many players?  Not sure.

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