Creative Wordshops May 2019 Newsletter

Creative Wordshops May 2019 Writing Newsletter

re-story, re-create and re-imagine your life and work See ‘what’s on’ for upcoming wordshops, retreats and ongoing opportunities Because I could not stop for Death – He kindly stopped for me – The Carriage held but just Ourselves – And Immortality.(Emily Dickinson)

Three inches here …three seconds there…

Death or near death features in so many of our stories. In the anonymous mediaeval allegorical play Everyman seeks characters such as Knowledge and Fellowship to accompany him on his pilgrimage. He tries to bargain with Death. “Yet of my good will I give thee, if thou will be kind. Yea, a thousand pound shalt thou have, And defer this matter till another day.”

Some people write about near death experiences – moments they crossed into the realm of death then returned with vivid descriptions of life on the other side.

Mitch Albom’s novel The Five People You Meet in Heaven follows the life and death of Eddie, a maintenance man. Eddie encounters five people who connect him to their deaths. Though he did not know how he was implicated. What of the times when Death touched our shoulders, when a few centimetres or a few seconds this way or that made the difference to life or death? (see poem at end)

In the brothers Grimm Fairy Tale Godfather Death, a man takes to the road to choose a godfather for his son. He turns down God for he believes that He is unfair. And he turns down the Devil, who tricks people. Finally, he chooses Death as Godfather because Death plays fair.

Death made his godson a famous doctor, showing him a herb that cured any patient. This gift came with conditions; his godson was to administer the herb only when, in the sickroom, Godfather Death stood at the head of the bed. If Death stood at the feet of a patient, his godson had to pronounce “There is nothing I can do. The patient will die.”

Doctor Godson’s fame spread until one day he was summoned to the palace where he gave the herb to a king. Death stood at the foot of his bed. Death gripped his wrist “Don’t do that again.” All went well until the king’s daughter became ill. While Death stood at the princess’s feet the godson again broke the contract for he was offered her hand so administered the herb.

Death dragged his godson to a cave lit with burning candles that reflected the lifelines of all people. “Godfather where is my candle?” The godson was shown a flickering stub. “Please Godfather light me a new one.” Death snuffed out the candle and the godson fell dead onto the cave floor.

Death has been subject of countless poems. Here is a first verse from Dylan Thomas:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light