“I took a nap and wept for no reason”

~ Jim Harrison from Songs of Unreason


My sisters and I

sat at my father’s deathbed

he, though unconscious, raged–

we held a vigil through the night,

waiting for the dawn,

and light

to see him released,

the raging ceased.

I napped then

for days it seemed


I heard his voice,

crying when

I realized

it wasn’t real,

but love



This poem is for Day 13 of Jilly’s 28 Days of Unreason, using Jim Harrison’s poetry for inspiration. I guess this is an early Father’s Day poem.



28 thoughts on “Unfinished

  1. Very poignant. My dad dropped dead of a massive heart attack, but I got to the hospital for my mum. I left home as soon as she was admitted. She hung on until I got there. It’s hard.

  2. The clarity and simplicity of your unfolding vigil makes it all the more moving – and thus the last couplet packs a real punch of grief

  3. I took a nap and woke up remembering the vigil by my brother’s death bed last month . . . and carrying his cremains from the funeral home to the church . . and then I cried.

  4. So poignant. The stillness that followed… in the release, your resting and waking.
    This brings feelings that I know are resolved, but still they stir within me. Thank you, Merril, for the reminder of their importance.

  5. Pingback: Unfinished 2 – Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

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