The rose once technicolor bright

now sepia-toned, left, an oversight

to blend into the background.


And she, nearly devoid of color

doesn’t see it, everything now duller,

except when in her dreams.


Her frail body, a slight bump beneath

the blankets, but her mind unleashed

flits between sleep and waking–


she sees a vision of their summer home

the cottage colored sand and sea foam

and brightened by its rose garden,


and always scented by the sea.

But here and now, she

hears the ocean, waves lapping,


slapping the rhythm of the tide,

calling her—to slide

into her memories–


or no, a harbinger it seems

of what is next, not dreams.

Her sun is setting,


and now the room glows

a well-loved voice she knew and knows

says, “Come, Love. I’ve been waiting.


Sarah at dVerse has been pondering the word “harbinger,” and asks us to do the same in a poem. Lately my poems want to be stories, and my stories want to be poems. Perhaps this is a harbinger of something yet unknown (to me).  🙂




61 thoughts on “Harbinger

  1. The rhyme scheme is lovely, and you’ve worked it very subtly. I like the gentle slide from the past to the present, and on to -what? – eternity, I guess. It literally brought tears to my eyes.

  2. “she sees a vision of their summer home

    the cottage colored sand and sea foam

    and brightened by its rose garden,”
    Loved this, Merril! My father and I were just taking yesterday what a blessing it is when on goes so peacefully.

  3. “waves lapping,
    slapping the rhythm of the tide,” LOVE this description.
    Wish you could be sitting beside me …you would have heard me give out a big sigh at the end. This is beautiful….there’s a peacefulness to it….and hope for a rejoining in the end…of a loved one waiting on the other side.

  4. Sometimes you have mentioned waves lapping which is quite beautiful in creating a rhythm here. This could be like a gentle pulse reminiscent of your humming moon’s melody. The layers of the poignant memories added depth to your rhythm. Maybe becoming an “orchestra of life” poem, not just one person’s passing. . .

  5. A poignant and beautiful harbinger, Merril. I love how you introduce the idea of time passing with the rose in the opening lines, the contrast of life and dreams, and then the subtle shift into a dream of the past. I also like how the scent of the sea becomes the sound of the last tide. I hope my end comes like that.

  6. Lovely imagery. Would that we’d all be so lucky to just drift away to the sound of waves and a well-loved voice. At least, go to sleep and not wake up.

    I just finished listening to Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah, and the final scene was somewhat like your poem. No ocean waves but a garden in faded colors because the narrator’s eyesight was damaged, and then the well-loved voices calling to her. I don’t recommend the novel. I just find it interesting how your poem reminds me of that one scene. So your poems are stories too 🙂

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