Severance, Words and Other Things.

Nicole on Words and Other Things has set a small challenge. Tied in with her reading of a book of short stories called Severance by Robert Olen Butler. About the last thoughts of a severed head.

Butler’s book was inspired by two concepts:

1.) “After decapitation, the human head is believed to remain in a state of consciousness for one and one-half minutes.”

2.) “In a heightened state of emotion, people speak at the rate of 160 words per minute.”


So in reply to her own last response here is mine:

Redjim99, Never did get there.

I’m sure that they said
in the end I would know
that everything would be all right.

I waited as long as I could
before the thoughts emptied
as a stream from my mouth
to the waiting crowd,

like the warm sense of escape
spreading across my limbs
to take away the aches

that have followed me
from years of running and fighting
and trying as hard as possible
to be as good as the next man.

I wish I could say
just one more time
I love you.

All of this though means little
as the light fades and the memories
I have fought so hard to gain
slip so quickly from my mind

to leave only a worryingly blank space
that I can see as a wall
rushing towards me

and now that the wall seems to fade
to the noise of someone behind me
saying hush now, cry no more until
even that sound fades to black.

The link above goes back to her post, join in to see how it works out for everyone.

6 thoughts on “Severance, Words and Other Things.

  1. Love this, Jim – especially love that you stuck to your roots and formed it into a poem. Isn’t it funny how we all tend to focus on love at some point in our final thoughts? I feel that even the loneliest person would think of someone they love or loved before they die. It is a beautiful thing, after all! 🙂


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