Wednesday, 19 November 2014

who am I?

most people, I think, 
want to be remembered
with fondness  . . .  when they pass

but alas:
many mortals, that I know
fall, considerably short of a wholehearted,
unfeigned, true good conduct “kudo”

so . . .  
either they are eternal optimists,
for I have heard it said:
you're only remembered, with affection,
after you are dead

or . . .  
they are apprehensive souls, who fear
to take flight and look back,
with eyes wide open,
at their misguided, sorry plight –   
too blinded by the darkness to admit

the joyful light:  when  . . .
the world is full of metaphors
in doors and walls and floors
and windows –
that look out upon the mystic green,
enduring sea and heavenly constant sky

one only has to take it in
to question . . . who am I . . .
“The eyes are the window to your soul” – William Shakespeare

notes:  the prompt from Poetry Jam this week is “Identity”.

In putting together some thoughts to get ideas percolating on the prompt “Identity” from Poetry Jam, I did a bit of looking around on the Internet regarding the most common response when people were asked how they would like to be remembered – in effect:  how they want their identity to be perceived.  The vast number (by far the majority) of responses indicated that most people want to be remembered as a good person:  kind, gentle, happy (smiled and laughed) interested (interesting and creative), loving (loved my family and friends and had love in my heart), worked hard, did my best.

I laughed when I shared this with my husband.  Because given some of the conduct I have witnessed over the course of my life (lying, cheating – don’t get me started – ha!) there has got to be some kind of wild disconnect between how people go about living their lives and how they would like to be regarded once they are dead.  Think about it, if most of humankind would like to remembered as a good person and set about working to achieve that goal – what a wonderful world it would be. 

photos:  Pavilion Window (looking out on weathered rocks, jade green water, mystical plants and architecture that integrates Taoist Yin and Yang features that emphasize that harmony lies in balance at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver) – W. Bourke 

In the Petals – W. Bourke

© 2014 Wendy Bourke


  1. So true about wanting to be remembered in a positive way by others.....but also true that some people don't live their lives in a way that would be remembered in a positive way. Or maybe they are blind to the impression they make. We can only hope that 'we' are different and live our lives in a way that we will be remembered, after we pass, with true affection by those who are left behind. Your poem has me thinking, Wendy!

  2. If people want to be remembered in a certain way, but don't act that "certain way", there does appear to be a short-circuit somewhere. I don't think we always see ourselves in the same light others see us. So it is a good will I be remembered?

  3. I wonder whether people believe that they have all the time in the world to change their ways and become the person they want others to remember. And I agree with you that if we all acted as if death was around the corner, the world would be a better place.

  4. smiles....really cool...I like the internal rhyme and rhythm of the piece and you address some important things...I think all wanted to be remembered in a good light but then we live our life and we can not deny who we are, our actions and attitudes will show us for who we are....

  5. Very true.
    Right words. apt message....

  6. "the mystic green,
    enduring sea and heavenly constant sky

    one only has to take it in
    to question . . . who am I . . ." my favorite portion of this poem Wendy...some phrases are simply exquisite...

  7. I have asked myself "how will I be remembered?"...I wonder especially how my kids will remember me, as I think, they matter most to me and I wonder how I have been as a mother, from their perspective. I hope my influence on them has been more positive than negative, ha, and I guess that's my hope with anyone else who will have known me.

  8. the joyful light.. the power of the light in the soul that shines to all. Great message of hope

  9. I enjoyed the poem and enjoyed your notes after even more. There IS a disconnect - maybe humans cant really handle facing the gap between who we wish we were and how we actually raise a thought-provoking point!!

  10. You have a very good point here and thinking about it made me smile. I think though that for the most part I do remember the best about people from my past--whether they be dead or still living. But perhaps I am the ultimate optimist.

  11. we have to discover our selves who we are.


  12. This is so good.. how we're seen in the eyes of other. One of the most well-known poem with a similar sentiment..(but much more harsh) comes from Hávamal.

    Cattle die,
    kinsmen die
    you yourself die;
    I know one thing
    which never dies:
    the judgment of a dead man's life

    It's one of my favorite quotes ever.... but it's hard to live by.

  13. Makes me think of that disconnect with how we see ourselves as opposed to how others see us...

  14. Wendy,

    A very realistic poem which has so many true elements. Sometimes it can be hard to remember someone in much of a good light...Few people 'tick all the boxes,' in life.. Perception can be so important, both for the living or dead!!


  15. V interesting: that people want to be seen as good. I'm glad to know that "good" is cool, at least once you've passed away.

    Yes, many times we're "too blinded by the darkness." Profound ideas expressed here.

    the joyful light

  16. Yes, interesting how many people care more for what opinion people have of them after they die and not how they are perceived when they are alive...