Saturday, 18 July 2015

He Missed a Good Party


the prayers and praises, the condolences
and, of course, a trip to the grave yard ...
the laying of platters and platters of food,
and credenzas of drinks, consumed:
strolling down memory lane, amid
jocular reminiscences and geriatric high jinks ...
I was joined on the steps by a gaggle
of siblings and misplaced relatives
(or some such confluence of 
the unfamiliar, the vaguely familiar,
and the really familiar) who always turn out
to say good-bye to one of our own ...
and the rousing finale to a life well lived: 

He Missed a Good Party

"Great party; loved a great party."
"It's too bad, it's sad."
"I know, sad, really sad."
"Because he was a guy
who never let a good party go by, ya know."
"If there was a party then that guy would go."
"He really loved the man loved a good party, ya know."
"I gotta say:  the guy knew how to work ..."
"But he knew how to play."
"Boy, he sure would have loved the great party today."

we all dried our eyes, and we all walked away.

note:  the three great "life passages" - birth, marriage and death - are recognized by almost all human cultures.  Each of these moments of transition evoke a deep human need for a community response.  This response, generally, takes the form of ritual.

photo:  Wedding in Lago di Garda - B. Bourke

© 2012 Wendy Bourke


  1. Well, I guess there is often a 'party' when someone passes; and probably that is a good thing. Death is a part of the human cycle, as difficult a concept as it is. And, because one's struggle on earth is over, it is worthy of a party indeed...why not!

  2. In my mother tongue Bengali there is a saying Birth, Marriage and Death, are in the hands of God...(I couldn't rhyme it in English) We're brought up believing this so it's very true that these moments of transitions absolutely demand a togetherness, a bonding and a sharing of feelings among the members of a society...the poem beautifully shares this deep feeling on the sad occasion of someone's demise...

  3. Grieving together, remembering the good stuff... I suppose the healing begins there. Guess if I live a good, kind life, I can hope there will be smiles and laughs at "my party"...

  4. Even at a gathering afterwards it is still hard to let go and the deceased is brought into the conversation to chat and laugh along with you...and so they should be.

  5. I can feel the sadness in this poem.

  6. Applause!!! You are a genius! this just made me smile at its brilliance. You get the trophy. smiles.

  7. This made me think there are both cultural rituals and family rituals...i think in this poem the latter sings out...there is loss and yet some comfort in belonging - of knowing who will come and what will be said...

  8. Death is something which ties us all together.. reminding us that life on this earth is temporary.. a loved one passing away can be difficult to take.. but know that we shall be united once again.

    Lots of love,

  9. I would like to be remembered like that!

  10. Perhaps when my time comes they will remember me just as fondly. Sounds like he had a balance to life - and I would much rather a party when my time comes than for every one to stand around being sad. Lets celebrate life.

  11. At least he would be missed in a good way, even if he missed a good party. But perhaps only his physical presence was lacking.

  12. Sounds like a beloved family member & one who touched other lives deeply ~ Funerals & weddings are occasions to have family reunions, almost like a ritual ~

  13. I hope his spirit got to hang around long enough to hear some of the sentiments expressed!

  14. Lovely poem. Made me think of a memorial I'll be attending soon. He loved a good party too.

  15. What an wonderful write as you convey just what it is like the ritual of when we lose someone, and yet when all leave and we are left with our thoughts that is when the sorrow fills us. Important to know how to live and party!

  16. i echo Mary's sentiments. in all honesty i prefer a celebration, i'm from the Mexican culture, over this society's need to lament and mourn.

    gracias for sharing

  17. A very honest poem about moving on.

  18. death is a celebration too. as haruki murakami said - death is not the opposite of life. it's a part of it.

  19. Very well captured, honest.
    I prefer celebrations too.

  20. I am extremely impressed along with your writing abilities, Thanks for this great share.