Day 26 of NaPoWriMo

So, the month of daily poems is almost over. Yesterday I was so busy, I never had a chance to post a poem. Sometime in the next few days, I’ll post an extra one to make up for it.

Each day this month, NapoWriMo.Net has been posting a poetry prompt. Some of the people taking part have followed the prompt every day. From some of the prompts, I’ve learned about poetry forms, from the cento to the epistolary poem to the lipogram, a form I’ve never heard of before.  The lipogram is a poem in which the poet explicitly refrains from using certain letters. I’ll have to try this, but not today. So far, I haven’t followed any of NaPoWriMo’s prompts, but today, I’m changing that. Today’s prompt is to write an elegy.

A few years ago, a close friend of mine passed away. I still miss her very much. This is for her.

For D.

I sip this wine
and think of you.
In the midst of rushing about,
I often find myself
thinking of you.
We lived in different towns;
we got together
not often enough.

You hatched a plan to visit me
in Việt Nam.
It was all
you could speak of.
We sipped wine,
pored over maps, brochures,
talking about which local dishes
you’d try first.

You’d meet me in Huế;
I’d show you the emperors’ grand mausoleums
where they spent time
not only in death,
but in life–
to meditate, to read, to write poetry
to sip wine and observe the lotuses
from an airy pavillion.

I’d take you to see the view
from the symmetry of Ngự Bình Mountain;
we’d stand amongst the pines
on the mountain’s plateau. Below,
the Hương River flows,
a wide ribbon–
we’d take a lazy boat trip,
gaze at the currents, sip our wine.

Were it to rain,
we’d drink coffee
in a cozy café,
to the melancholy strains
of Trịnh Công Sơn;
perhaps call
for a bottle of red
Đà Lạt wine.

The pains in your abdomen.
The tests. More tests.
Time passing; the bad news,
the remission and a return to hope.
Once more, we met over dinner and wine.
We discussed your plans, one last time.
D., I lift this glass of ruby wine in silent toast.
Je pense à toi, D, et je t’embrasse fort.

This poem is linked to dVerse Poets Open Link Night 42. Lots of great poetry to read on this great website, a fine resource and community for poets.


About Chris Galvin

Chris Galvin is a Canadian writer, editor and photographer dividing her time between Canada and Viet Nam. Her essay Flood Season was a finalist for the 2012 Best of the Net prize, and Discovering Hến Rice in Central Việt Nam won third place (shared) and a Readers’ Choice Award in the 2015 I Must Be Off! Travel Essay Contest. Her work has appeared in various anthologies and literary journals, including Descant, Asian Cha, PRISM International, Room, and others. She has written in Vietnamese and English for Vietnam Tourism Review/Kham Pha Du Lich Vietnam Magazine, Travellive, and Du Lich Giai Tri. Chris is currently looking for a home for her recently completed manuscript, Breakfast Under the Bodhi Tree, a book about living, eating, and tour-guiding in Viet Nam.
This entry was posted in National Poetry Month, Poetry, Viet Nam and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Day 26 of NaPoWriMo

  1. So sorry for the loss of your friend. I lost a friend who I never got to know near enough a few years ago. When we meet it was like I had met the brother I never had.

    Sad poem…It was a beautiful friendship you shared.

    Here’s my recent and last poem for the Challenge. Hope you enjoy.

  2. Quirina says:

    This is an exquisite elegy poem that brought tears to my eyes, Chris. I am so sorry for your loss of clearly a very dear friend.

  3. chris says:

    Quirina and Jessica, thanks for your kind words. She was indeed a very dear friend and a special person.

  4. James says:

    This is a really beautiful poem… the love and the loss are so well articulated in this.

  5. James says:

    This is a beautiful piece. The love and loss are so well articulated here.

  6. Lurid says:

    Moving and elegant. The metaphor of drinking wine for living life is lovely. Well done.

  7. A heartbreaking elegy, with a look back at all the things you meant to do together, but never found the time… my soul felt the regret, captured in these images, down to the final, imagined embrace.

  8. ayala says:

    Sad and beautiful. So sorry you lost your beautiful friend. Hugs.

  9. brian miller says:

    i am sorry for your loss man, a fitting rememberance of her…ugh on cancer too…it sucks man and has touched a few in my family….

  10. poemblaze says:

    A beautiful and sad poem. The toast at the end is perfect.

  11. Precious memories of a special friend. This made me think of how important it is to follow those dreams and plans while we are able to, but also to enjoy whatever the moment gives us…including the dreams.

    • chris says:

      You’re so right! Sometimes we can’t follow through on making the dreams come true, but I have fond memories now of those long chats with my friend about her plans.

  12. claudia says:

    this just burnt holes in my heart…such hopes..such plans and dreams.. and then the big loss…so very sorry but just love how you turned this into poetry and the closure is just so perfect

  13. Chazinator says:

    This is so lovely. Intensely personal yet transcendent in its all-human emotion. The sentiments and emotions are so clearly and vividly recalked that they make reading the words sink in so much deeper into the soul. Wonderfully and beautifully written.

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