Tag Archives: death

1223. Death of a martyr

Constance was preciously pious. She said her prayers. She read her bible. She was kind to others. She loved Jesus. And most of all she wanted to die a martyr.

Since childhood she had read the lives of those heroes and heroines who had died for their faith. How wonderful their lives! How inspiring their deaths! What a privilege it would be to join their ranks in heaven!

One day, some horrible people came along and captured Constance. They tortured and raped her for three days. “That’s for being a Christian,” they said. Then they tortured and raped her for another three days and stuck sharp things under her nails. It was excruciating. It was sheer agony.

Constance cursed God and died.

Oh well.

1195. Fat man’s widow

Roberto was so fat when he died that a special coffin had to be made.

“We don’t stock gigantic coffins for grossly fat people,” said the undertaker to the grieving widow. “You’ll have to get one specially made.”

The poor grieving widow had nowhere to turn. She said she couldn’t afford to have a coffin specially made, let alone a very large one. She went to see if she could get some government benefit to help out.

“We don’t pay for gigantic coffins for grossly fat dead people,” said the Government agency. “If he’d gone on a diet and exercised a bit of self-control before he kicked the bucket we might have looked at it with a bit of sympathy.”

The grieving widow went to see the pastor of the local church.

“Why would we want to help out?” asked the pastor. “Your late husband was a grossly overweight, fat pig. You can’t have your cake and eat it, although looking at the size of your dead husband I’d say he’d eaten as much cake as he could stuff in his mouth. Haw! Haw! Haw!”

By now the grieving widow was desperate and the body (still sprawled on the sofa in her sitting room) was starting to disintegrate.

“Why haven’t you got rid of the body of that disintegrating, grossly overweight, slobby fat pig?” asked the children of the dead husband’s first marriage.

“I can’t fit his corpse through the door and the undertaker won’t help out until the money for the coffin is paid up first,” said the grieving widow.

People heard of the grieving widow’s plight. Thousands of dollars were donated. The grieving widow used the donated money to go on a world cruise in an ocean liner. You can imagine the stink that caused.

1173. A death rattle

The wheezing in his breath was like a massive 16-part angelic choir; soft, and coming and going from the room in a regular pattern, near and far, near and far. “They’re coming to get him,” said Mabel. “Death can’t be far off.”

And she was right. He was to last for only another three days. The celestial choir had continued all that time, ending with a long groan followed by a sort of gurgle, and then silence. Suddenly after the silence there was a final groan and that was it. “It was the death rattle,” said Mabel. “I heard it coming on. I got one hell of a fright. But what a consolation to be accompanied by angels!”

Poem 37: Loss

(The poetic form selected for this month is the Standard Habbie aka Burns Stanza).

For eighteen years I nursed and fed.
I can’t believe, son, you are dead.
I try to fathom things you said.
I weep a bit –
The life that we together led –
The end of it.

I’m here to clean out all your drawers;
Your shirts and trousers, socks and smalls.
I’ll pack them quick before I bawl.
This coat I know!
Too short for someone quite so tall!
Such thoughts bring woe.

I’ll leave it for another day.
I cannot clear the past away.
Someone else can pack, I say.
I cannot hide
The path you took when things turned grey –
Your suicide.

1045. Professor of Poetry

When Professor Edwin Lumsden’s mother died, he left it to his only sibling, his sister Berwyn, to make all the funeral arrangements. After all, Professor Edwin Lumsden was a busy man. He had to lecture in poetry at the university twice a week, and each lecture took hours of preparation. Only last week he had lectured on the meaning of the bits of Greek in Ezra Pound’s poetry. This week he was lecturing on several of e. e. cummings’ 2,900 poems. His mother would have understood why he couldn’t afford the time to help organise her funeral, and besides, his sister was exceedingly competent.

And there it was – in the morning paper – for all to see. The obituary:

I know you find it hard to part
With me, O darling of my heart,
But only trust in Jesu’s name
And you shall see your mother again.
  – Inserted by her loving son, Professor Edwin Lumsden

How could he face his academic colleagues after that? He was down to lecture about the impact of Duns Scotus’s philosophy on the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, and then this bit of rhyming balderdash made its appearance.

Professor Edwin Lumsden couldn’t face it. He was ashamed. He was embarrassed. He missed the funeral and called in sick at the university for three weeks.

1040. Dumbfounded

He was shocked and mystified to read his death announcement in the morning paper. There it was in clear black letters: JOHN MILFORD BARNABAS RODGERS. Died suddenly while on vacation in the Philippines. Loved husband of Nola. Loving father and father-in-law of Roberta and Cranford, Arnold and Cecily, and Nigel and Petra. Much loved grandfather of seven wonderful grandkids.

Most definitely shocked and mystified. Dumbfounded perhaps. Except his wife wasn’t called Nola, and his children weren’t Roberta, Arnold and Nigel. Nor had he any grandchildren. Nor had he ever been to the Philippines. And to top it off, his name on his appointment card to see the psychiatrist next week wasn’t JOHN MILFORD BARNABAS RODGERS.