Regional Director, Adelmo Huamani Meza,
30 November, 2010
The Book of
(Poems on Grieving…)
Dennis L. Siluk, Ed.D.
Three Time Poet Laureate
The Book of Nostalgia
(Pomes on Grieving…)
Copyright © 2012, by Dennis L. Siluk, Ed.D.
Dedicated to Elsie T. Siluk
(Poems on Grieving)
Poems on the Days (Part One)
5—Day of Recovery
6—Days Grew Heavy
7—Day alter Day
8—Days of Protocol
10—A Day Late
12—Days of Depression
13—A Pretty Good Day
14—Days of Clearing out Things
16— Day of the Vision
17—Day of Cremation
Poems without Days (Part Two)
18—Letting Go of he Dying
20—World you like to live Like This?
21— End Poem: “Death Passed Me Once”
Poems of Nostalgia (Part Three)
Mixed Poems (from the unpublished work “Naked Poetry”)
22—The Long Glimpse
23—Spring Cleaning (A 1960s, Minnesota Poem)
25—A Song for Elsie
26—Those Old Russian Stews
29— Love and Butterflies
[For Elsie T. Siluk, my mother]
Dr. Siluk’s books are available: United Arab Emirates, Australia, Belgium, Bahrain, Switzerland, China, Germany, Spain, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, South Africa (to include: throughout the United States and Canada, and England)
Notes: For those who have read Mr. Siluk’s poetry, his natural private imagery, perhaps more on the nonacademic side, you will discover what he is trying to do is, tell how it is to be alive today, about the present, saying: ”This is a state of mind one should visit every so often.” He uses powerful descriptions and intense imagery to have an effect on the reader, he implies “…that’s the job of the poet, to effect!” Rosa Peñaloza de Siluk
This is the author’s 45th book, and most versatile, resourceful. He lives in Minnesota and Peru with his wife Rosa. the author with Garrison Keillor National Radiobroadcaster, author, poet, and storyteller; they met at the World Theater during a poetry reading, February, 2005, in St. Paul, Minnesota. And
Present Alan Garcia n Lima, Peru, May, 2010.
“…you have been designated Godfather of… the National Newspaper of Peru (“The Voice of the People… is the Voice of God”)… in merit to your fine virtues and profession of service that you have shown throughout your exemplary life that everybody appreciates, admires, and exalts.” Director, Apolinario Mayta Inga & Manager Rivera Flores, October 7, 2009
I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your short story, “Uni’s Street Corner” in Lake Area Business this month. Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece!! Gloria Stafford, Minnetrista, MN
“I received your book “Last Autumn and Winter”…. It's beautiful you have really captured Minnesota. And I love that it is in Spanish and English. … Thanks so much for sending this treasure to me Dennis.”
Gail Weber, Editor and Owner of “Exploring Tosca” A Minnesota
cultural magazine (5-25-2010)
The Synergy Group Recommended Reading (April 2010) pertaining to topics on Behavioral and
Emotional Health, the book: The Path to Sobriety…” by Dr. Dennis L. Siluk
Prologue: Most poets perhaps even writers of other genres, prefer their narrations on death to entail courage and strength, putting little emphases on grieving and its torments, depressions, longevity, and so forth; I don’t disagree completely with that, only partly, for submissive suffering is also involved, which most folks just do not want to look at—to include the gambit of all writers—save the poet, and even he dances around this. I prefer them both together for what else can one do to find the true and aggressive, passive emotions one voyages through during a paramount loss: especially during the process of a loved one dying in front of your eyes; day by day watching death consume, like fire until all that is left is ashes.
Emotions are neither right nor wrong, they just are. Therefore, we weep, behind or in front of the curtains, the windows, and if we don’t weep, it comes out all the same, just sideways. We weep often to heal and let go, to go forward in life, as it was meant to be; some folks scream, as to be able to endure the pain of the loss, while others pull their hair out from the roots. Some folks grieve long and hard, some folks not so long, or hard, perhaps they are tougher in the grieving area. In any case, the periods of grieving are different for everyone, and we grieve like it or not. Grieving is a way to thin the blood so the heart and the mind can function as well as possible.
This is a daring book—to say the least, on what I consider poignant poetry on a dreadful fact each one of us will face sooner or later—dying or the death of a much loved person. This is my poetic testimony, to a beloved mother.
Poems on the Days
(…concerning the Dying of a Beloved Mother)
(The dying of a beloved Mother)
She was getting weaker
the last months of her life;
her blue-eyes lost their
rapture, their chase.
A congestive heart helped take
her vigour away…!
And then, then came, those
Long, long lost days.
12-15-2007 No: 2104
(The dying of a beloved Mother)
I sat by my mother’s bedside
as death drew near,
and saw her white skin,
turn pale (while in the Hospital).
I wrote a poem a few days
after she passed on….
The first twenty-seven days
of her hospitalization
she talked a lot,
the last words to come,
before the coma.
Out of a window, near her bed
was a July summer blooming…!
In those last days—so honest
she was, she saw angels
in her room.
we talked together—
I, in my droopy melancholy despair;
her, with smiles and laughter,
which filled the room…(with)
butterflies, as she slowly
No: 2101 (12-15-2007)
After my mother’s death
I looked back at the calendar,
it was forty-two days—forty-two days had passed
since we ate cake and ice-cream at the restaurant,
along the banks of the St. Croix River;
stood out by its fence,
waved our hands at the camera—
my mother seemed to stagger a bit.
I wonder now,
she only had
forty-two days left?
Notes: 12-15-2007 No: 2102: in this poem, the author is referring to the St. Croix River, that flows through the town of Stillwater, in Minnesota, USA; Minnesota is on one side, Wisconsin, on the other.
This morning Rosa woke me up
“What for?” I asked.
I put my cloths on, went to the bathroom,
took a pee, cleaned up (quickly).
I sensed something was wrong,
something staring back at me…
from behind a mirror,
(my mother had died).
No: 2103 12-15-2007
A Day of Recovery
After the surgery,
after they cut out half her insides,
she started to recover,
but she would relapse, after a day
(in the interim,
I checked on how much morphine
she was being given).
She wanted me to bring her home,
had a dream she was in a taxi,
and it wouldn’t stop at her house.
She was a breathing, scrutinizing coffin,
just waiting in the bed to die;
she didn’t worry though,
she said: she had lived longer
than she had expected.
Her ardent last awaking days
were full of power and praise.
Talking away on old passionate associations,
of what went before, now near eight-three years
old: now brief, calm and bold.
No: 2105 12-16-2007
Days Grew Heavy
Days grew heavy throughout June,
of 2003; after the 26th, I knew
I’d have to bear her death.
They bathed her and fed her,
as her trembling hands
signed the last checks
to pay her bills.
Yet she smiled, as
I watched her dying—
her failing, of old age.
No: 2104 (12-17-2007)
Day after Day
I walked around her bed
(day after day)
wondering what I could do
she must had thought me a dupe…;
there I was pacing, pacing here and there,
like a hungry bear—
anxious to do something, anything
but there was nothing I could do,
nothing at all.
Perhaps she understood:
even the good and thoughtful
She would not overlook
No: 2106 (12-16-2007)
Days of Protocol
Everyday in the hospital (thirty in all)
was a day for protocol:
questions, infusions, shots, sleep,
heavy sleep (sleeping ten to
fifteen-hours per day) that was her
life, her living. She asked
when she saw me: “Were you here
“O yes,” I’d respond, “but you were
No: 2107 (12-16-2007)
Now, four year’s later, memories, voices, images
words, all turn up in my mind.
She really didn’t want to take that agitated ride
to the hospital, the morning she called
upstairs to my wife Rosa…but the pain in her
stomach was too much; thus,
Rosa drove her to the Emergency Room,
(admissions), and she never left.
Perhaps she knew this—
No: 2108 12-16-2007)
A Day Late
When the minister asked (brought to my attention)
at the Hospital, after mother’s death,
if I’d give to them her name, they’d pray for her,
I simply told them (with annoyance):
“It’s too late, way too late—go and pray for the living.”
(No: 2109 (12-16-2007)
My mother lay silent on her back—
while the female doctor was talking to me
(in a private room)
showing far-minded love….
It was day—zero, I couldn’t take
(Thank God, my brother spoke
before I did!)
No: 2110 (12-16-2007)
Dedicated to my brother Mike E. Siluk
Days of Depression
There were days of depression
(for me) waiting for the light of life
to be blown out. After
my mother died…. I knew
I wouldn’t, or couldn’t
commit suicide, but my doctor
and wife, wasn’t so sure:
throwing medicine my way,
to stabilize my brain waves.
No: 2111 (12-16-2007)
A Pretty Good Day
She ate (or all she had to eat was):
soup, jello, and chocolate milk
(mostly, tasteless crap at the hospital)
those last days of her life.
She was bored, but comfortable
in Ramsey hospital;
as she dehydrated—
She’d say, “Bring me some good chocolate!”
And I did, once—
before the operation
(she hid it from the nurses).
That was a pretty good day.
No: 2112 (12-16-2007)
Days of Cleaning out Things
Throughout my mother’s apartment, my brother
and I found a massive storage of things, things,
and more things…like sewing things, and
garments she made, never wore, garments
bought and put away in storage, not sure
what for: she would have said ‘For a rainy day’.
Things, like records and ribbons,
knitting things, almost everything buyable
under the sun. Tons of toothpaste, and
toilet paper (stacks and stacks of things); all three
bedrooms filled, and she slept on the couch.
Stamps, paper, and can goods, silverware
in three drawers, tools and much, much more.
It took all of two weeks, to clean her house,
out, but I bet she had a great time buying and
giving those things away as gifts (as often she did).
We didn’t complain though, my brother and I,
we never had to buy things for two years or so.
No: 2113 (12-16-2007)
I tried, during those trying days
to remain dry-eyed and half-sane
—silent (my pain, paralyzed).
I was trying to understand, --
She laid in a coma for three days
I told her to let go, and go home,
home to heaven, with the Lord,
and she did—; that brought me
into a horror.
No: 2114 (12-16-2007)
Day of the Vision
I had told my mother—
(two years prior to her death),
that in a vision I had
seen her laying in a bed
(she looked dead).
Her right arm hanging loose to the side…
(she smiled, and didn’t say much
and went about her chores).
In her hospital room, I saw this vision’s
reality (the day she died).
I stroked her dead but warm
blooded arm, kissed her forehead—
it was the Day of the Vision!
No: 2115 (12-16-2007)
Day of Cremation
“Cremate me,” she said (with indifference),
adding, “…it’s only $1300.00, I checked it out, not bad!”
And we somewhat laughed—thinking, I suppose—
thinking: no one will profit from her death
(fancy funerals cost piles of dollars, I guess).
And so it was, and is to this day,
she lay as a pile of ashes in a urn.
If she could see it, I’m sure
she’d nod quietly, and say:
“Job well done.”
No: 2116 (12-16-2007)
Poems without Days
Letting Go of the
Dying, is but a breath away—
Letting go of your loved ones
is another thing, much harder,
(I’d say)— Enormous echoes
seep through one’s brain,
No: 2118 (12-16-2007)
They all came, one by one, to say their goodbyes
(family and friends, to the hospital); some from afar.
Some wiped their eyes, trying not to cry, others
touched and looked wide-eyed. And Mother, she just
smiled, and laughed, until she tired out, and closed
her eyes. And we all left, wondering if she’d open
them again…. (and on July 1, 5:00 A.M., 2003,
No: 2119 (12-16-2007)
“Would you like to live like this?”
Her eyes opened wide (she hadn’t spoken for a moment).
Can’t remember what I said, but mother replied:
“…would you want to live like this?”
“No!” my pale lips pushed out….
There was almost a spasm to her face, yet a kind of
sweetness rose from her cheeks... “No!” I repeated.
I watched her body go still as she leaned back towards
her pillow (as if doing some deep thinking…). Then her
rounded squinty blue-eyes closed, just for a jiffy,
No: 2120 (12-17-2007)
Death Passed Me Once
(In the Valley of Days)
Death returns: it found no resting place,
I saw it in flight last night—(it passed me once,
overhead) beneath the last sparks of twilight—!
Death has wings, you know, I saw it descend,
it glides through the valley of days, in peacefulness…
yet—its tail leaves shadows of grief, and pain,
to return at dawn, blue-bellied full—,
as if it had swallowed a whale whole.
Death, is always hungry it seems, and has an
invisible web nearby, always waiting, waiting,
likened to a spider waiting for a fly!
Poems of Nostalgia
((Part Three) (Mixed Poems))
These poems for the most part were taken from an unpublished book written in 2004 and 2005 called “Naked Poetry”
The Long Glimpse
From the arch of the doorway
She’d look my way, into the garage, at me—
as I readied my automobile to go someplace;
She’d be looking-steadfast
I’d open my car door a bit, ask:
“Why you staring? (at me)”
“No reason,” she’d reply, smiling.
Then with a tinge of hesitation
she summon up, and said (at 82):
softly, in an almost whisper “You….”
((as if she had remembered the day I
was born) (almost in a trance.))
And I’d for the life of me—
not know why; I know now though,
she was simply getting a long glimpse
before she died (for she died shortly after).
I guess, she was really saying goodbye,
saying goodbye with a long glimpse
to last between now and then, when we’d
No: 1947 8-24-2007
(A 1960s, Minnesota Poem)
During spring cleaning my
mother worked the house
as if—she was having a GI-Party:
one of those Army clean-up parties
where everything had to be ‘Spick and Span.’
Every nook and crack in every inch
of the place, clean and shiny. She
moved the furniture around—awkward
as it was—sofa chair, table and television
lifting up rugs—and still having
strength and stamina to wash walls
clean. And in the midst of it all
I often wondered, she never rearranged
the rooms. Perhaps because she didn’t
want grandpa to become disoriented.
Thus, no one had to deal with change.
And no one knew the inexhaustible
efforts she put out (or if they did
no one said a word, nor she).
No: 2695 (5-18-2010)
In a hospital bed restless she laid
Not afraid, or disposed
An operation had taken place:
To regenerate her failing system—
But time, cripples the bones and flesh
Slowly until its mush—I’m starting to learn
That much myself lately…
She went home, in a taxicab today—
She said, “A black man drove her
By the house, wouldn’t stop or
Let me out…
“Stop here, here! It’s my place,” she
Moaned with grief, but the driver wouldn’t
Stop, didn’t stop— (she really
Thought she was in that taxi)
“Why wouldn’t he stop?” she
Asked me today, when she woke up;
She still didn’t understand
I was a bit vanquish and sad
To have to say: “Mother, I’m sorry,
it was simply a dream…
(and then she knew she was dying)”
Note: A January poem [1/24/2004], when you lose a mother, a mother you love, you lose part of your soul—I do believe—that is, part of your character that can never be replaced. It is a love by itself, not clinging to any other dimensions or comparisons; it simply has it own life and death and healing process. No: 425
A Song for Elsie
When I was young
Before my teens
She’d be humming a Song,
a tune, called:
“Roses are red my love…”
For some odd reason…
Just an old song, tune
That kind of kept
The fire burning, so I’d learn
In yeas yet to come, a song that
Reminded her of an old boyfriend
Who went off to war, in ‘44?
And received her devotion
Grandpa’s been dead now
For some twenty years or so;
Mother, only two…! So
There’s no one left I fear, but
Me, who knows how to make—
Those Old Russian stews…!
Clothespins and white sheets,
Socks and blue jeans,
Hanging on rope lines
In the backyard
Flopping in the wind…
I’d help my mother hang them
In the cold freezing breeze of
Minnesota’s nearing winter;
Solid rippled like a pig’s snout
When I was dying
In the hospital in 1993—!
Sadness was so deep
Within my mother’s face
Had I died, I fear—
She’d had died with me.
Love and Butterflies
[For Elsie T. Siluk, my mother]
She fought a good battle
The last of many—
Until there was nothing left
Where once, there was plenty.
And so, poised and dignified
She said, ‘farewell,’ in her own way
And left behind
A grand old time
Room for another
Love and Butterflies…
That was my mother.
—By Dennis L. Siluk © 7/03