Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

Night Shift

Alongside the current themes of life, death and what we leave behind, I thought I would post this poem.

I’ve sat with the dying a good numberof times, both animal and human, and it’s a very moving experience. One friend (who was also a client when I did feet) I saw every day until about five days before he passed, and when my stepfather-in-law was dying last March, we took turns to sit with him.

The strangest time of all is during the night, especially after about 2am. The world is a very different place at that time. It’s also shown statistically that more people pass away at night than during the day, and more babies are born. It also goes without saying that generally dying animals pass away during the night too. I do not know why.

Night Shift

(for those who wait with the dying)



I want to hold back Death:

Impossible of course,

But every time I try,

Standing in the way,

Arms outstretched

                            As if to halt

A bolting horse,

It passes through

As if I, not it,

Were insubstantial mist.

And I feel a touch

Across my face

Of trailing cobwebs

Or frosted feathers

Stiff with ice.

by Viv



January 26, 2009 - Posted by | animals, Cafe Literati, death, family, friends, God in our life, health, life, love, personal, religion, Viv's Poetry, writing | , , , , , , ,


  1. I have no idea why the lines went funny but the line that is out of synch should read, “As if to halt”
    sorry about that.

    Comment by viv66 | January 26, 2009

  2. I like all of it, but the last five lines are particularly good. The lightness of the cobwebs, feathers, stiff with ice…what an image…

    Comment by psychscribe | January 26, 2009

  3. I wrote it at a time when we’d been losing beloved pets in a progression of months. This one, believe it or not, was written because our Giant African Landsnail Anina was found dying and the family begged me to do something. I’m the one who does most of the first aid and nursing of both pets, wildlife and humans and I usually have some special trick to ease things. But in this case, there was nothing I(or the vet) could do. She/he was at the end of life and it was a matter of letting it happen. being a snail, we had to wait some days to be sure death had taken place. I don’t think I need to go any further.

    Comment by viv66 | January 26, 2009

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