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No Sexton

by JD Clay

   now that I’m gone
   just send me off
   without a lotta fanfare
   I don’t need no fancy band
   let the Angels sing
   if there are any
   you can spare the spade
   don't even turn the sod
   save the tears for sadder days
   the flowers for the bees
   no call for satin pillow
   or hardware made of brass
   don't lay me in that cypress box
   there ain't no pall to bear
   just dump my ashes
   in a mason jar then
   set  em' in the bright sunshine
   near a window facing south
   up high preferably so I can
   keep an eye on things
   I always liked
   a good show


Author's Note: This is a published poem that appeared in Raw Silk Poetry.

Posted on 09/25/2003
Copyright © 2021 JD Clay

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Kristine Briese on 09/25/03 at 03:25 AM

As excellent as we've all come to expect of you, JD. Fresh and clear.

Posted by Rachelle Howe on 09/25/03 at 05:07 AM

if only i had half the talent. god, you rock. :) and i feel dumb 'cause that's all i can come up with... you've knocked the words out of my head.

Posted by Graeme Fielden on 09/25/03 at 10:34 AM

this is great Jadi - when you time comes may you fly on expansiveg winds out over the ocean (enjoying the view)- myself, I like the thought of a viking's burial. A flaming longboat over the ocean, into the sunset...but then again, i've always been an exhibitionist! ;)

Posted by Ashok Sharda on 09/25/03 at 02:31 PM

The approach sounds beautiful.Accepting death as part of life tantamounts to accepting it fearlessly like any other event. I like the whole approach.

Posted by Max Bouillet on 09/25/03 at 03:41 PM

Stunning perspective that truly expresses an honest and natural approach to death. Exquisite form and execution! Thanks for posting.

Posted by Tim D Livingston on 09/25/03 at 04:21 PM

So you stole it from Raw Silk Poetry? Man, don't admit that! Lol.. This is the coolest poem I have read in a while. Wow. Makes me want to pick out a mason jar and hang out with you.

Posted by David R Spellman on 09/25/03 at 04:52 PM

Sounds like a man who knows what's important and what he wants. A fine bit of instruction for those final remains. Here's to hoping it will be many more years before you get that particular view. Excellent as always JD.

Posted by Quentin S Clingerman on 09/26/03 at 01:42 AM

Gentle humor, poking a little fun at all the fanfare of funerals. Having just very recently attended viewings of two elderly matriarchs of relatives of in-laws, I think they are times not only of remembering and honoring the departed but of renewing old acquaintances, including relatives. But we'd remember you whether there was a viewing or not. You hang your shingle among the stars.

Posted by Mara Meade on 09/26/03 at 12:30 PM

Amen, brother. I love the mason jar - clear glass, used for preserving... no fancy urns for you. They'd obstruct the view! I love this one.

Posted by Philip F De Pinto on 09/26/03 at 12:59 PM

whil'st you are yet flesh regale not in the coming ash and out through souther window hail the sun still burning

Posted by Jeanne Marie Hoffman on 09/26/03 at 02:54 PM

That's kinda how my dad wants to go, and through this poem, I understand the thought patterns of that better ;) The last two lines are a great closing because it brings in a personal desire of the speaker in slight contrast to the unselfishness that builds up in the whole poem. (...if that makes any sense at all)

Posted by Anne Engelen on 09/27/03 at 02:31 PM

Still I can't stop wondereing why it is of any importance at all where or how or even if your ashes are kept somewhere. It's not the remains of our body that keep our memory alive, is it? it really has me wondering why it would matter anyway. Great read though!

Posted by Glenn Currier on 09/28/03 at 01:25 PM

Ah, you buddah you! To face this end with such lightness of being and expression is what I'd like to attain. The fine simplicity here is peacegiving. thanks buddy.

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 09/28/03 at 11:32 PM

LOL! Count me in on that show jadi. Brilliant reflection on mortality and immortality.

Posted by Jason Wardell on 10/03/03 at 10:01 PM

wow, this is amazing! few people can figure out what they want in life, let alone in death. however a "grim" subject, this is quite far from being grim. it's filled with joy and best wishes, and that's just beautiful. :)

Posted by Michele Schottelkorb on 10/04/03 at 05:30 AM

this is incredible... you have written a piece that is admirable and something many of us can relate to... i think i would love that sunny spot toom when i am gone... excellent... blessings...

Posted by Charles E Minshall on 10/05/03 at 04:51 AM

Great idea Jadi but take the Mason out of the jar first. Funtastic poem.....Charlie

Posted by Don Coffman on 10/07/03 at 07:44 AM

That's a much more pleasant wish than funerals and memorials as they usually are. No burials in the cold ground, but a good spot in the sunshine. A beautiful concept that your writing is right on par with. Flawless.

Posted by Ulyss Rubey on 12/13/03 at 02:31 AM

Great- the best I could have come up with is- Don't dump my ash in the trash.

Posted by Susan Q Tomas on 02/08/04 at 09:28 PM

I've known many a Sexton as I have moved around a lot. This one fits many of them. It certainly takes a special kind of person to be a good Sexton. This is right on.

Posted by David Hill on 10/29/05 at 04:38 PM

Straight forward and matter of fact with an attitude toward ceremony that I can relate to.

Posted by Michelle Angelini on 07/01/06 at 05:09 AM

I love the attitude that in death certain rituals have no meaning - the rebelliousness of being free can even extend after life is over. Oh man, do you ROCK, jadi!

Posted by Nicole Assenza on 07/24/06 at 09:07 PM

This type of poem just does it for me. The usually dark subject turned into snark and triumph. <3 Congratulations by the way, on making Poem of the Day. You deserved it =)

Posted by Tony Whitaker on 02/05/07 at 09:49 AM

So simple the words you've used in this one, but so complex with a mellifluous and subtle alliteration. This one goes in my faves for sure.

Posted by Kathleen Wilson on 10/29/07 at 04:37 PM

Here he speaks-- with appropriate use of past tense, (and fresh from life, considering that such instructions are yet to be followed)-- and as if to a friend. He tells us what he wants--with very simple yet prominent, attention getting purposefully ordinary colloquial talk ("peaceful-like" "lotta", "don't need no" "ain't no" etc) and simple natural (personally characteristic) gestures such as ("save" "the flowers for the bees") this lovable poet wants us to "dump" his "ashes in a mason jar" -- love the transparency of his wish and his vision quest... The title "No Sexton" is an interesting one. Yes, one of the sexton's duties is often to bury the dead. So appropriate in that way. But do I hear a reference to another poet (it's unavoidable really, using that word in a poem) who was fascinated with death, made her own happen, left instructions for her funeral, (imagined a pink casket), and was buried in a prominent cemetary? "no call for satin pillow" may be general--but yes, particularly recalls such. The "ain't no pall to bear" can refer to the coffin itself, its cover but more, I think. No gloomy atmosphere, the more general meaning of pall. Directions as to the direction in which a head should face in burial are common-- (in ancient Egypt the head was to the south, facing west. But here it's the "window" in which the (most common but inventive)mason jar is placed...and it's the one that receives the most light. Where the "bright"est sunshine is. Yes. The tongue in cheek playfulness toward afterlife shows in "let the Angels sing if there are any" and "I always liked a good show". Yes. And you give us one here, and an endearing one.

Posted by Lauren Singer on 11/24/07 at 09:12 PM

theres a lot in here, and every single word off it works. i like the rhythm/conveyance/message/slang. all of it.

Posted by Elizabeth Jill on 07/15/10 at 01:58 PM

You said it best my down-to-earth friend.
Clear & sheer humble peace/joy attitude.

Posted by Carol Grant on 08/03/10 at 03:40 AM

near a window facing south up high preferably so I can keep an eye on things I always liked a good show... wish I could find my answering poem to this one JD. One of my faves..

Posted by Rachelle Howe on 01/28/12 at 07:34 PM

I love revisiting things now that I'm older. I absolutely still am inlove with this. It rings.

Posted by Veronica Phoenics on 01/08/14 at 09:15 AM

beautiful, love this.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 01/08/14 at 07:04 PM

Congrats on POTD, JD!

Posted by Maria Massarella on 01/09/14 at 12:27 AM

Le tue parole Maestro, come sempre, nutrono i miei pensieri...amoreluce*pace

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