The Shine Journal - The Light Left Behind

Journeys Through Grief and Beyond

Two from Joan McNerney

Flowers for the Dead


This is the way

I see your face.

O you are dead

your face frozen

and moist.

I love you and search

for you everywhere as

light dims to darkness

and darkness brightens

to light.

We once arranged our

days in that small

vase of time given us.

I see your face

reflected there now

in a vase full of

flowers for the dead,

reeds of tears.

O your face facing me.

Tears flowering from me

until my vase of time

spills over and we meet

in that season called






For A Friend Who Is Dying




Even though oceans

have been charted

mountaintops marked

there are no words

for your pain.

All the stratosphere

of heaven climbed yet

there is no course

through human sorrow.

Every muscle counted

and every bone but

no formula was written

for your grief.

In languages of

languages chromosomes

numbered named. What

can be said to your

sorrow, your pain?


Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Camel Saloon Books on Blog, Blueline, Vine Leaves, Spectrum, three Bright Spring Press Anthologies and several Kind of A Hurricane Publications.  She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net. Four of her books have been published by fine literary presses. 

She has recited her work at the National Arts Club, New York City, State University of New York, Oneonta, McNay Art Institute, San Antonio and other distinguished venues.  A recent reading was sponsored by the American Academy of Poetry.  Her latest title is Having Lunch with the Sky, A.P.D. Press, Albany, New York.

Contact Editor: Pamela Tyree Griffin

Send email to

Send to a friend

Share on Facebook

Share on Facebook