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'Before I Die...'
April 2013
 30 April 2013

Before I Die

If I only had a little time to live I would like to make a massive big party and have everyone dress up like a pupil in school uniform. I would like to make lots of lovely cakes and decorate them so beautiful, out of this world. I'd like to decorate them specially for all my friends and family for their own personalities.

Before I die I would like to get all of my children talking again. It would make me happy if they were together again because they would have each other when I am not here anymore.

When I was very young I wanted to demolish a building using a wrecking ball. It is like a big steel boulder on a chain that swings and knocks walls down. I saw it on TV.

Maria Gethin

Before I Die, Before I Return to My Ancestors

Can you see these days and know them and remember them
As you spread your wings life has many roads
And you know the beauty of life you chose to write poetry
And be active for social justice
As the featured poet in your graduation 35 years ago
As the sweet touch of Zahra has captured your heart
Hot and sunlight sitting near the Pacific Ocean
As a flute solo bursts out over the taste of a love poem at Golden Gate Park
The drumbeats and the shekere of Mongo Santamaría
You name a rhythm rhythm rhythm mi guaguancó
Reading poetry every Tuesday afternoon for Poetry for the People at KPOO Radio
And occasionally a guest appearance at Dr Juanita James’ show
And on the corner and street and block at Fillmore Street
Getting on the Muni bus over to the Mission District at 24th Street and Mission
To La Bodega del Pueblo
As a community gathering exchanging bochinche about barrio life
I lost my heart in San Francisco
And when the sound seems to float which sunsets follow
Stand up for humanity when the trumpet calls.

© 4/3/13 Carlos Raúl Dufflar
The Bread is Rising Poetry Collective

Before I die

I want to live before I die
Enjoy life, laugh don't cry
For life is too short for tantrums and tears
and to be held back by unnecessary fears
Remember don't cry because its over, smile because it happened
Everything happens for a reason I hate to sound old-fashioned
Just remember life is too short
live dangerously, but don't get caught

Before I die I want to live
So much to live for, so much to give
I wan to live my life with love
A gift from god from up above
My philosophy for life is live, love, laugh
Live life to the full, not by half
If I live my life with this intent
When I do go I will be content

By Elizabeth Jury

Where the sound Ends

The horn blasts blues
Ends un known shriek sky
Will exhibition echo along
In deep ravioli cliffs gulls
Long before I go die
Railing tails Target Tarot
Trot hoofs beat rhythm
Before death calls and takes
Echoing sad notes flames
Leaving behind loss
Lost un known in sound
Speed swirling life

John Joseph Sheehy

In this dead deadly silence

When before I will die
I will fill in a pot-hole
In Holloway Road
before I die I hope to sit down and cry
Look up and look down
These streets by my side
That I ride in the number 19 bus
From outside Finsbury Park Station
To Battersea bridge there n back
And read in Covent Garden in the pouring rain
This is before I will die
I might have enough time left
I won't hurry up I take my chances before I will die,
May it be April or May or any other time
The last thing I do before I do die
Is I sit down and cry

John Joseph Sheehy


Before I shuffle off this mortal coil
and I am spread around among the soil
and soar upwards, the reward of my worldly toil
or, more likely, slip all the way down into the oil
to boil and boil and boil and boil

Now, I have thought about this.

Goin' down the pub an' getting pissed,
that's not upon my bucket-list
nor a liaison with Marilyn or Madonna
or shout to the people about how I'm gonna'
put the world and it's aunt to rights
or tell them how to stop all the fights
that go on
and on.

I won't name places I need to see
just so ah can say that I said “Gee!”
or tell lots of folk just how they should go
I can hear them all saying “what so!?”
No, only one thing bothers me, apart from the need at least one time,
to write a poem where I don't have to mess with the spelling and the order of the words just to keep the rhythm, and rhyme.

There's this ambition,
something I really want to do
One tiny rendition
of this life before it's through.

You see, living in this modern world
into which we've all been hurled
some in an instant, being born
others waiting a lifetime, all forlorn
to know that their ancient wisdom is cast away
'cause instead we have a gadget with which we play

Press the right button,
It's a watch which speaks out the time so you can hear
not just hour, minute and second, but the day, the month and the year

Press the right button,
It's a compass, sextant and navigational log tables all rolled into one
who needs the pole star, southern cross or the midday sun
when GPS takes all of the fun out of not knowing where you stand,
Press the right button, - get latitude and longitude on demand.

Press the right button,
It's a 'phone so you can make a call
especially useful if you've had a fall.

Press the right button,
and a qwerty keyboard next appears,
you can write a novel, or 'diarise' your fears

Press the right button,
take a photo of the wonderful view,
of the car, or the baby, as long as it's new

Press the right button,
compose an email to order a pizza
delivered to your spot on the piazza

Press the right button,
'download' a movie and gaze at those stars
or read a bestseller, straight from Mars

Press the right button,
and the world's your oyster
whether in town or monastic cloister
It doesn't matter just where you are
Press the right button, you'll do better than par.

Totally intuitive, it's ever so simple
from out of the box, just press the right dimple
the machine and you form a lasting bond
what you have in your hand is a magic wand

Just press the right button...

Us oldies may be set in our ways
it'll take us more than several days
to get the hang of all this tech stuff
meanwhile we're feeling decidedly rough.

So here's my ambition, my bucket-list quest
in order to join this modern world's best,
at least one time when I meet the new gadget
I shouldn't do the 'out of the box' fidget
instead, to avoid the need for all of the ructions
First, please, remind me,
For once in your life - Read the bloody instructions!!

Dave Chambers
Newham Writers Workshop


My favourite flower,
my favourite time of year,
right around Easter, when
the world has woken up
when winter can not return,
even where summer is shortest.

My local streets are graced
with flowering cherry trees,
a gift from the house builder
for three weeks every year,
my invite to visit every city
with a Cherry Blossom Festival.

One every year till the airlines
or insurance companies tell me
too old or too much of a risk;
Kyoto, Vancouver, Brooklyn,
San Francisco, Washington D.C.,
Philadelphia, Seoul, Hamburg,
Macon Georgia, Cowra NSW,
every city that loves sakura.

I will make a list & stencil
it pink on my kitchen wall,
& strike through them one
at a time on my return,
till I am senile or really dead,
not need to explain anything
whatever I leave behind or
undone will tell its own story.


Before I die - rejoice

I am grateful to my feet
For carrying me on this life’s journey.
Grateful to my heart that has yet to stop beating
And has kept the rhythm going in my life.
I give thanks.

I am grateful to my eyes -to have witnessed such beauty
The special-ness of a beloved one’s smile -
The passion in a loved one’s eyes
The sunset’s rich russet skies
And the fleeting twinkle of stars on a serene moonlit night.

Grateful to my ears for transmitting the sounds in my life:
The ebb and flow of waves, the trilling beauty of birdsong…
The thrilling and amazing sounds of the human voice.
The delightful, lilting laughter of folk that I meet and
The relaxing throbbing purr of my close, companion cats.

I am grateful for my sense of taste
Indulgences enjoyed in full - without haste.
To have savoured exquisite flavours
Succulent sauces - so many delights
To help me appreciate the bitter and sweetness in life.

So grateful for the smell and freshness of newly cut grass
Fragrant freesias, heady honeysuckle
and relaxing lavender to soothe and relax.
The tempting beckoning of sizzling bacon
The scent in my sweet heart’s post love embrace.

I am grateful for the love in my parents’ reassuring pat.
A friend’s genuine concern and close, loving hug.
The supporting arm of those who care - in times of anguish or hurt -
The astonishing trust in my child’s innocent cuddle and touch.
And - the tenderness and patience in a lover’s embrace.

Before I die I want to recall all the special moments
Of pure love and joy.

Ellen Reardon

Before I die - No bitterness

No bitterness.
No envy.
No grieving
For a new tomorrow.
Regrets -
Just one - (or two.)
Feel blessed.
Re unite with loved ones -
and those
Gone before.
I await my

Ellen Reardon.

Before I die - I lay here

I lay here
Mostly silent
And listen to my
My lungs exhale.

Soon, I will
Enjoy my last sigh-
Slip into another realm
Reunite with loved ones
Who have been watching
And await

She lays there.
Mostly silent,
Listening to her
Gentle breathing.
She was young
Agile, lithe.

She skipped
And laughed and
Slipped into a time when
She waddled, heavy bellied.
Her love surged as she pushed
New life into this world.

But she is my child.
My beloved.
And I watch over her
And with care.
And await
Our reunion.

She worked and cleaned
And danced and sang
And laughed and cried.
She tried to learn
And loved …
and sometimes gave
Too much.

And now it is time to stop.
Reflect, relax.
Be content.
The long awaited reunion.
Enjoy a final ,
Silent moment -
And peace.

Ellen Reardon


There is only one thing that I need to do before I die and that is to show and telll my children and grandchildren that I love them unconditionally.

Pure love is being able to accept another individual as they are, accepting all their faults and difficulties, and allowing them to be themselves without judgement.

Pure love is looking beyond the surface, beneath the skin and seeing the potential of the other.

Pure love allows us to go beyond the boundaries that we make ourselves and which imprison us – when a person loves they become rich, creative and productive.

Pure love never seeks its own ends and gives without expecting to receive anything in return.

If I can teach my children and grandchildren to love as I try to love before I die, I will die immensely rich and immensely happy.

Sue Rabbett

Before I die

Try to undo
I have done
when I was young
and delete
all bad memories.
Begin to gather
a courage and strength,
because I do not know
what kind end
is waiting for me.
Just do not collect
all illnesses
in medical dictionary,
I wish.
I would love to enjoy
the life
which was given to me.
It was an act
of love.

Marie Neumann

Final Tribute

How many people's funerals
Will I attend before I die?
And I'll say they were lovely guys
As they are lowered in their graves.
It's what you do in public
When you're frightened to make waves.
I understand it's dangerous
To say bad things about the dead.
They could come back to haunt you
In revenge for what you've said.
Most others at the funerals
Will be thinking as I do
As they speak well of the deceased;
Then quickly hurry to the feast
To praise the dead man at his wake
While guzzling beer and gobbling cake.
And anyone who's still around,
My, so called, friends and family
Will probably do the same for me
When I am buried in the ground.

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers

When I.....

When I give up the ghost,
it will be to someone whose need
is greater than mine.
When I kick the bucket,
there will be a stainless steely cry,
but my swearing at the bucket
will be none the wiser. When I buy
the farm, the agent will blagg
about the quality of topsoil.
When I pop my clogs
wood will begin its other timpani.
When I go the way of all flesh
the M1 will be gridlocked
with corteges of butchers' vans.

Bruce Barnes


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