(as described by the writer john guzlowski)

John Milton died alone in his room,

his daughter Ann picking herbs

in the garden, parsley and rosemary.

She said she’d be right back,


and he said nothing.  He was dying,

and didn’t want his daughter with him.

There was something about the way

she sat in silence next to the bed


that made him want to turn his head.

And he knew if he did, she’d ask him

if he were in pain, and her concern

troubled him.  He knew when he died


she’d mourn for him, and her mourning

would be brutal.  Her heart was tender,

and every misery touched her hard.

Dying, he didn’t want to think of it.


He wanted to be free of the mourning world,

free of everything, free of  all the sadness

that woke him early every morning,

and seemed to sleep at night but never did.


He wanted only to think of the poem

he burned because he knew finishing it

would have brought misery to Ann,

but he loved thinking about the poem,


and so he lay there, dying and thinking

about the poem he burned in the fireplace.


Its first line?  Wasn’t it, “In His bright day,

the world awaits” something, something,



This poem originally appeared in The Atticus Review.  If you click on that link, you'll be taken to a page where you can access several of my other poems, including "The Bakers of Auschwitz" and "A Brief History of Sorrow."

Views: 66

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on April 29, 2016 at 11:00am

just terrific, John

Comment by JMac1949 Today on April 29, 2016 at 3:10pm

Never been a fan of Milton but I like how you crafted the language of his last day.

Comment by koshersalaami on May 3, 2016 at 9:01pm
Really good
Comment by Dalriadane on May 5, 2016 at 1:17pm

I wasn't with either parent when they died.  I'm not sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing and I wondered if they wanted me there now after reading this.  Your poem certainly makes one think. 

Comment by John Guzlowski on May 5, 2016 at 2:11pm

Dalriadane, thanks for reading this.


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