Messenger Death by John Sparacio
Josephine Jacobsen composed the following poem in 2002, not even a year before her death. When she composed it, she was 94. She had been paralyzed by a stroke and was also no longer able to read or write. That’s why I say “composed.” I visited her in her nursing home around that time, and she told me she composed this poem in her head, overnight one night, and kept repeating it to herself through the night until there was someone in the morning who could write it down for her.
The Companions by Josephine Jacobsen ( 1908-2003)
Living close to death
Is not just a case of breath after breath.
It is to realize that to fraternize
With the dark prince is possible and wise,
So that in the final weather
When together you quit the room
Though tentative ad weary
You will have the enormous answer
To the enormous query.
She was such a well respected poet that the New Yorker published this poem very shortly after she sent it to them.
The transition from this life to the next is not such a fearsome thing for a 94year old with a full and mostly happy life behind her, and a faith in what/who was waiting for her on the other side, with open arms.
Death to her did not appear as a grim reaper but as a dark prince, much like the film representations of past years:
Frederick March, in “Death Takes a Holiday”
Brad Pitt, in “Meet Joe Black”
And even as the welcoming lover in “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir”
And the reunion at the end of “Titanic.”