Not Goodbye

Today I am combining two prompts: National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) and Friday Fictioneers.

Today is the last day of NaPoWriMo, and the challenge is–appropriately–to write a poem of farewell. However, being the contrarian that I am, I have chosen to write a poem that refuses to say goodbye.

The poem was also written in response to the Friday Fictioneers photo prompt provided on Rochelle Wisoff-Fields website, courtesy of photographer and fellow writer Renee Heath. Thank you, Rochelle and Renee! I have not submitted a poem to Friday Fictioneers before, but others have done so with very good results, so I took a chance! I’ve tagged it as both speculative fiction and free verse.

I would also like to express my appreciation to Maureen Thorson, who runs the NaPoWriMo website, with over 1,500 participants this year. She has kept us fully engaged these past 30 days. I hope you’ve had a chance to check out some of the interesting poetry that was produced (including, I hope, mine).


Not Goodbye

by Jan Brown

Time runs out
Like wax dripping from a spent candle
Forming little rivulets of pain
If I could travel in time
A thousand years hence
Surely cancer would have been cured
Would they allow me to return?
Return to your bedside with a magic vial
Or perhaps an electronic device
Shooting nanobots into your bloodstream
Racing through your shattered body
I shall light the candle anew
And watch your body refresh
Losing the shrunken, bony appearance
So uncharacteristic of you
Your senior years should be as beautiful
As memorable
As amazing
As you are
And I
Shall. Not. Say. Goodbye.


To read more Friday Fictioneers’ stories, click the link:


45 thoughts on “Not Goodbye

  1. Jan, you’re my last read before I turn my attention back to the hockey game (another overtime) and then to bed. Good for you for trying a poem that worked so well. I say this despite my dislike of periods in sentences such as “Shall. Not. Say. Goodbye.” 🙂 Wouldn’t it be nice if we could come back to save our loved ones from disease? But then there’s always that pesky idea of changing history. Oh, well, it’s fiction, so who cares?


    • Thank you, Janet! Yes, the rules of time travel will be tricky…I’d love to change history in a positive way. But I think that will probably take divine intervention.

  2. You’ve captured a lot in this poem Janet. As well as sadness and a desire to be able to change the inevitable end, there is a lovely portrayal of the dying person before they were ravaged by cancer. The fact that is comes backward (from deathbed back through their beautiful, memorable, amazing years) gives it light and strength that might not be there if it had been told the other way round. And as another poet once wrote, ‘Rage, rage against the dying of the light’

  3. I don’t like poems as a rule, but this manages to be a story as well as a poem, so it works for me. I enjoyed the building of those last few lines ( Personally, I thought the “yet” was a bit of a let down, because I think I felt angst and refusal and that suggested some admission which reduced those feelings, but that’s just my pov.

  4. I agree with Elmo regarding “yet.” And I loved the poem as well. Reminded me of a book that has been on my mind the last couple of days: “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” I don’t want to spoil the book for you if you haven’t read it… Suffice to say, there are many ways to interpret going back in time to fix something. 🙂

    • Thank you for the feedback! I have not read that book ( or seen the movie) yet, but now you’ve got me very interested in it. Thank you so much for visiting my blog 🙂

  5. Jan, Lovely poem and story both. 🙂 The strides they’re making in science just might bring us a cure to many diseases soon. I certainly hope so. Time travel might bring us more problems than benefits. Well done. 🙂

  6. Yes, I have wished for things such as this. Although my dad (rest his soul) was vehement on the argument that the world was over-populated and prolonging life was something that was treated too lightly, in the western world, at least. But then, he liked to ruffle feathers!

  7. Lovely. The feeling of want and possibly regret really comes through. I try not to critique to much as I read, but I agree with several others who think the “yet” is a bit of a giving in. The poem has such longing and strength without it.

    • Thank you very much for reading and commenting. I think you are correct about the last line of the poem–a very valuable critique! Thanks again for visiting my blog 🙂

  8. Lovely. Really really lovely. And clever to be able to put a word like ‘nanobots’ in a poem about love and not make it jarring. I really enjoyed this. (I’ll stop saying ‘really’ now!)

  9. I have to say I disagree with some of your other readers. “Yet” is a let down, but it also illustrates the futility of trying to treat such a devestating disease. We try to beat it by poisoning our bodied and torturing ourselves, but sometimes that doesn’t work. Sometimes we linger before the inevitable, which is where the yet comes in. I think the poem works eiether with or without the last line. Just depends on exactly which way you’re going with it. (does that make sense?)

    • Thank you! The last line, “yet,” was intended to indicate that goodbyes will be said someday, just not today and not because of the cancer. However, I think the poem’s ending is actually stronger without it, as some have commented. I ‘m leaving the poem as is, but I enjoy having the diverse feedback, which is one of the great things about this community of writers. We can help each other hone our skills 🙂

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