Day of the Dead party

 (I wrote this poem several years ago after being inspired by the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. I recently revised it. Day of the Dead rituals and parties welcome, honor and remember loved ones. The date of the celebration coincides with Halloween in the U.S.)

Poem and art by Mo Conlan

 The house is aglow with candles

shining on images of faces we love.

There is music and food and much tenderness.

They live among us once again –

not as they did in life, but their spirits

dwell with us this night.


Candlelight flickers across

the long, handsome face of my father,

his deeply intelligent eyes,

a glint of ironic Irish humor.

Light plays across the photo

of my mother – eyes brimming

with unstoppable energy her maternal ancestor

Madame R. brought, along with the lace,

from Belgium to the New World –

the joi de vivre that was a counterpoint

to my father’s melancholy compassion,

the laughter that made tears roll down her cheeks.


They were here – so full of industry

and life, so larger than life. Then, gone,

leaving us seven behind, thirteen grandchildren

and now the great-grandbabies beginning to arrive.

An endless procession.


Today, these dear ones leave their heavens,

to be among us once again. They bring us gifts

of love, forgiveness and wisdom.

We welcome them with a feast –

pears and pomegranates, angel cakes

with cream and drizzled honey.

You can almost hear their echoing laughter

as we tell the old family stories,

clapping as the sweet baby

tries her first steps.


This is The Mother.

This is The Father.

Perhaps all of god we shall know

or need.


(Revised, October, 2013)

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