‘Untimely’ Death

Charles Cowling

‘Untimely’ Death

Death knocked on my door –

it was a policeman

come looking for the home of a child found unharmed

amid the wreckage of a highway crash.

I heard him say ‘grandparents’

and my mind saw Grandma long since ready for her death

and Granddad who would never cope alone.

That one word gave me just an instant

to relax amid the swirling building comprehension:

it was not my grandparents, but the child’s, whom death had taken.


The child was my first-born,

returning from her first adventure with my parents.

And in that orphaned moment there opened up a gap

that could have swallowed my existence

were it not for also knowing my beloved child lived.

I never understood the peace that followed:

was it knowing that my parents both had lived their best?

Or that some day life would show me

that the timing did make sense?

Or did it come from looking back

on all the strange events that melded up

to keep our daughter safe?


It did not keep the tears at bay

or push me through the grind of daily living,

but there was peace beyond my understanding

that came upon the grubby wings

of death.

Margie McCallum


Margie has recorded a CD of this and 17 other poems under the title When Death Comes Close. It comes with a booklet and is available from Amazon.

I shall reproduce others of Margie’s poems in the coming days.


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10 years ago

Beautiful. Thank you.

10 years ago

Wow, Margie. This story is a stunner – it is most moving and completely unforgettable. Thank you.

Jon Underwood
10 years ago

Wow, that’s a powerful and scary poem. Thanks Margie and Charles. Looking forward to the next installment.