On the Edge of the Abyss

“So I sit on the edge, wagging my feet above the abyss”

–Jim Harrison, “Bridge,” Dead Man’s Float


The sun doesn’t have to shine

nor the moon to glow and hum

her shimmery tunes

at night when all the world

seems dark and full of despair–

and there

on the edge of the abyss,

he, she, they—perhaps I—


wondering is this it?


do not the stars twinkle

and the rivers flow to the sea

where life emerges to be

part of an endless cycle—

like despair from wishes

caught like fishes—

unable to be freed.

So, sometimes unperceived

a life not filled with joy,

but strife,

tragic when it ends

in midnight pain,

a sudden downpour,

a heavy rain.

Still, the stars twinkle

and sprinkle


with sparkling light

what may be or might

like the sun

once again come


This is another poem for Jilly’s 28 Days of Unreason, where we are writing poetry based on Jim Harrison’s poetry. This is Day 8.

I’ve also linked this to Björn’s prompt at dVerse. He asked us to write using negation. I’m not sure if this is it. . .

There are have been two recent celebrity suicides—Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain—but we all know of more–people who are not so famous.










31 thoughts on “On the Edge of the Abyss

  1. You captured the mood at the edge of the abyss. It’s likely a place of more questions- not than useful answers.
    I love this bit “…like despair from wishes
    caught like fishes—unable to be freed…”
    So sad…. yet, well penned.

  2. Even before I read your note at the bottom I was thinking of the news today. This is an outstanding poem that addresses some of our greatest mysteries as humans.

  3. This blended with your poem about the stars shining, Merril. The message may be different but I felt the two held those two lives, art, fashion, philosophy and the chef who got lost in the wake of chasing unique cultures and self lost.

  4. Who can know what clouds have obscured the stars for those who succumb to the abyss? Always remember that they are there, beyond the clouds.
    Well written, Merril.

  5. What I see at the heart of your poem is expressed in this line: ” . . . wondering is this it?”

    Having it all, yet feeling a void, did Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain exclaim in despair, “Is this all there is?”

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