Can You Hear The Howling?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

This poem speaks of my struggle to come to terms with the loss of my sister to cancer. The Beast chased her to India and devoured her there.

Last night I heard the howling again.

The coyote's yes, in their midnight sojourn for supper

and wild cacophony of yipes and shrieks,

but that's not the howling I speak of;

the howling that haunts me comes from a deep,

lonely place inside of me.

I try to hide from it but it finds me,

it always finds me.

I heard it coming for me a few days ago

when a friend boarded a plane for India

and headed toward that mysterious place.

My sister went to India

because she wanted to be healed,

but instead she died there.

I never saw her again.

When I last spoke to her

it was over a scratchy telephone line

in the middle of the night.

She sang to me a morphine induced aria

from an opera I had never heard,

but I wish now I could remember those words.

And there it is again, that howling.

Can you hear it?

Submitted: May 19, 2010

© Copyright 2021 E Cluff. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Graeme Montrose

Yes I can the howling of the soul within and the sounds of the aria flittering in the air a bittersweet beautiful song it is! A very sad but poignant poem!

Wed, May 19th, 2010 8:59am


You have a good ear, thanks for listening for the song.

Wed, May 19th, 2010 6:34am

Rose Bouquet

Sending wishes for healing of your pain across the miles...
Sometimes it's so hard to live among all the questions, the unfairness. Howl away, get it out so it does not get stuck! Your picture is beautiful!

Thu, May 20th, 2010 11:52am


Thank you Rose...the photo is my hand and my daughters, we were picking wild flowers while the boys ran around shooting each other with air-soft guns...ahhh, life. It's good!

Thu, May 20th, 2010 6:19am


E Cluff:

Tragically haunting and interesting. Well written and presented.

Gave it an "I Like It" vote. Will read and vote for your other postings. At times, without commenting.

Thank you for becoming a fan. Most appreciative.

Happy trails,

Ed Bradley.

Thu, May 20th, 2010 2:52pm


Thank you, I really appreciate your input, it mean a lot to me.

Thu, May 20th, 2010 10:25am

Icy Jake

Cool poem. Its very tragic how your sister died from cancer. (i'm sorry) Its a very nice poem with great use of words. So your sister really went to india?

Fri, May 21st, 2010 11:22am


Thanks Icy, I appreciate you taking the time to read my poem and give me your feedback. My sister really did go to India, she was very ambivalent regarding her diagnosis. Somedays she was ready to fight and be healed, other days ready to give up. Her going to India is a story all by itself, but it is not my story to tell. We lost touch with her, my brother-in-law and I, for several weeks. By the time we tracked her down she was in the hospital with only days to live. My brother-in-law was able to fly to India to be by her side and say his last goodbye. We all miss her very much, she was way too young to die. Thanks again for your comments, keep writing!

Fri, May 21st, 2010 4:41am

Vincey Delaney

wow, this is so wonderfully told!! I certainly enjoyed the whole heartfelt journey!! You are an awesome writer!!!! It's sad but a shiny mystery to it, love it , love it!! I salute you, one thrilling unforgettable piece!!

Sat, May 22nd, 2010 7:51am


Thank you so much for taking the time to read it, I know it's a bit're right about the mystery, but isn't that just life? The longer I live the more mysterious life seems. I appreciate your input so much.

Sat, May 22nd, 2010 6:56am

Rayburn Casey Hall

I have something in common with your poem I guess. I'm trying to think of a way to say goodbye in a poem but perhaps it isn't time for goodbye yet.

My wife had breast cancer 3 years ago. It came back as bone cancer last year. She now has liver cancer.

Sun, June 6th, 2010 11:57am


My heart goes out to you and your wife. You're right, it's too soon for goodbye. Hold tight as long as you took me four years after my sister's death to write that poem. My grief was just too personal to share, but writing helps. Your wife must be a very strong woman. Blessings to you both.

Sun, June 6th, 2010 11:23am


Really sweet stuff here. Everytime I almost stopped reading a new line would give it life. I quite like your style.

Sun, June 20th, 2010 5:34am


Thank you for you kind comments, I didn't know I had a style so that's good to know! I will stop by and read some of your work, too.

Sun, June 20th, 2010 3:49am

XtreMe me

omg!! i wnted 2 cry!!
really awsum words u have! you expressed ur emoti0ns..really gudwrk ! i cn only imagin wat ur going through my sis n i r really close..(u knw the saying best of friends worst of enimies? thats us!)
i cnt imagine losing her!
if u dont mind me askin wen did she pass on?

Fri, July 30th, 2010 11:56am


oh wow, wow, wow. that's honestly the exact words i said to myself when i finished reading this poem. i'm 51 and have lost my mother to pnumonia (never got to say goodbye) and my brother who choked on a peanut sandwich of all things, (i can still hear the howling)

Thu, April 7th, 2011 12:18am


Thank you Bruce, I'm sorry you hear the howling, too. I have found grief has a strange way of grabbing me when I least expect it. My mother passed away three months after my sister died, I didn't get to say goodbye to her either. The Howling didn't really begin as a poem, just a sleepless night and an empty place in my heart. I don't spend much time on Booksie anymore, but I will look for what you've written. Thank you again for taking the time to read, and write.

Thu, April 7th, 2011 4:42am


I imagine that was very emotional to write at the time.
Its very touching, very sad, but open. Im very sorry for your loss.

Fri, April 12th, 2013 5:07pm

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