I will not go with the ferryman

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I will not go with the ferryman,

Into the endless night,

Nor touch the dust grey shores,

Where shades linger grieving.

I will not listen to the clinking of silver,

And the whispering of the dead,

Rattling the brown reeds, rustling the fallen leaves.

I will turn my back on the water-dripping oars,

On the oil black river,

The silence and the dull dark sky.

Before my eyes, the horizon glows,

With the promise of the rising sun,

And in the night, the sky glitters,

With the light of a million stars.

I turn my back on death, my face to the light,

And live.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

26 thoughts on “I will not go with the ferryman”

      1. I’ve never been convinced I would choose any of the imagined afterlives. But then again being a Buddhist bug would be pretty frustrating too! I’m afraid I feel that I would rather live the life I want to live and then just rot and feed the earth with my decaying corpse – although I am convinced I have a soul I do not feel arrogant enough to think it has any right to carry on sans corps!

  1. I agree with you and Osyth. I love the poem, too, and your lyrical refusal to get on the ferry and accept the darkness. It made me think of “Do Not Go Gentle in That Good Night,” only without so much violence. πŸ˜‰

    1. It’s maybe the same sort of idea, Merril. I’m flattered you thought of making the connection. Hades sounds like such a miserable dump you’d have to be mad to go there willingly πŸ™‚

  2. This poem reminds of the poems I loved to learn by heart when I was at school. I might learn this one to carry around with me for a while. I used to get the ferry from Twickenham to Ham, which was rowed by a ferrymanman, but we had to pay him 😊

  3. Mythology really digs into the depths of our hopes and fears. Just the title is very evocative. We can’t refuse death, but we can refuse to buy into the cultural presentation. (K)

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