Inspired By ‘After Death’

. . .

Thorn adorned vines wrapped around my wrists
Snaked their way across my limbs
Had made themselves home in my lungs
Crept slowly before piercing my heart

Each day they grew stronger and tougher
Cutting me open further and further
But you never seemed to notice
To even spare a second glance

Now I lay
The vines encasing my frail body
Small flowers blooming red with blood
My stiff fingertips tinged with blue

Now you look
‘Oh what a shame’, you sigh
‘How could this have happened?’
‘What a shame you had to die’

As I hear your scant tears hit the floor
Mine stay pooled beneath my eyelids
Sealed shut, dark, and cold
Able to shed tears no more

I weep because even in death you do not see
You do not lift the silk that drapes over my frame
To take in what pieces are left of me
To hold my hand or give one last embrace

‘Oh what a pity’, is all you say
And I lay

. . .

A collage of photographs as follows: a wooden coffin, bundles of rosemary, watter droplets against red fabric, someone's hand under a sheet, organge silk, ivy vines growing over a window, a bush of roses, a drawing of an anatomical heart, raindrops against glass, someone's eyes closed, and a hand reaching up through thorned branches.

. . .


Hello, all! Welcome to my second project! (Let’s just pretend that this isn’t three weeks late lol) For this project, I was inspired by the poem “After Death” by Christina Rossetti that we read about a month ago. It really stood out to me when I read it and I enjoyed hearing everyone talk about their perspectives on it during the following class too. I don’t know what it was but it inspired me and I decided to write my own poem of sorts that parallels similar themes. Then, just for the heck of it, I put together a moodboard collage to accompany it. The result is kinda dramatic and cheesy but I enjoyed writing it. I definitely feel like I had some touch with my inner 16-year-old with everything and channeled some of those old Tumblr aesthetic vibes.

If you read “After Death” followed by this poem, I think it is clear where the inspiration comes from. The first part of my poem, though, has a lot of talk about thorned vines which are a bit different. In Rossetti’s poem, she mentions a bit of greenery during the first stanza, like the lines “strewn with rushes, rosemary, and may” and “lattice ivy shadows”. I guess that is what made me think of vines, and then took me to whatever that metaphor is of how the person slowly died from being taken over by them. I’m don’t know what the vines represent specifically, and they can definitely be open for interpretation. Because for me, I was taking the imagery from a lot of different places and I’m sure someone who reads it can find something from their life that could fit. Either way, it was with that concept of vines that I searched for similar images for the collage. The finds were pictures of ivy vines, thorned branches, and even some sage to pay homage to the original. I later mention red flowers blooming too so I found a thorned rose bush that I thought matched, as well as an abstract anatomical heart that went with the line about the thorns piercing it.

Then there are other parts of my poem that parallel the original more obviously. Such as how in the original Rossetti writes that “I knew he wept”. It was with that that I wrote a stanza about crying, and used images of waterdrops against fabric, raindrops against glass, and closed tearful eyes to represent that part in the collage. Rossetti also has a stanza about how “he did not touch” or “raise the fold; that hid my face, or take my hand in his”, while the narrator lay dead. So I wrote in mine about how they don’t lift the silk that hides the other’s body, or how they don’t hold their hand or give a last embrace. In the collage, I added some pictures of silk and one hand peeking out from beneath a sheet, and a coffin in one corner to emphasize their death. Rosetti also mentions that the man in her poem pities the narrator, saying the line “poor child”. So I tied in some lines about how they kept saying it was such a shame and a pity.

And of course, there were the overall themes of death, and lack of acknowledgment or love while alive. While “After Death” seemed a bit more bittersweet, with Rosetti’s line, “very sweet it is; to know he still is warm though I am cold”, mine was mostly just bitter. I remember talking in class about how there is a longing to be seen or heard in the original, and some anger or blame in the death on the other person, so I took that and ran with it. The somber tone overall, the subject of death and having someone visit you after it; I used all that from the original. I’m not someone who writes poetry very often or very well, because I usually put a lot of pressure on myself to reach a certain standard and poetry, in general, intimidates the hell out of me. But for this one I just let the few concepts take me where they took me, as cheesy as it may have turned out, and I’m okay with the result. I couldn’t figure out a title though, so feel free to suggest one in the comments!

Work Cited:

Rossetti, Christina. “After Death by Christina Rossetti.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation,

Photo Credits – Frank Hill, Maria Orlova, Silviu Cozma, Uriel Mont, Nick Bondarev, Anete Luisa, Daria Shevtsova, Markus Spiske, Prashant Gautam, Mikhail Nilov, Warren Fox

4 thoughts on “Inspired By ‘After Death’

  1. This poem is so beautiful I love the cadence of it all.
    “Now I lay
    The vines encasing my frail body
    Small flowers blooming red with blood
    My stiff fingertips tinged with blue”
    This was my favorite line. It’s so truthful and raw, and it truly resembles “after death”. Great project!

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! That line was my favorite too because I had such a vivid picture in my mind, I’m glad it was able to come across well 🙂

  2. I love what you did with this project! The poem is amazing and does indeed incorporate most of the themes from “After Death” but I admire how you were able to put your own personal touch on it and make it very different but still somewhat paralleled. My project was inspired by “After Death” as well, but I made mine flash fiction instead of a poem. It’s pretty brave to write a poem inspired by another poem, and you did a great job!

    1. Thank you! I agree writing a poem inspired by another poem was kinda crazy, especially considering the original was so great, so I’m glad you enjoyed mine regardless 😀

Leave a Reply