The Practice of Creativity

National Poetry Month: Featured Writer-Judith Newton

Posted on: April 12, 2013

I am happy to welcome She Writes buddy, Judith Newton to participate in my celebration of National Poetry Month.


Judith Newton

There’s None Can Die

 “There’s none can die in the arms of those who are wishing them sore to stay on earth.”  Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton




In the end when you lay almost in a coma,
your belly concave as the flanks of living skeletons
in newsreels long ago,
your pointed hips worn through
in purple bed sores
as if your skin had turned to rotting clothes.
Your eyes showed strips of white
like blinds drawn down in a house where I once lived.
I saw your mind withdraw,
as in a dream when I returned
and found the roof of my old room had fallen in.

And yet your hands were warm, and they were large hands still,
with long square fingers, hands to lay my life in–
now they lay in mine,
as if they were the life in you that still remained.
I held on to them, held on to you
straining not to hear the strangled rasping of your breath,
trying not to see how I was like that man
who kept his dying child from rest by “wishing” it,
by willing it to stay
and pulling it still closer to his breast.


Judith Newton offers this reflection: I’ve written many poems about my gay ex-husband’s death from AIDS. I also wrote a piece for the Huffington Post about our relationships:

Judith Newton is Professor Emerita of Women and Gender Studies at UC Davis.  Her memoir, Tasting Home: Coming of Age in the Kitchen,” was published by She Writes Press in March 2013, For more see


3 Responses to "National Poetry Month: Featured Writer-Judith Newton"

I’m so moved by Judith’s story and her strength. I admire her candor and writer’s ability to convey the complexity of feeling in situations that seem beyond words.

Kelly and Lynne, thanks so much for your good words.

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Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

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