R.M. Engelhardt "St. Poem: Occupy the Word" Reading at UAG Gallery, Albany, NY, January 16, 2012

The Half-Dead Poet Review: About Poetry, Love, & Grief


Forever &
For eternity I
Shall love thee

My child, all affection
Soft, beautiful &

I shall miss
You in this life
This world

And one-day soon
I shall
See you again
In another

Where there
Is no pain
No suffering

Only joy
Only love

Your soul
Was the most
Beautiful soul
The most loving
And human soul
We’ve ever met

Thank you
For loving us
& Being a part
Of our lives

Your spirit
Will always
Be with us

Your reflection
Will always be
A part of us



Photo of R.M. Engelhardt's cat Cordelia


There are no words to truly describe what I am feeling right now. And as a writer there are not enough words that can even begin to express my amount of pain & loss. Our girl, our cat, our darling Cordelia died in our arms just last week. She was a happy and very loving white Devon Rex that we had shared our lives with for over fourteen wonderful years who had multiple health issues such as a heart murmur, a tumor that grew through her entire body and of course, age. Needless to say my wife & I are shattered and still trying to cope with her loss. Our grief. The handwritten poem above that I wrote was buried with her along with her favorite toys, my St. Christopher medal, some catnip and all the things that made her our literal child. In fact, since I have no children of my own needless to say I still feel as if I’ve lost my child. She was a beautiful creature who we will never be able to replace. And worst of all? I’m angry, enraged because as her father there was nothing I could do to save her let alone protect her from that monster which takes us all in the end. The enemy.


“A famous author once said that you can’t go home again. But when you find that you are lost the only place to go is home. Remember the way, the stars will guide you. Your heart is her memory & your soul is your compass. And one-day you will find her again.”

~ R.M. Engelhardt

Cordelia died at home on our couch just the evening after my wife Kali’s birthday just the day before and I cannot even imagine, comprehend why this could even happen. Many years ago I had lost my Mother in a similar fashion. I was born upon her birthday and she died of cancer on our birthday. My 30th to be exact and I carry her memory with me to this day. A sadness which I carry with me forever. And that grief? That sadness never leaves or goes away. My Mother’s death now always a constant reminder that our time here on this planet is far too short and far too fragile. And when we look sometimes for some hope or God, pray? There are no answers to our questions. No reason or rhyme. Just pain. That’s all. That’s it. After Cordi passed on a Sunday evening I was completely broken. I couldn’t work the next day and have still and now have been a mess as I write this for several days since her death. Before she died my wife and I both kept vigil and refused to leave her side. We tried to keep her as comfortable as possible with her favorite blanket and a heating pad. She was calm and peaceful up to the very end. We both loved her very much but even after going to the vets there was nothing we could do except talk to her and pet her forehead. Tell her that we loved her. Then she was gone and we still are having a very hard time accepting her passing. Jules Verne once said that cats are pure spirits. Angels. And I agree. Cordelia was most certainly an angel who stayed near to us and comforted us daily. Again, she was our child. Our baby.

And now she is at peace.

So we as human beings at one point or another have suffered the terrible loss of a family member, parent, pet or close friend. And 2020 with Covid-19 was no exception. But we all channel our sorrow and our mourning, grief differently. Over the years I have found that poetry, writing has helped me cope with all these things as well as anger. It’s an outlet of emotion and self-expression and it is far better than taking out your rage by punching a brick wall. Yes. I’m angry at God. Yes. I’m angry with this thing called death which I cannot fight or see. And yes. I loved my little girl dearly and may never see her again and can never get her back. So I smoke cigarette after cigarette. I pace back and forth on my terrace drinking bourbon and trying to numb the pain drunk. I sometimes lose myself and cannot contain the sadness or years. But all the while? I find myself writing things, memories- thoughts down as I come apart and back together in the process of grieving. This is a part of who I am. You find yourself through writing. The light or the darkness is in you. So express it. It’s therapy for the self & for the soul.

And when there is nothing you can do?


When you think that your/the world is ending and that you are helpless?


And no matter what happens in your daily lives?

Write to get through it.

You’re a human being. You are allowed to be human. You’re allowed to find yourself and walk the path back to being well or finding your love and remembering those you love or weep for again.

Somehow, in some way I hope this all helps a few of you out there. I know how hard it is. I’ve lived there. Been there. I wish that I could take your pain away but I can’t.

But maybe poetry can.

RIP Cordelia.

We loved you & will
see you again one-day soon.