An Excerpt From Veil: Love Poems from across the Threshold

An Excerpt From Veil: Love Poems from across the Threshold

silhouette of trees near body of water under sky with stars
Photo: Jackson Hendry

Beyond the Threshold — An Introduction

My father was my first teacher. And through his final breaths, he became a teacher for life.

My father was deeply skeptical but underwent a spiritual transformation a few weeks before his death that surprised me and moved me. He spoke for the first time in his life of angels and “green dimensions” and emanated a peace and grace that filled the room.

During his last weeks, so intrigued by what he saw and said, I transcribed his words, noticing shifts in his language as he moved between intelligible phrases and puzzling, unintelligible ones. His language had a new quality about it — rich in metaphor, filled with poetic constructions, and sprinkled with sheer nonsense — “My modality is broken.”

What I witnessed during my father’s dying would later become an inquiry of many years through The Final Words Project that I write about in my book Words at the Threshold. This investigation continues with my friend and colleague, Dr. Raymond Moody.

Yet, not only did my father leave behind his last words, as a kind of breadcrumb trail to research consciousness, but his words re-emerged after his death in the form of love poems for my mother.

One morning several weeks after he passed on, I heard his voice with crystal clarity. He asked me to pick up a pen and write a poem to my mother, his wife of 56 years. It began with “even in heaven no light shines as brightly as Susan…”

The poem came so easily, in a voice that was clearly not my own, and was an offering to the woman my father so deeply loved. For weeks and months after his passing, his words came through as poetry.

Now, six years after his death, his voice has grown silent. I decided to put together this volume so that his memory stays alive.

I hope that these excerpts from the Veil inspire you to listen for the voices of your beloveds singing in the stars and have the faith that they too will always hear you.

thunderstorm with dark clouds
Photo: Josep Castells

Sacred Storms #6 June 2012

In the small bead of rain

I see the bird’s face

graced in droplets of a grinning earth

wet are the rivers and shameless space

galaxies open beyond the banks

the bird is of paradise as all is in heaven,


and even beneath my feet, Hell is not knowing—sacred

worm driven from earth puddles everywhere

small catastrophes of joy

tears find their way home scorched weary earth

you were my magic carpet ride

seventy-seven years is just a blink among these stars

we transcend numbers to find our mirrors

in the snowdrifts and the icicles

the tempests we believe define us—


just sacred storms;

we endure; we endure—The holy are not chosen

they only recognize what is obvious

of these tapestries of days


we are tailors of our own earthly misfortunes,

of our own naked Returns–



worm's eye view of trees during night time
Photo: Ryan Hutton

No Star Dies #16

no flame is ever extinguished

recall the light of God

shattering into its million pieces

big bang cyclone of debris and illumination

once light always light

I am still as you can feel beside you

Guiding, incendiary joy

This is the only miracle

That this light is all there is —

all there was

we are rippling suns, flames transforming flames;

no light is expired into dark

no star dies


dawn rises


person standing near body of water during aurora northern sky
Photo: Luke Stackpoole

Hearing Heaven

Listen closely for the departed, for they will leave you

messages through electrical objects, the natural world,

synchronicities, lost and found objects, sudden shattering

of glass or picture frames, or well-timed songs on the radio

or computer.


Sometimes our beloveds will come in poems, paintings, or

as a presence, a knowing, a comfort, a warm touch, or a

pulsing. Sometimes they will appear in dreams, just as we

remembered them, or even while we are awake as



Listening is a simple act. Be witness to all the ways our

ancestors speak to us through our ears, our hearts, our

eyes, our daily lives. Listen so that heaven is heard.



Lisa Smartt is the author of the bestselling Words at the Threshold  (2017 New World Library) based on the findings of her Final Words Project (, which she established with Dr. Raymond Moody. She has authored several other books including Diet for a Broken Heart, Lessons in Lullabies, Veil: Love Poems from across the Threshold, and Cante Bardo. Lisa is also a book coach and delights in being a midwife to new ideas and authors. Find out more about her book coaching here:


  1. Kelly Hardyman

    I saw my Great.Uncle appear to me when asleep he was looking for my mother he looked young and happy in his peach coloured business shirt and his slicked back hair ,then I saw my second son hiding under an angels wing I was pregnant with him at the time and he was showing himself as a two year old on top of the twin towers One hour before I switched on the t.v and saw the plane crash into the side of building.

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