Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Poetry & Grief

61ยบ ~ the rain it does rain down, steady mostly, with sudden bursts of bucketfuls ~ that carpet of crunchy leaves on the lawn? now a sodden blanket

On Sunday, a friend of mine from college was by his mother's bedside as she breathed her last breath.  Over the past several years, I've kept up with her battle against cancer via Facebook updates and a few personal emails & letters along the way.  What I know is that this woman cherished her life and her family & friends and she was cherished in return.

Today, I need to post this Mary Oliver poem for my friend, G., and for all of us. It has helped me through so much, and it is one of the first poems that made me want to be a poet.

In Blackwater Woods

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything 
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able 
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

from American Primitive, 1983

from creativecommons.org

6 comments:

Nancy Devine said...

wow. this one kicked me in the gut....in a good way, that is.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Yes, in a good way. Thanks for stopping by.

Kathleen said...

Makes me cry. And breathe.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Me too, Kathleen, me too.

mariegauthier said...

Oh man. xo

Sandy Longhorn said...

Exactly, Marie.