Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Danny Wolf Mar 2019
My grief is a sickness towards everything around me. My grief is paralyzing resistance. My grief is the midwife to my anger. My grief is walking in a cloud of darkness. My grief is dressed in black. My grief is a slow poison leaking. My grief is a stone in my heart. My grief is tears buried so **** deep. My grief sounds like muffled screaming. My grief wants to scream. My grief wants love, to laugh, to be seen. My grief wants nothing but to exist without judgement. My grief is just trying to make its way out of me. My grief doesn’t want to be the enemy. My grief doesn’t want to make me cold. My grief wants to speak and tell you I’m sorry for how your grief was to you. My grief is lack of compassion because I’m hurting and feel like I must be silent. My grief is ancient. Universal. My grief plays out in dreams that co-star my guilt. My grief knows me inside and out. It has a place in every cell. My grief is held, cradled in the safe, warm arms of it’s mother. My grief has outgrown what I can hold. My grief lives within the soul of the universe, so I know you feel it too. My grief is the deep breaths. My grief is the fruit from a seed of love. My grief has roots. My grief is so sacred. My grief is you. It’s her. My grandmother. My grief is her last words. My grief is that I don’t feel I am living up to them. My grief misses your voice. And mine. My grief is for me, too. My grief is still grieving. My grief is knowing that it won’t ever stop.
Grief.
Grief.
Strange grief.
One moment it numbs you.
Holding you in denial.
And disbelief.
And the next.
It drowns you in
torrents of tears.
Like a fierce summer
rainstorm.
Where you can barely hold on.

Grief.
Grief.
Strange grief.
One moment you relish
in your new freedom.
Your new life.
And the next.
You miss them so much
that it feels like a slow death.

Grief.
Grief.
Strange grief.
All that you knew and loved.
Is not there anymore.
And in its place.
Is an empty void.
So hard to endure.
Sometimes you long for things
to be.
As they were before.
When you sit alone.
Pondering.
How life once was.
When your family was together.

Grief.
Grief.
Strange grief.
Oh, when will come relief?
Can time really heal this great wound?
Perhaps a little.
Yet the depth of the wound,
and the number of scars,
can only truly be healed.
By the Man of Sorrows.

Grief.
Grief.
Strange grief.
Will I ever feel whole and complete again?
When it feels like half of me has been
ripped away.
Leaving a gaping hole.

The Man of Sorrows.
Whispers to my soul.
"It is not irreparable."
I collapse in His arms.
And pour out my grief.
Grief.
Strange grief.
And He makes me whole.
Again.
"He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief....Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows....But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53: 3-5, Holy Bible.
Only Jesus Christ and His Love can heal a broken heart from within, and make us whole again.
scully Apr 18
My grief and I are well-acquainted.
Two strangers sharing the same body.
How else to explain grief but as a mirror?
The grief and my body.
The grief or my body,
It is my grief every time.
I torture it,
I lay in it,
I set it on fire.
A still burning star,
A still living thing,
A still life of my first night alone.
The room is still, too.
It does not breathe
It does not turn over, reach for my hand,
Cough, or flutter its eyelids open onto my face.
It is just a room with two bodies.
I hold my grief,
I do.
I hold it until it stops bleeding,
Until it too is a lifeless thing,
I hold it.
How many more times can I say I miss you
without flinching?
How do you write about what it should've been without sounding like an *******?
Without losing yourself in the fantasy?
Like a hymn,
I give my grief to God but it doesn't go anywhere.
This is where the poet in me stops breathing,
And it hurts,
It hurts,
It hurts to breathe.
Pulsating through my body like adrenaline,
Fueling these poems with empty traces of your name.
The grief opens my mouth and says your name.
Over and over,
Chanting pleas of worship.
How are you still standing?
The grief knocks me over,
Like mid-day waves against the rocks,
And now I am a hollow body of devotion,
I tend to my grief like a garden
On my hands and knees,
and watch it
Grow into weeds.
At least there is life here somewhere.
I lay in my grief.
Two bodies laying in the dirt.
How can you just stand there and watch me die?
Ella Alvarez Jun 2017
You.
You were my shelter in the middle of my storm,
my shoulder to cry on when all felt forlorn.
I drew my strength from your love's warmth
But all that's past and alive no more.

You.
You’re a math expression with no solution,
an ingredient in the recipe of my confusion.
To my desperate pleas, you answered vaguely;
I just wanted to know how you’ve been doing lately,
after our love, after our loss.
after experiences we never thought would become fleeting memories
of a bond we hoped would last for centuries,
after long, late nights up spent envisioning a future with you and me,
of writing a book's last chapter that would end happily.
after broken promises that broke both our hearts.
Although words may break my heart
and sticks and stones may break my bones,
betrayal by someone who felt like home
makes me question myself and crushes my soul.
I thought I was your best friend, your dream girl, your ride-or-die,
but after you met her, that no longer mattered and you bade me goodbye,
while gravity gained on the tears that began to stream from my eyes,
nearly a year and a half of love cut short by the devil in disguise.

They say grief is a linear five-stage process,
which involves denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance,
but grief over him for me was a convoluted, confusing hodgepodge that muddled up all those feelings together.

Grief was denial over him loving me and leaving me all at once.

Grief was rage triggered by this sudden betrayal and loss of trust, by making out his love to be a lie,
by all my effort put into loving him unconditionally going down the drain in the blink of an eye.

Grief was wrestling between giving him liberty to fool around
and bargaining to salvage and kindle the embers of the fire
that once burned between us that could be redeemed.

Grief was depression over being taking for granted, depression over promises never kept,
depression over words that I fell for that broke my heart in the end.

Grief was struggling to accept the aftermath of it all, no matter how huge a hole it left in my heart.

Grief was accepting his departure one second, then reminiscing about the love we used to share and bargaining for it back.

Grief was struggling to be happy again, then remembering how he broke my heart and feeling either vexed or sad or both emotions at once.

Grief was loving him in the wake of my loss.

But grief wasn’t going to sting as much as it would if I had attached my self-worth onto the relationship. I already knew what love was before I met him.

I've found love in being saved by the blood of my Savior,

I've found love in friends and family who’ve seen me at my worst and chose to stay,

I've found love in education and learning more about the world around me outside of the classroom,

I've found love in my craft,

I've found love in other people's craft,

I've found love in many places where he isn't.

I will be fine.

I’ve found that love is not selfish; love is giving.
Love meant putting the needs of others before its own.
If one can’t understand that,
then they weren’t ready to commit themselves to a serious relationship with anyone,
nor can they maintain healthy, cordial relationships with other people in their life.

I already knew what love was before I met him; I just don’t
understand why people have such a hard time reciprocating it.

I thought he was my red string of fate.

I guess my eyes simply weren’t adjusted correctly to the light.

-a.l.
(lit. I don't want to leave.)

inspired by my red string of fate, my first love.
it's hard when you're young
Sally A Bayan Sep 2014
Grief
Is never brief.
It doesn't go away.

It claws on the heart,
When thinking of loved ones gone.
We are in a Deep we wouldn't want to rise from,
We recall, for we still want to be with the ones we lost,
Even by grieving.
We may or may never grasp the reason
Why it happened.
It is hard to cope,
Mental, emotional and
Psychological pains are all present.
They are  blades of grass
On blazing hot
Summer days, when
They are too dry, overgrown.
We bleed, when they cut us
With their sharpened edges.

Grief is day and night.
When shining bright, slashing, piercing the chest,
Some moments,
it is calm as the night,
It does not hurt so
bad,
We get by like normal days,
Like the newly mowed grass,
When
they are just sprouting from the ground
They  brush our skin, touch our feet,
Almost unnoticed,
With very little  effect....

They say that time can heal sorrow,
Maybe so, but definitely, not by tomorrow...
Grief settles down momentarily,
But it rarely disappears completely...


Sally


Below is the original, my very personal version of GRIEF, my own experiences lie therein, but then, too much use of I and ME is sometimes, annoying,  I thought it best to use WE  in the version above...I would be lying if I said I did not like or prefer the original version, for it touches me more...


~~~~~~~~~~~

PERSONAL VERSION----SEPT. 4, 2014---9:03 AM

GRIEF

Grief
Is never brief.
It doesn't go away.

It claws on my heart,
When thinking of my loved ones gone.
I am in a Deep I wouldn't want to rise from,
I have realized,
I often recall, for I still
want to be with the ones I lost,
Even by grieving.
I may, or may never grasp the reason
Why it happened.
It is hard to cope,
Mental, emotional and
Psychological pains are all present.
They are  blades of grass
On blazing hot summer days, when
They are too dry, overgrown,
I bleed, when they cut me,
With their sharpened edges...

Grief is day and night...
When shining bright,
It slashes, pierces my chest.
But there are moments,
It is calm as the night,
It does not hurt me so bad,
Just like normal days, I get by, just sad.
Like the newly mowed grass,
When they are just sprouting from the ground
They  brush my skin, touch my feet,
Almost unnoticed,
With very little  effect.

They say that time can heal sorrow,
Maybe so, but definitely, not by tomorrow.
Grief settles down
momentarily,
But it rarely disappears completely.


Sally

Copyright 2014
Rosalia Rosario A, Bayan

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I weep for Adonais—he is dead!
O, weep for Adonais! though our tears
Thaw not the frost which binds so dear a head!
And thou, sad Hour, selected from all years
To mourn our loss, rouse thy obscure compeers,
And teach them thine own sorrow, say: “With me
Died Adonais; till the Future dares
Forget the Past, his fate and fame shall be
An echo and a light unto eternity!”

Where wert thou, mighty Mother, when he lay,
When thy Son lay, pierced by the shaft which flies
In darkness? where was lorn Urania
When Adonais died? With veiled eyes,
Mid listening Echoes, in her Paradise
She sate, while one, with soft enamoured breath,
Rekindled all the fading melodies
With which, like flowers that mock the corse beneath,
He had adorned and hid the coming bulk of death.

O, weep for Adonais—he is dead!
Wake, melancholy Mother, wake and weep!
Yet wherefore? Quench within their burning bed
Thy fiery tears, and let thy loud heart keep
Like his, a mute and uncomplaining sleep;
For he is gone, where all things wise and fair
Descend;—oh, dream not that the amorous Deep
Will yet restore him to the vital air;
Death feeds on his mute voice, and laughs at our despair.

Most musical of mourners, weep again!
Lament anew, Urania!—He died,
Who was the Sire of an immortal strain,
Blind, old, and lonely, when his country’s pride,
The priest, the slave, and the liberticide
Trampled and mocked with many a loathed rite
Of lust and blood; he went, unterrified,
Into the gulf of death; but his clear Sprite
Yet reigns o’er earth; the third among the sons of light.

Most musical of mourners, weep anew!
Not all to that bright station dared to climb;
And happier they their happiness who knew,
Whose tapers yet burn through that night of time
In which suns perished; others more sublime,
Struck by the envious wrath of man or god,
Have sunk, extinct in their refulgent prime;
And some yet live, treading the thorny road
Which leads, through toil and hate, to Fame’s serene abode.

But now, thy youngest, dearest one, has perished—
The nursling of thy widowhood, who grew,
Like a pale flower by some sad maiden cherished,
And fed with true-love tears, instead of dew;
Most musical of mourners, weep anew!
Thy extreme hope, the loveliest and the last,
The bloom, whose petals nipped before they blew
Died on the promise of the fruit, is waste;
The broken lily lies—the storm is overpast.

To that high Capital, where kingly Death
Keeps his pale court in beauty and decay,
He came; and bought, with price of purest breath,
A grave among the eternal.—Come away!
Haste, while the vault of blue Italian day
Is yet his fitting charnel-roof! while still
He lies, as if in dewy sleep he lay;
Awake him not! surely he takes his fill
Of deep and liquid rest, forgetful of all ill.

He will awake no more, oh, never more!—
Within the twilight chamber spreads apace
The shadow of white Death, and at the door
Invisible Corruption waits to trace
His extreme way to her dim dwelling-place;
The eternal Hunger sits, but pity and awe
Soothe her pale rage, nor dares she to deface
So fair a prey, till darkness, and the law
Of change, shall o’er his sleep the mortal curtain draw.

O, weep for Adonais!—The quick Dreams,
The passion-winged Ministers of thought,
Who were his flocks, whom near the living streams
Of his young spirit he fed, and whom he taught
The love which was its music, wander not,—
Wander no more, from kindling brain to brain,
But droop there, whence they sprung; and mourn their lot
Round the cold heart, where, after their sweet pain,
They ne’er will gather strength, or find a home again.

And one with trembling hands clasps his cold head,
And fans him with her moonlight wings, and cries,
“Our love, our hope, our sorrow, is not dead;
See, on the silken fringe of his faint eyes,
Like dew upon a sleeping flower, there lies
A tear some Dream has loosened from his brain.”
Lost Angel of a ruined Paradise!
She knew not ’twas her own; as with no stain
She faded, like a cloud which had outwept its rain.

One from a lucid urn of starry dew
Washed his light limbs as if embalming them;
Another clipped her profuse locks, and threw
The wreath upon him, like an anadem,
Which frozen tears instead of pearls begem;
Another in her wilful grief would break
Her bow and winged reeds, as if to stem
A greater loss with one which was more weak;
And dull the barbed fire against his frozen cheek.

Another Splendour on his mouth alit,
That mouth, whence it was wont to draw the breath
Which gave it strength to pierce the guarded wit,
And pass into the panting heart beneath
With lightning and with music: the damp death
Quenched its caress upon his icy lips;
And, as a dying meteor stains a wreath
Of moonlight vapour, which the cold night clips,
It flushed through his pale limbs, and passed to its eclipse.

And others came… Desires and Adorations,
Winged Persuasions and veiled Destinies,
Splendours, and Glooms, and glimmering Incarnations
Of hopes and fears, and twilight Phantasies;
And Sorrow, with her family of Sighs,
And Pleasure, blind with tears, led by the gleam
Of her own dying smile instead of eyes,
Came in slow pomp;—the moving pomp might seem
Like pageantry of mist on an autumnal stream.

All he had loved, and moulded into thought,
From shape, and hue, and odour, and sweet sound,
Lamented Adonais. Morning sought
Her eastern watch-tower, and her hair unbound,
Wet with the tears which should adorn the ground,
Dimmed the aereal eyes that kindle day;
Afar the melancholy thunder moaned,
Pale Ocean in unquiet slumber lay,
And the wild Winds flew round, sobbing in their dismay.

Lost Echo sits amid the voiceless mountains,
And feeds her grief with his remembered lay,
And will no more reply to winds or fountains,
Or amorous birds perched on the young green spray,
Or herdsman’s horn, or bell at closing day;
Since she can mimic not his lips, more dear
Than those for whose disdain she pined away
Into a shadow of all sounds:—a drear
Murmur, between their songs, is all the woodmen hear.

Grief made the young Spring wild, and she threw down
Her kindling buds, as if she Autumn were,
Or they dead leaves; since her delight is flown,
For whom should she have waked the sullen year?
To Phoebus was not Hyacinth so dear
Nor to himself Narcissus, as to both
Thou, Adonais: wan they stand and sere
Amid the faint companions of their youth,
With dew all turned to tears; odour, to sighing ruth.

Thy spirit’s sister, the lorn nightingale
Mourns not her mate with such melodious pain;
Not so the eagle, who like thee could scale
Heaven, and could nourish in the sun’s domain
Her mighty youth with morning, doth complain,
Soaring and screaming round her empty nest,
As Albion wails for thee: the curse of Cain
Light on his head who pierced thy innocent breast,
And scared the angel soul that was its earthly guest!

Ah, woe is me! Winter is come and gone,
But grief returns with the revolving year;
The airs and streams renew their joyous tone;
The ants, the bees, the swallows reappear;
Fresh leaves and flowers deck the dead Season’s bier;
The amorous birds now pair in every brake,
And build their mossy homes in field and brere;
And the green lizard, and the golden snake,
Like unimprisoned flames, out of their trance awake.

Through wood and stream and field and hill and Ocean
A quickening life from the Earth’s heart has burst
As it has ever done, with change and motion,
From the great morning of the world when first
God dawned on Chaos; in its stream immersed,
The lamps of Heaven flash with a softer light;
All baser things pant with life’s sacred thirst;
Diffuse themselves; and spend in love’s delight
The beauty and the joy of their renewed might.

The leprous corpse, touched by this spirit tender,
Exhales itself in flowers of gentle breath;
Like incarnations of the stars, when splendour
Is changed to fragrance, they illumine death
And mock the merry worm that wakes beneath;
Nought we know, dies. Shall that alone which knows
Be as a sword consumed before the sheath
By sightless lightning?—the intense atom glows
A moment, then is quenched in a most cold repose.

Alas! that all we loved of him should be,
But for our grief, as if it had not been,
And grief itself be mortal! Woe is me!
Whence are we, and why are we? of what scene
The actors or spectators? Great and mean
Meet massed in death, who lends what life must borrow.
As long as skies are blue, and fields are green,
Evening must usher night, night urge the morrow,
Month follow month with woe, and year wake year to sorrow.

He will awake no more, oh, never more!
“Wake thou,” cried Misery, “childless Mother, rise
Out of thy sleep, and slake, in thy heart’s core,
A wound more fierce than his with tears and sighs.”
And all the Dreams that watched Urania’s eyes,
And all the Echoes whom their sister’s song
Had held in holy silence, cried: “Arise!”
Swift as a Thought by the snake Memory stung,
From her ambrosial rest the fading Splendour sprung.

She rose like an autumnal Night, that springs
Our of the East, and follows wild and drear
The golden Day, which, on eternal wings,
Even as a ghost abandoning a bier,
Had left the Earth a corpse. Sorrow and fear
So struck, so roused, so rapt Urania;
So saddened round her like an atmosphere
Of stormy mist; so swept her on her way
Even to the mournful place where Adonais lay.

Our of her secret Paradise she sped,
Through camps and cities rough with stone, and steel,
And human hearts, which to her aery tread
Yielding not, wounded the invisible
Palms of her tender feet where’er they fell:
And barbed tongues, and thoughts more sharp than they,
Rent the soft Form they never could repel,
Whose sacred blood, like the young tears of May,
Paved with eternal flowers that undeserving way.

In the death-chamber for a moment Death,
Shamed by the presence of that living Might,
Blushed to annihilation, and the breath
Revisited those lips, and Life’s pale light
Flashed through those limbs, so late her dear delight.
“Leave me not wild and drear and comfortless,
As silent lightning leaves the starless night!
Leave me not!” cried Urania: her distress
Roused Death: Death rose and smiled, and met her vain caress.

“‘Stay yet awhile! speak to me once again;
Kiss me, so long but as a kiss may live;
And in my heartless breast and burning brain
That word, that kiss, shall all thoughts else survive,
With food of saddest memory kept alive,
Now thou art dead, as if it were a part
Of thee, my Adonais! I would give
All that I am to be as thou now art!
But I am chained to Time, and cannot thence depart!

“O gentle child, beautiful as thou wert,
Why didst thou leave the trodden paths of men
Too soon, and with weak hands though mighty heart
Dare the unpastured dragon in his den?
Defenceless as thou wert, oh, where was then
Wisdom the mirrored shield, or scorn the spear?
Or hadst thou waited the full cycle, when
Thy spirit should have filled its crescent sphere,
The monsters of life’s waste had fled from thee like deer.

“The herded wolves, bold only to pursue;
The obscene ravens, clamorous o’er the dead;
The vultures to the conqueror’s banner true
Who feed where Desolation first has fed,
And whose wings rain contagion;—how they fled,
When, like Apollo, from his golden bow
The Pythian of the age one arrow sped
And smiled!—The spoilers tempt no second blow,
They fawn on the proud feet that spurn them lying low.

“The sun comes forth, and many reptiles spawn;
He sets, and each ephemeral insect then
Is gathered into death without a dawn,
And the immortal stars awake again;
So is it in the world of living men:
A godlike mind soars forth, in its delight
Making earth bare and veiling heaven, and when
It sinks, the swarms that dimmed or shared its light
Leave to its kindred lamps the spirit’s awful night.”

Thus ceased she: and the mountain shepherds came,
Their garlands sere, their magic mantles rent;
The Pilgrim of Eternity, whose fame
Over his living head like Heaven is bent,
An early but enduring monument,
Came, veiling all the lightnings of his song
In sorrow; from her wilds Irene sent
The sweetest lyrist of her saddest wrong,
And Love taught Grief to fall like music from his tongue.

Midst others of less note, came one frail Form,
A phantom among men; companionless
As the last cloud of an expiring storm
Whose thunder is its knell; he, as I guess,
Had gazed on Nature’s naked loveliness,
Actaeon-like, and now he fled astray
With feeble steps o’er the world’s wilderness,
And his own thoughts, along that rugged way,
Pursued, like raging hounds, their father and their prey.

A pardlike Spirit beautiful and swift—
A Love in desolation masked;—a Power
Girt round with weakness;—it can scarce uplift
The weight of the superincumbent hour;
It is a dying lamp, a falling shower,
A breaking billow;—even whilst we speak
Is it not broken? On the withering flower
The killing sun smiles brightly: on a cheek
The life can burn in blood, even while the heart may break.

His head was bound with pansies overblown,
And faded violets, white, and pied, and blue;
And a light spear topped with a cypress cone,
Round whose rude shaft dark ivy-tresses grew
Yet dripping with the forest’s noonday dew,
Vibrated, as the ever-beating heart
Shook the weak hand that grasped it; of that crew
He came the last, neglected and apart;
A herd-abandoned deer struck by the hunter’s dart.

All stood aloof, and at his partial moan
Smiled through their tears; well knew that gentle band
Who in another’s fate now wept his own,
As in the accents of an unknown land
He sung new sorrow; sad Urania scanned
The Stranger’s mien, and murmured: “Who art thou?”
He answered not, but with a sudden hand
Made bare his branded and ensanguined brow,
Which was like Cain’s or Christ’s—oh! that it should be so!

What softer voice is hushed over the dead?
Athwart what brow is that dark mantle thrown?
What form leans sadly o’er the white death-bed,
In mockery of monumental stone,
The heavy heart heaving without a moan?
If it be He, who, gentlest of the wise,
Taught, soothed, loved, honoured the departed one,
Let me not vex, with inharmonious sighs,
The silence of that heart’s accepted sacrifice.

Our Adonais has drunk poison—oh!
What deaf and viperous murderer could crown
Life’s early cup with such a draught of woe?
The nameless worm would now itself disown:
It felt, yet could escape, the magic tone
Whose prelude held all envy, hate, and wrong,
But what was howling in one breast alone,
Silent with expectation of the song,
Whose master’s hand is cold, whose silver lyre unstrung.

Live thou, whose infamy is not thy fame!
Live! fear no heavier chastisement from me,
Thou noteless blot on a remembered name!
But be thyself, and know thyself to be!
And ever at thy season be thou free
To spill the venom when thy fangs o’erflow:
Remorse and Self-contempt shall cling to thee;
Hot Shame shall burn upon thy secret brow,
And like a beaten hound tremble thou shalt—as now.

Nor let us weep that our delight is fled
Far from these carrion kites that scream below;
He wakes or sleeps with the enduring dead;
Thou canst not soar where he is sitting now—
Dust to the dust! but the pure spirit shall flow
Back to the burning fountain whence it came,
A portion of the Eternal, which must glow
Through time and change, unquenchably the same,
Whilst thy cold embers choke the sordid hearth of shame.

Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep—
He hath awakened from the dream of life—
’Tis we, who lost in stormy visions, keep
With phantoms an unprofitable strife,
And in mad trance, strike with our spirit’s knife
Invulnerable nothings.—We decay
Like corpses in a charnel; fear and grief
Convulse us and consume us day by day,
And cold hopes swarm like worms within our living clay.

He has outsoared the shadow of our night;
Envy and calumny and hate and pain,
And that unrest which men miscall delight,
Can touch him not and torture not again;
From the contagion of the world’s slow stain
He is secure, and now can never mourn
A heart grown cold, a head grown grey in vain;
Nor, when the spirit’s self has ceased to burn,
With sparkless ashes load an unlamented urn.

He lives, he wakes—’tis Death is dead, not he;
Mourn not for Adonais.—Thou young Dawn,
Turn all thy dew to splendour, for from thee
The spirit thou lamentest is not gone;
Ye caverns and ye forests, cease to moan!
Cease, ye faint flowers and fountains, and thou Air
Which like a mourning veil
K Balachandran Apr 2014
There is grief in every page staring at him,
now it's the eyes of a destitute, a child
starving for a whole week, totally dazed,
as her family runs for their life through
dark alley ways, to escape the guns firing non-stop
fighting somebody's nonsensical war.

There is grief written in dark letters in every single page.
his eyes stumble and bite dust, refuse to move ahead.

In protest he closed the book abruptly,
sat bitterly brooding for a while,
then an urge made him delve deep
in to his muddled red lake, troubled psyche,
after a swim he hears a voice clearly say:
"How could you avoid pain, marking it separate,
and embrace all the rest that are  your favorites,
when you are the wound and the knife in karmic cycle?

Shedding tears, in no way should make you less,
isn't it the moment one becomes more humane
it sows the seeds of empathy, more than any time,

There is no doorway not darkened by the cloak of death
and not trodden by the firm foot of grief,
as the Buddha once said to a woman,
who wanted her beloved resurrected"

As he reads on, it becomes a race away from pain,
which reigns, all realms of human life;
he gets agitated, calls the author a deviant,
hankering after miseries, one would rather not set ones eyes ever.

"This dear reader, is the life we live in this planet,
a dance of black and white from start to finis,
none here has the right to dictate terms
in worlds real, imaginary and that of dreams,
accept grief as a lead player in this stage, on whom
the progression and movement of the story is pegged"
The author is beyond the pale of emotions, in total balance,
just a compassionate gazer he is, in to the crystal ball.

Yes, there is grief in every page, his painful heart couldn't delete,
even with a stubborn will, it remains, a dark pool of ink growing big,
it makes one sad and happy in turns, transforms  wiser at the end.
Grief in every page, it's the truth deeply imprinted about the  book of life
needs to learn to brace oneself every single step, that's how the story moves, as each act progresses, grief, poignant and cleansing, changes  hearts,
with its saltiness, makes the bread of life tasty throughout.
Grief       life  constant
Grief of losing someone you love
Heartbroken and hopelessly lost
Tears running like a river

Grief of losing a home
Empty and sad
Nowhere to go

Grief of being alone
Cold and lost
Lives in darkness

Grief is different
Grief is sad
But it could be turned around
It could change into happiness

Only if you let grief,
Rule your life.
Will it be there forever?

With help by love ones
They seem to be never there
But they are there
Will grief disappear?
Shannon Apr 2014
how many ways must i give you up?
grief is just a sport for lucid and the lame.
how many boughs till i break this falling-
to the mossy hill below?
where grief is just a shallow pool
with reflections of me beautifully crying
We ugly mourners live to talk.
selfish shallow pool of grief-
my yellow rainboots fall madly
upon my mirrored head.
i am just a puddle
and i wear it like a man because
sometimes...
grief is just a tailored suit
all dressed up in pawpaws best
neatly pressed.
the seams of your life sewn in a straight line.
it's easy to compartmentalize the times you weren't your greatest you.
in death you leave the lovely
behind
and take away the rest.
in life you leave the death
behind and take away the lovely such a wasted irony.
grief is valentine.
wont you be mine pinks and whites? sugared promises of time.
grief is a lovers candy heart. sentiments on marble etch the total of our time.
grief of mine, such weather beaten blanket. when did she become my lover?
cast aside your sadness.
grief is a friend of mine, grief is a friend of mine.

Sahn 4/22/2014
after experiencing a significant loss in my life, i became aware of the rich layers of grief. thank you for giving your time to read these poems.
Mikaila Dec 2012
Nobody but me has told me that I have no right to grieve the living. I think, in a way, death is easier to accept. You don't run into your dead loved ones on the street, and look away as if you never knew each other. Death carries its own pain, its own terrible hair tearing madness of grief, but I think perhaps it is born in us to know it. It is a natural grief, an unavoidable thing, that leaves no blame upon the one who left. That is one thing I value highly, that when people I love leave me for silence, it is not personal. Death is part of life, it is our final act. Everyone will see it, everyone will endure its mark, it is a natural pain. It has an excuse, a millennium of excuses, for there has never been a person who has not died. I can forgive that. Succumbing to something that no one before you or after you has or ever will resist successfully. That is understandable, it is forgivable, it doesn't even bear forgiving. When somebody dies, your love of them remains pure. However weighted by their absence it might be, it is not tainted or marred. It remains, perhaps sweeter and more present than before. You never have to try and forget it. I feel as if I have no right to grieve the living, when the dead are so much further gone. And yet somehow the living are harder to lose, for when you reach for them, they do not sit still in silence, they push away and turn their heads. How could it be that you would survive it when you asked in grief for one more moment with the one you loved, and from the grave, he said he'd rather not? I think perhaps it is a cruel blessing that death is so final of a loss. For there are other losses, with the same finality, made not of nature but of choices, of pride and fear and foolishness, losses that never make sense. Dying makes sense. And how cruel of me to say it, but it is what I believe and what I feel, that death is somehow more acceptable because it happens to everyone. Each death leaves a huge hole in your heart, in your life, and the grief is like nothing else there is, but the reason you can survive it is that you have the comfort of knowing that the person you lost does not make the choice each day to be gone from you. If you knew that, if you knew that somehow they could return and be what you needed from them, how could you ever heal? But these are past feelings. Passive feelings. I used to think on this far more often. I used to wonder why I felt as if someone had died. I used to feel very stupid for feeling such a deep grief over something so shallow. But as it settled in my being, I realized that for all the differences, death and loss are not so different in their presentation. They settle in the heart, they leave their scars and holes and little triggers of sadness that will never heal. I suppose I should thank god that I never started crying in the grocery store, like my mother did when her sister died. Or in school or on the street. I wanted to, though. That's the thing about death. It's so pure of a loss that nothing can hold back your tears. No pride quells them, no anger or resentment or self righteousness rears in you at their sudden appearance. Pure loss is a beautiful heart rending thing. Those tears in the store or on the sidewalk or home in bed each night, they have no guilt, no "should", no blame. They are simply an expression of love. To express love that way was, to me, forbidden. And so I never burst out in grief after it was done. I cannot say whether that made it harder. People say it probably did. But that is the whole thing- you cannot cry for the living. There is no pity, no proper loss, no excuse to be sad. You cannot grieve the living who have chosen to be dead to you. I respect the purity of true grief and loss. I could not respect my grief over this. It never got a proper expression. Never after it took over and I fought it off. So unnatural, so abhorrent was it to me, that I simply crushed it and went on. I don't know what that choice has done to me, or what it will do in the future. I know only that it was the only honorable thing to do. For you did not deserve my grief, and I did not deserve to grieve beside those who had truly lost someone. It would be wrong, it would be unfair, it would be a defacing of the purity of love that only death can reveal. You cannot mourn the living.
K Balachandran May 2016
Too fast a ride life is, to capture those stray tender notes,
that fall on your ears, eyes, nose or tongue, at times
the madness of sensory road rage, hits you and run
yet, you stop on your track, unawares,  shed a tear.
While passing through a curved bridge you look down
at the flow that just usual, to naked eyes, who knows?
the current may hide secrets that won't meet the eyes
but float ,  when it reaches further down at the sea.

As I walk along this street, at mornings and evenings,
at times when my eyes fall on her familiar face
I see grief swarming like a colony of bees around
a queen , on her face, when I smile,  she shows
no emotions, as if asking "Why should you be kind?"

Then one day, I see her, parking her car and line up
to get a bottle of whisky, as if it's urgent than ever
seeing me pass, she comes face to face .swarming
bees of grief for a while fly up, I see her ghostly grumpy face
and she pours  her grief out as if the world knows it,
"I can't sit holed up day and night,memories are a cloud
but too heavy to carry around,I fight with them day and night"
She held my hands and the street vanished we were in a dark room
enveloped by a smoke of grief that chokes, whoever comes in,
"I found an escape route, at last,look at the balloons!"
She ran to untie a bunch of huge helium balloons,
and through a dark window she soared up and vanished.

I still see her car parked in utter squalor, at the square,
near the martyr's column, a metaphor of grief for the world to see
while passing, eyes go up to see a bunch of helium balloons descend,
with the skeleton of  grief, of a woman lost  in  whisky haze.
Alexander Klein Oct 2013
I

In eras weird with old mythology,
As if asleep the fabled country lay:
Her wave-like hills and faerie forests dense,
Her thorny brambles budding curling claws,
And ivy circling all the woodsey way --
The far swan's cry came soft and woke them not.
Forlorn, that selfsame call upon the gates
Did break; those gates of Britain's long-lost keep.
She too slept fast, the weary weathered stones
Of fairest Caerleon. O pulsing stream,
Thou vein of life in woods a-slumber, Usk!
Alone are you in knowing castle's face,
From years of timeless burbling at her feet.
What tales are told by water over stone?
What lark or wren can sing of sadness come?
Aye, answers are the beach-wet sand, yet hark!
Rejoicings spilled, proud hails, from Caerleon:
They cheered the ****-frost's melting with the Spring;
The holy Gwyl Fair y Canhwyllau
Had come at last, in foliage of dawn.

Within, their goblets sailed, wassailed, and crashed
Like growling Jove, their boasts and toasts like wine --
They drank it spiced and over-strong. Indeed,
Some stretched exaggerations: 'twas Sir Bors,
That spotless sheet, who tried to contradict.
He quoted purifying texts and spurned
The wine that nature raised and crafted sweet.
Yet "Loosen up!" uproared the host to him.
"The time has come to celebrate," said Kay,
Beloved knight, step-brother to the King,
"Aloft thy wine, below thy gills! Drink! Laugh!
Your stomach is a falsehood-spewing fool,
It must be drowned for you to feel a lord.
I speak a sooth, you need wine's fleeting bliss!
Know thee that man's tomorrows bleed him dry:
A wade through death and depths as sure as pain
That shall tomorrow light your brow. Laugh! Drink!"
Bold cheering spread with Kay's advice, though yet
To no surprise Bors turned aside the drink,
Unblemished bore, so celebrates alone.
Weep not for him, for soon he'll find a cup
More suited to his strange of chaste and grace.
And none to waste: his share was drunk by all.

Engaged in feast Owain ap Urien,
Engaged in tale now Bedwyr and Kay,
And Lancelot made eyes at Gwenevere.
It was a feast of great success and joy
As fitting of the season's robust gleam,
Yet two there were with shallow-rooted smiles.
Prince Mordred one, though ever-somber he:
Accursed spawn with bone in place of heart
And dreaded incantations for his blood;
His brooding perched like crow on him. Alas:
The other joy-bled man had beard aflame,
A bear-skin drape, and crystal eyes, the Lord
He was of Caerleon and Mordred both.
'Twas not the gleam in lover's gaze that vexed
Though it was seen; he had no heart in him
To chain his Queen as if in dungeon steel,
For Arthur lived believing to be fair
Was paramount, to even paramour.
It wreaked its toll, yet caused small grief this day.
Not even serpent son gave cause to mourn
That greater was than missing nephew's spot
Among the feast. His chair was naked bare
Returned though he should be from faerie quest.
At Calan Gaeaf they expected him
When winter storms had racked their shoddy hall,
Yet since, the months had rolled to Gwyl Fair
The milder season come, but not his kin.
The image of his maiméd corpse did taunt
And haunt the agéd mind of Arthur, King,
His phantom nephew slain anon by knight
That of no flesh was made. In year that died
This green-mailed knight arrived a guest and called
Infernal challenge. Trick it seemed to them
And trick it was, for subsequent the blow,
This seaweed knight did lift his severed head
And from dead lips he cried "Well struck! Now come,
Fulfill me of my game. The year to come
Shall see thee in my home, and as agreed
My turn 'twil be to answer with my axe."

So rapt in recollecting, Arthur missed
The growing clamor that beset his hall.
His ******* cleared the grief from him with taunt,
To bring him into grief. "What say thee, Dad,"
Dripped venom from his mouth, "No love for us?
Your hail we called, but disapprove your eyes.
Methinks that far away thou seest a dream
That visits oft the elderly: a place
Thou knewst when in thy prime, with love
Now filled to burst. Yet fear us not, away!
To land of youth far more beloved than we
Whose happiness with thine own heart is twined."
"My fellow, soft!" the King began, distressed,
Yet Lancelot rose to his feet and spake
"Blackguard is he who mocks our Lord to face!
Thou palest hide, thou Mordred, sit thee down!
This sniveling craven knight should be replaced."
A sounding of the table met his speech,
Again was hailed his toast, and Arthur glad,
Though burdened to his breaking point, and sad.

"Blackguard is he who mocks our Lord to face,"
Had spake his bravest champion and friend
With no regard to Blackguard wrapped in stealth.
See how his roughspun fingers coil in hers
And how some sweetened whisper 'scapes her lips?
The beams of color-stainéd light slip down
To play upon their blissful sin almost
As if King Arthur's King approved on high.
Sovereignty is ruthless, Arthur thought,
Well-wishings of my God grow ever-faint.
I must believe in good though I am ill,
Just as I find my countrymen displeased
Though I did calculate my every breath
To see that it did stand with God's own will
To help my common people from their murk.
I fear I am not what I wished to be,
And now my only solace peaceful death.
If up to me, I'd wish it in my bed.

What horn's blare? Hark! King Arthur roused from thought.
Court gatekeeper Glewlwyd Gafaelfawr,
Dressed plain in brown, took down the horn from lips
And loud as elk called to the hall "Have cheer!
Sirs, drink another beer and wreath your brow
With springtime blooms, for lost knight fair is found!"
Old Arthur trusted not his feeble ears,
But came a hush and Lancelot confirmed:
"What **," he boomed, "our brother has returned!
'Tis grey Gawaine, aye, Gwalchmai! Drink his hail!"
The uproar was enourmous: "Gwalchmai! Cheers!"
Was like to wake the sleeping wilderness
That hung suspended in the myth and mist.

II

Astonishment had come like breaking wave
Upon the thirsty sands of monarch's face
So long consigned to reap the low-tide's grief.
When Arthur's ursine hand clenched round his cup
And hailed his nephew's presence with a roar
Long lost to hibernation's hoary spell,
The hearts that beat in armor under him
Did swell to find their lord with cheer at last;
The toast they drank so hearty as to give
Sweet Dionysus pause against excess.
Though only two there were who did not drink,
And one of these were Bors, a sadness fell
Once more as tangible as any wrong
That chose to haunt a hall. 'Twas Gwalchmai grey,
The conqueror now home from quest to rest
Who would not lift his eyes to meet the King's.

"Has cheer so fled from you? Your life remains!
What black has inked you in?" the King did ask,
And silence overtook the hall to hear.
How strongly then did Gwalchmai wish to leave,
To blend once more his form to root or branch
Or soaring river. Wind, the songbird's muse,
Had been his fast companion on the road,
For known to him were many things. He was,
They say, some god that stalked the minds of man
In young enchanted places of the world
Though all his magic helped him not at court:
His shyness was a leaf obscured by rain.
Yet even gods of silence know to speak
When words of pain encircle heavy hearts.
He let them fly, birds in the sky, he said
"I failed. My quest was long and arduous,
The seasons changed while I in heather lost,
The moon its phases shed as fen-frogs called,
I floated through the endless cloying mist
That flows, a ghostly sea wrapped round our isle.
The path had nearly drowned me when I found
The chapel green enough to spell my doom.
When entered I, methought "It cannot be!"
So kind and courteous a host met me
That would have been disgrace to call him green.
He feasted me, and warmed my wounded bones,
Yet I betrayed him in the end; I failed.
I stayed his guest, and friend, and swore to him
That for his hospitality I'd share
Each thing I won while underneath his roof.
And all was well -- I'd rest, he'd hunt -- until
His wife played hearts with me. I did refuse,
But by her final trick was tempted and --
So lost all knightly honor and renoun.
Her lusts I spurned three times, but on the third
She offered me that which my heart desired,
Instead of love she begged me take her boon:
A silken girdle sewn with charms, and green,
Deceit I should have seen. She said the spells
Would keep me safe from harm and spare my life...
When on my rugged journey all I'd feared
Was twisting face of death that loomed so near.
I could not help myself, it seemed so tame,
Yet when the time had come I could not share
That gift, or else expose the husband's wife.
Beneath my armor tied when left that place,
My secret wore me down upon the bog.
It seemed the mist grew thicker, wind grew swift,
I now know under spell was I, but then
It seemed some vengence coming to a head.
My tale grows long, and past the point am I.
The Green Knight and my host were one in fraud:
An airy insect's dream. His "wife," a witch,
Had formed him out of acrid moorland soil:
Homunculus to carry out her scheme.
The blow he owed me carried little force,
Though still this scratch is plain upon my nape.
And so you see my folly plain as oak:
For though I kept the life I feared to lose
My lie grows in me like a cancer bloom
That in the span of time shall **** me sure.
I failed; I'm gone; to revelry return."
The silence, vast again, gripped all the knights
And king too dry to cry, who drowned his heart.

III

"Is there some madness come to roost herein?
Thy folly is ridiculous," said Kay.
"I valued mine own life past honor's flame,
A sin of selfishness, and blame, and wrong.
What of the world, if all would act as such?"
A weeping noise he made, but choked it back
And turned to leave in shame, and might have done
Had not the stout Sir Kay gripped Gwalchmai's arm.
He raised it in the air and shouted thus:
"Percieve our stunning champion stands nigh!
Though of a frail ennobled heart, we know
Thou art absolved. This trinket given free
To aid in quest I wager was for thee.
And as for sacred broken vows, this man --
You said yourself -- was conjured from a bug.
You owe him no alleigance Gwalchmai, sit!
This serious you need to be for wine:
Come sit with brothers now! We drink to thee!"
"Dispel the failure all you can, it stays
As weighty on my brain. It was a sign
To signify the kind of soul I am,
To me it showed my grimy ills and plain
Did tell my shaping, shape, and shape-to-be."
King Arthur to this nephew spake: "My child,
Is there no antidote to questing's woes?
What has become of jousts and silver swords?"
The anguish in the old man's eyes so keen
To those who knew him. Gwalchmai did reply
"Your majesty, there's not a grief can ****
My bird-like love of questing through the trees,
For only questing can redeem my shape."
"Then let us have this quest!" cried Kay beside
Him at the table, deep in drink he swore.
"Come with me, brother-knight, to clear thy mood!
You do you wrong blaspheming at yourself."
The wine was quaffed by Gwalchmai, yet he said
"I first shall stay, I need to rest my ills."
"Your ills are that which keep you ill, good knight.
I bid you come and we shall quest as birds
Who savor springtime berries in the mist."
"I shall not go, I seek my quietude."
"In sunlight you and I must bask. Comply,
Or else I challenge you by burnished blade."
All eyes on Gwalchmai, under pressure cracked
Into a grin and downed his kykeon.
"In stubborness persisting, Kay, you've won,
A river such as I could not keep stead
Against a boulder. When shall we away?
When come the summer blossoms, fair and red?
Or else not til the saps have lost their leaves?
Departure yours to choose, my brother-knight."
Kay beat upon the table and their ears
When called triumphantly "This very day,
This very hour! To help those who need aid
On holy days shall surely fix your heart.
No time to wallow in the swamp that's gone,
We now away, to break our swords with day!"
"You mock me or you heard me not, Sir Kay,
I wish not to away, I wish to rest!"
The fairest Guenevere, like silver bells,
Chimed in "You must forgive your heart's despair,
Or emanations of its guilt will plague
Your mind. I have a lunar garden if
You wish to sit in soothing calm and think."
"My queen is holy," Gwalchmai spoke in grace,
But Kay had cut him off with "Hear her not!
She will ensorce your mind to not explore,
To sit and think and mold with lunacy;
Beneath the sun we'll tred. It's known on quests
I favor Bedwyr, 'tis true, yet you
My fairest Gwalchmai, keep your wits -- and arms --
Two things in need of we shall be.
I mean you no offense, dear Bedwyr,
But I and Gwalchmai share a severed soul
And shall succeed; two sides of selfsame coin.
So come my cousin grey, to right our wrongs
We must away, to break our swords and say
'My heart is glad I did not stay at home!'
Consume your drink! We go," he trumpet-called.
Thus Gwalchmai was convinced, and so was forced
To nod politely to his Queen and stand,
Declaring to the court "I shall away,
This gloomy mood is dried beneath the sun
Though dearly do I wish some lunar grace
To lose myself in mysteries anew.
To bear this flesh is weighty, yet I've found
The strain to be rewarding in its way.
Think nothing of my former woes, they've passed
Like summer storm or wisp of misty cloud."
The hall at large did drink his hail, and then
Did thrice more drink for quest to which they went.
And Mordred scowled and drank the foulest wine
For his monsoon and fog would last his life.

So summoned then Glewlwyd Gafaelfawr
To hearken unto birds, as was his gift.
He said to all, "I shall now call my friends
And see what worthy tales of quests they bring!"
"There may be naught on Gwyl Fair," said Bors,
"A holy day, all wove with peace. Nor Gods
Nor men would stir their strife this day of days."
"We all shall see," the gatekeeper replied.
Beside his King upon the dais came
And played a serenade upon his horn
That rang throughout the keep and lands beyond.
A time did pass with no response recieved --
Slain silent was the raptness of the court --
But then through open pain in stainéd glass
A thrush did bob and weave in melody,
On finger of the Queen he briefly perched
Before he flit away upon the air.
His song so sweet, but then - what fright! No more!
A hawk had entered, just the same, and swooped,
And now the thrush was silent in his claws.
The cabinet of augers all took note
And sketched their calculations into books,
Though none, in this, more wise than Gafaelfawr
To whom the hawk said "Hail, you man of rank
Who speaks the tongue of wing-in-air. Now hark!
'Twas not in hunger slew this thrush, but fear
That what I have to tell might go unheard.
My family, we roost near Cornwall's sea
And late, the noises off the coast grew strange
As if some evil kraken raged at love.
My chicks; my wife and I; we're simple hawks.
We eat and some of us are eaten, yet
Beware the thing that slouched from out the waves.
His shape is something like a boar, but huge,
He dwarfs his kin, and hill, and oak,
This hall is large, yet he'd be stuck inside.
He does not eat what he has killed, instead
He smears the bloodied flesh on stones and trees,
What man could face a fear that bears this face?
If you could hear the rutting squeals he makes!
I swear this sooth by wind and waving plumes:
You men who craft with metal, hark!
Destroy the beast!" And then he flew away
Still calling after him "Destroy the beast!"

The court at large had heard the warbling hawk
But did not know the tongue, so only watched
Glewlwyd's unease upon his face
Until with stiff and rasping voice relayed
The content of the predatory news.
Unease began to show among the knights,
For many there recalled a beast so shaped
And all the blood and guile he took to drown
The first time. Arthur, grim, forbade Sir Kay
And Gwalchmai face these perils by themselves,
But recommended regiment of steel
To bolster ranks against the fearsome boar.
"I know this foe from days of old," he said,
His years of rule etched rough across his face,
"And so do most of you, though many gone
And this monstrosity not even slain."
But Gwalchmai said "'Twas hard indeed to win
Those relics that he bore. Remember I
That Trwyth was the name he chose, and we
Shall best him fair. Though not for trinkets now,
But with the zeal of mother guarding young:
This foe, Twrch Trwyth shall not raze the land
Nor wage a war against some peaceful ilk
While rounded table can beco
Melissa Koe Nov 2014
The wind blew strongly. Out at sea, the fisherman’s small boat swayed in rhythm with the waves. He stood up and adjusted the sail, in case the wind blew it off. After so many years of earning a living as a fisherman, he has made peace with the sea – he no longer feels sea sick. Oh, but he feels a certain kind of sickness…… a different kind. His eyes filled with tears as he shifted his gaze from his worn out canvas sails to the horizon where the sun is just about to set. The sky above him is slightly orange – but is dulled by the gray of the storm clouds shifting in.

                He thanked the gods for the sky above and the sea below him, albeit the upcoming storm. He has recently lost his daughter, Fatema to the sea. His grief is still fresh, it still cuts deep. He lost his daughter to the tsunami that destroyed the fishing village. He has lost all his belongings – but nothing belonging to him will ever be as valuable as Fatema. Yes, grief makes him sick – and he has a good reason for that. When they found her, her body was trapped between five pieces of driftwood – it was a gruesome sight. How ironic is it? The arms of Neptune have always supported him throughout his life – making sure he earned a living and yet, the same menacing arms betrayed him and took Fatema away.

                For that, he was angry with the gods. How could they take away a life as easily as they gave it? He snapped out of his thoughts and raised the back of his hand to his eyes to wipe away the tears. His musings aren’t going to help. He has to begin sailing to find a shelter from the storm that is rolling in or else he won’t make it through the night. For the past week or so, he has been living in his small boat, making sure his stomach is full by fishing for small fish and crustaceans. He fixed his sail and began to sail in the direction of a small cove he is familiar with which will provide adequate shelter for tonight.

                As he sailed, he started to feel lonely. He reached his hand into his pocket and pulled out a locket with Fatema’s picture in it. He brought it to his face and gently kissed it, gripping it in his hand. As he sailed nearer the cove, moonlight began to illuminate the prow of his boat. When he is near enough to the shore, he skillfully measured the depth with sight alone, and lowered the anchor to make sure his boat remained in that position till dawn.
                As he descended from his boat, he waded through the water. Both of his arms are full of dried driftwood for him to start a fire tonight. He heard the distant sound of crickets and an owl. He walked toward the beach, heading towards a small cave and entered it. He checked the ground to make sure it was dry before he started a fire using the driftwood. The crackling of fire accompanied by the distant rumbling of thunder brought comfort to his ears. The flames that rose and vanished combined with the smell of the smoke left a silage – a lingering presence that soothed him. They reminded him of how he used to read stories of beasts and princesses alike to Fatema when she was a young girl until she fell asleep in his arms. Those days are long gone now. He stood up and headed back to his boat to set up the fishing nets for his meal later on tonight. He fixed the nets close to the shore before walking back to the cave to the warmth of the fire. He did not know what to do. He was supposed to sail back to the mainland by next week but the storm has been slowing him down. He listened to the rhythm of the waves crashing against his boat and drifted off to sleep……

                He opened his eyes. He did not hear any crackling from the fire nor feel the warmth from it. When he looked down, the fire has been extinguished. The moon was so high and bright now he only needed the fire for warmth. Just as he was about to stand up to fetch more wood from the boat, he heard a sound. Yes, there was a slight drizzle but it wasn’t the sound of rain hitting the sand. It was a soft, melodious voice which was….singing.
“May you sail fair to the far fields of fortune,
with diamonds and pearls at your head and your feet
and may you need never to banish misfortune,
may you find kindness in all that you meet.”

                It was the lullaby he sang to Fatema as a young girl. He began to feel excited and ignored the voice at the back of his head telling him he was insane. He looked out and saw her – Fatema, sitting on a rock. He called out to her and she looked back at him, saying something he has been yearning to hear from her – “Papa.” He was speechless and could not believe his eyes. She donned the black dress they found her in, but she barely had any scratches on her; she did not even look wounded. Instead of walking towards him, she flashed her sweetest smile and started walking towards the beach. She beckoned for him to follow her. He ran towards her, constantly calling out to her but she did not reply. She held out her hand for him to hold, and he did.

                One more step and she will reach the water now. “Fatema, what are you doing?” “Papa, just come along with me.” With those few words…..he felt like he was in a trance. There were so many questions running through the back of his mind but he ignored all of them. Was he hallucinating? He turned to his left as they waded nearer to the sea – the fishing net that he placed near his boat had a small crab in it. The moonlight that shone onto the sea reflected on her beautiful features – her curly, black hair and light brown eyes. With every step he took, he felt more nervous, confused, and excited at the same time.

                The water level is up to their chest now.  On the second day after Fatema died, when he was very much in pain, he made an analogy about grief by comparing it to the nearest thing to him. Grief is like the sea. It drowns you while everyone else is swimming. He felt more familiar towards it….. it did not seem as foreign to him anymore. If so, he is “literally” being consumed by grief as they waded deeper into the sea. He did not mind though – this is the story of a man who desperately wants his daughter back. He did not care if he was hallucinating or if she was a ghost. He does not know where she is taking him, but he wants to follow his daughter to who-knows-where; for to him, that is paradise, be it in the depths of the sea or the height of the skies.

                He can no longer see the moon.
An essay I wrote for English exam.
one hour write-up.
Kendra R Apr 2013
Grief is not a song you wrote once
Nor the padded, downturned corners of your face.

Grief lives below your footsteps
A black hole with mass
in the shape of a giant ape.
Each of your labored steps begets its sweeping swing below.
Your soles are its vines.

Between each footstep, as it moves with you
you think the weight of it might be gone.
Grief delights in this deception
as it seizes up-down once more,
reaching into the core of you
and pulling it to the bottom of your shoes.
Some part of you, torn away, lands with a leaden thunk
and cramps the delicate inner muscles of your feet.
Maybe it’s the soul
or more likely
it’s some forgotten vestigial *****
which only emerges through its own absence.

Now hollow in your middle
the muscles surrounding contract in confusion
thinking, knowing, that the empty space is wrong
but not quite able to recall
what had been there in the first place.
and so you think your heart is seized by grief,
when really, you are confused, you are feeling only
nothing.

as Grief lives beneath the ground
as Grief swings beneath your feet.
793

Grief is a Mouse—
And chooses Wainscot in the Breast
For His Shy House—
And baffles quest—

Grief is a Thief—quick startled—
****** His Ear—report to hear
Of that Vast Dark—
That swept His Being—back—

Grief is a Juggler—boldest at the Play—
Lest if He flinch—the eye that way
Pounce on His Bruises—One—say—or Three—
Grief is a Gourmand—spare His luxury—

Best Grief is Tongueless—before He’ll tell—
Burn Him in the Public Square—
His Ashes—will
Possibly—if they refuse—How then know—
Since a Rack couldn’t coax a syllable—now.
Samantha Oct 2017
Grief is not art
Not a statement
It doesn’t pile like ground shattering bricks
It is a trickling of small moments gradually building a wall
To block out the sun on the other side
Grief is the darkness when you feel most alone
Because it knows you are weak
It preys on on you like the small graze of a finger
So light you barely notice until the whole hand clamps down on your arm and you’re losing blood
Grief is the man who pours one cup of tea instead of two
Grief is the dress you picked out for her being the last you’ll ever see her wear
Grief is the tears hidden behind hands at the kitchen table
Grief is shopping for three black dresses because she wouldn’t like the first
Grief is the collection of pictures on the wall
Grief is anger in his shaking fists
Grief is knowing she’s not there
But you don’t feel it rush at you all at once
It’s a slow build of boulders on your shoulder
Until you’re crying alone in your room wishing you could see them once more
Holy hell I miss my grandma
Grief leaves a mark
Invisible on the outside but so real on the inside
They'll ask why did he commit suicide, if he smiled on the outside
They'll see you burnt your hand on the stove, but never know your mother died
They'll ask how you got that cut on your head, but never know when to ask are you "alright?"

When Grief leaves a mark
With long sleeves your scars are easy to hide, but your mind is covered by your flesh. Not so easy to bribe

Sometimes people cut themselves to reveal their marks
Sometimes people cry to heal their scars
Sometimes people express themselves to share their sanity
Yet sometimes people hold their breathe to distract themselves from their reality

When grief leaves a mark
A group of doctors can reach an objective conclusion, but a group of psychologist will leave a subjective confusion

Doctors prescribe medicine that can heal broken wounds, but why can't someone's depression be solved so soon?

When grief leaves a mark
A body will leaves scars and bruises, but your mind leaves memories with a Double-edged sword.
You can taste the bitterness again
You can feel the cold air shiver you again
You can hear the silence consume your soul again
You can smell the dark smell of death again
And you see your friends again

When grief leaves a mark
You'll never understand when it will end
At least with physical wounds you know the plan
Temporary or permanent is never answered
Is this a cold or is this a cancer?

When grief leaves a mark we know we can cope
The less knowledge we have makes us lean on our hope
Hello, This is just getting some ideas out, maybe as a rough draft. There are a lot of themes that I may split up.
Graff1980 Oct 2018
Grief sees grief,

sorrow spoken
in tear drops
and swollen
red eyes.

Grief speaks to grief,

in holding hands,
hugs and
heartfelt conversations.

Grief cannot cure grief,

or see sorrows removed,
flesh unbruised,
and the abused
reborn.

Grief can ease grief,

tension softened
in the presence
of those
who share the essence
of similar
experiences.
Kayley Slack May 2018
My body somehow knows
The grief tomorrow holds.
I ache and throb
But I cannot sob;
The urge to cry
Stings my eyes.
My feet drag heavily
In the depths of this valley.
Every year without fail
I remind myself I am too frail.
"You're strong without the numbers,"
Yet I was too weak to pull you from your slumber.
Each March 22nd
Feels just like the 1st end,
When your heart stopped beating
And mine started bleeding.
I'd skip this whole day
But I'd miss the chance to say:
I miss you, lovely little hurricane.
It's all I can do to keep sane.
The smell of mint
Hurts just a hint.
The skinny jeans and hair bows
I could never disown.
I wear your effect  
On my forearm *****.
The pain of loss is akin
To etching you into my skin.
My hands shake with cold,
Though not as cold as a headstone.
Oh, how my body knows
The grief tomorrow holds.
In Loving Memory of Kelcy Golling.
07/02/1999 - 03/22/2014
Denise Feb 2014
Since the age of 10 I've thought that grieving is a weird thing, maybe it’s because no one told me how to do it, and you’d think they would have
because, people get cancer, give up, have heart attacks, are murdered and drown. People die and people are dying, and it’s always been hard
once I expected it and six times I didn’t, and seven times I prayed, but I don’t know if I believe in anything that I can’t see, that’s why I’m bad at chemistry, why praying is still something I do sometimes
because entropy increases and we always lose, loving people makes me vulnerable, I realized when grief was punching me in the kidneys that everything is entropic, I didn't know how to let the chaos out, grief is an emotion that lived in my soul and grieving is a process that I didn’t know the ideal outcome of
once I googled it and I read the 5 steps. I thought I’d maybe done the last two but those were someone elses steps and mine were different
I learned how to knit so I could knit my soul back together. I don’t know if I believe in souls but something was in pieces. I painted my toenails the colors of mermaids, but I was so scared of water, and I still am but I swim anyway. I devoted parts of my heart to drawers full of glitter and goat cheese and long skirts.
there was a point when the grief was an itch in that thing that was once completely shattered, those pieces never seemed to fit back together again quite right. I realized that sometimes rips are too big to sew back together sometimes you need patches. There was a time when my patches were food and swings and books, things that I thought were enough because they couldn't leave me, but that’s like patching rain gear with suede it lets all the salt water through and everything gets colder. There are better materials in the world for patches, literally and metaphorically
literally that metaphor is inadequate, because in that metaphor people are what became patches on my rips, but the people who are gone can't be patched over with more people, there's always going to be holes there.
people are quilt squares in the quilt that I need to wrap myself in to make everything seem okay, the quilt is ripped and the tatters are ugly in a way that only once beautiful things can be, but more squares are sewn on every time I love someone. Maybe it's enough to keep me warm  
the threads are my heart strings, all of them, because all of my heart is for loving people and loving the world. later I figured out that I had to love myself too because the only way I could get through the feelings of loss and the feeling of being lost was to love everything more than I thought I could. To hug more, cuddle more, express more
and that’s hard because it still makes me vulnerable and the quilt keeps ripping. I keep sewing because, maybe the ideal outcome of grief is love, and if it isn’t
it is what grief has taught me
I posted a version of this poem on here a couple of days ago but then I added a lot of stuff to it so I decided to delete the earlier version and post this one instead. The formatting has changed because it's meant to be a spoken word piece for an open mic that I'm going to in a couple of weeks.
Alyssa Underwood May 2018
"The Struggle for Love"
"The Longing for Home"
So desperate to prove
That our hearts aren't alone

While death looms wherewith
To make dust of our flesh
We seek in a myth
Our souls to enmesh

With a hero of hope
A rescuing source
To widen our scope
And give pith to our course

An unshakable tie
An attachment at core
Which might silence the cry
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

But it's not our mere lack
Which causes most dread
It's the earth-shattering fact
That our spirits are dead

Cut off from their Source
In a black alienation
Humanity's curse
For its rank ins'bordination

We just want our own way
And to write our own story
So we plunge on astray
To seek our own glory

To play artist or muse
Or idol or chief
Any self-styled ruse
To assuage us of grief

Any measure to show
A lasting signif'cance
So that someone would know
Our unique magnif'cence

For our beauty's been marred
And we crave a redemption
Of souls twisted and scarred
By fulfillment's exemption

But, alas, we will find
That search hard as we may
There's not one of our kind
Who can carry the tray

Upon which the weight
Of our souls has been laid
For who can e'er tolerate
Its gross debts unpaid?

Such suff'cating mass
Of defects and ills
Pressed 'gainst delicate glass
Of egos and wills

Still more ghastly to bear
Is devotion unbound
For with millstone to wear
Its master is drowned

'Neath a sea of foul yeast
And becomes the enslaved
To a hungering beast
To a worship depraved

For the heart is a tiger
And must have its fill
So it raises a man higher
With a kiss before the ****

Not intentionally, of course,
Does it slaughter its idol
But of hurricane force
Is this longing so vital

And as pedestal turns
So quickly to altar
Our wounded pride burns
When our gods and alms falter

And the fire of its rage
Turns upon its obsession
Tiger breaks out of cage
To reclaim self-possession

It bites and it tears
What it once so adored
And pride no longer cares
If it kills its false lord

But upon such demise
The soul screams in terror
For it's broken its prize
And can't take back its error

It begs and it pleads
To restore what's been lost
But at end knows it needs
To consider the cost

Of the damage untold
It has left in the wake
For hearts can't be controlled
With a gush or a shake

No, men's hearts are like bombs
Which so easily explode
Once the pin is removed
All past wrongs will re-load

So the prey becomes hunter
When the tiger attacks
For he does not want her
To see what he lacks

As he, too, had put
Her up in wrong place
But now steps his foot
Upon her shamed face

To now pulverize
As his own heart's been crushed
To blind out her eyes
And to see her lips hushed

For with words idly spoken
She'd stabbed at his soul
And had left his pride broken
By her judgments so cold

She had not meant to harm
Knew not e'en that he heard
But one cannot disarm
A thought put to word

Worse than not knowing this
She no longer knew him
And her once imagined bliss
Proved a nullified whim

Oh, what games and delusions
We play and we build
Upon empty illusions
And dreams unfulfilled

Yet strangely it's when
Our worst fears come true
We can finally transcend
All those old tales we grew

Out of ego and void
Out of sorrow and pain
When our nerves felt annoyed
And our hearts felt too vain

'Cause when ego is puffed
It is primed, too, to pop
And with pinprick is snuffed
Like a pest-blighted crop

So imagine much more
When a venom's injected
Right into its core
And its heart is rejected

But can you also not see
How it needs such a burst
To begin to get free
From its self-absorbed curse?

Except now feels the matter
Of our soul's isolation
Fiercer still with the shatter
Of our pet consolation

So we wait and we wonder
If we've missed the true meaning
Of the frightening thunder
In our heart's constant screaming

Whether homesick or lost
Whether lonely or grieved
Locked in bleak Winter's frost
We find little reprieve

Yet we know we've been made
For the glory of Spring
Some card's still to be played
Some grand song still to sing

Inexpressible yearning
For some secret we know
But can't speak for the burning
Repercussions of woe

Not some mere melancholy
Nor nostalgic forlorn
Not the musings of folly
But a sense that we're torn

From primordial root
And from headwaters fresh
Yet much deeper to boot
From our spiritual breath

'Tis an ache not for wares,
Appreciation or fame
But a fight just for air
Against strangling shame

For we're naked, we know
And with all we devise
Our most flawed parts still show
To a pure set of eyes

Like we're walking around
With no covering intact
But thin hospital gown
With wide split up the back

So we hide our true face
Aim to be what we're not
Work our blots to erase
Lest our schemes should be caught

Be 't by friend or by foe
We dare not risk the pain
Of humiliation's blow
On top of our stain

But instead of relief
Anguish grows louder till
This life's loneliest grief
Paralyzes the will

And last hope all but dies
On doubt's bed of despair
While embittered heart cries
That its lot's too unfair

Yet on outside we play
Through our unconscious mind
Man's collective charade
That everything's fine

Like some pact we'd all sworn
To uphold and obey
To protect from the scorn
Of society's sway

If we run with the flow
'Stead of strive 'gainst the tide
We might make enough show
To salvage our pride

We forget that conceit
Is what caused all the mess
Through a serpent's deceit
And a couple's wrong guess

'Twas they first tasted shame
And then hid in a garden
Sewing fig leaves as claim
To secure their own pardon

Yet in horror they knew
They had squandered the Prize
And must flee from the view
Of a pure set of eyes

Now same state of awry
Runs through each of their seed
Inborn and borne by
Like the thorniest ****

Whose nettles pierce deep
And infect every part
While roots tangle and sweep
Through the mind and the heart

It mocks what we've lost
Torments every dim hope
To constrict and accost
Like a noose-tightening rope

Still, hope won't be decayed
Smold'ring fires yet burn
Sparking hints that we're made
For bright Eden's return

This redemption we crave
Is no phantom's false plea
But as crestfallen wave
Hides itself in the sea

It's been veiled in plain sight
Big as all of our stories
Deep as mankind's full plight
And as high as its glories

Cloaked in every ambition
That we have to get in
To some exclusive coalition
For its favors to win

Lurks a bleeding predilection
Frustrated from birth
A desire for election
To bestow on us worth

Lured by scent of a promise
To be chosen and known
Like the warmth of a mom's kiss
Given only to her own

We search tree after tree
For sweet intimacy's nectar
From a fruit that will be
Our secret connecter

To hope's nourishing breast
To life's honey from comb
To an undying rest
To a straight way toward home

One to wipe away tears
And allay deepest doubt
Which proceeds from worst fears
Of our being locked out

Of a garden again
Cast from pure tree of life
Dim remembrance of when
Mankind first entered strife

All our conflicts, comp'tition,
Confusion and blame
Find first cause in perdition
That's invaded our frame

Like the foulest disease
The most cankerous rot
Grown by monstrous degrees
Hatched by Lucifer's plot

This story's no ****'s attack
Nor archaic folklore
But the earth-shattering fact
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

And it's not our mere lack
which causes most dread
But the earth-shattering fact
That our spirits are dead

Cut off from their Source
In a black alienation
Humanity's curse
For it's rank ins'bordination


And yet...


This is also the story
Of how those same eyes
The Possessor of Glory
Looked with love and heart cries

On the crown of creation
His reflection of Self
Made His own treasured nation
The heirs of His wealth

Now broken and lost
All banished from Garden
And He knew the full cost
To grant them His pardon

Had known long before
He had e'er even made
That first man of yore
Yet handcrafts anyway

For His love is so strong
And He wanted to share
His intimacy with a throng
His own children to bear

So with souls in convulsion
From their rebellious misdeed
Just before their expulsion
He promised a Seed

One untainted from sin
Who could take its great boulder
And the weight of His kin
Upon His own shoulder

A Hero of hope
A rescuing Source
To widen our scope
And give pith to our course

An unshakable tie
An attachment at core
Who would silence the cry
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

For those eyes are His own
And He'd pay the full fee
By His body alone
To set our hearts free

He's hope's nourishing breast
He's life's honey from comb
He's our undying rest
He's our straight way toward home

He will wipe away tears
And allay deepest doubt
Which proceeds from worst fears
Of our being locked out

Of the Garden again
Cast from pure Tree of Life
Dim remembrance of when
Mankind first entered strife

But 'twas on another tree
That sweet intimacy's nectar
Was secured tight when He
Became sacred Connector

And the thorns of our curse
Were pressed onto His head
With not one there to nurse
As the Son of Man bled

Then the wrath for our sin
Was absorbed as He cried
And the foul curse was broken
When the Son of God died

But death couldn't keep Him long
Nor His glory dispose
And we found our lost song
When the King of kings rose!

The debt had been paid
He had finished the work
The tide 'gainst us was swayed
We weren't left in our lurk

And we've only to now
Just repent and believe
To open and allow
Our hearts to receive

Our Divine Fountainhead
Our covering complete
To sup from His bread
And to sit at His feet

To worship the One
For Whom we were made
By Whom we've been won
Whom forever we've craved

The One Who can bear
Our hearts' full devotion
The One Who won't tear
At our souls' raw emotion

The One Who will be
Sweet eternity's song
Who with lasting decree
Will...right...every...wrong
~~~

First two lines taken from Timothy Keller sermon titles;
also inspired by his other sermons:
"The Breastplate of Righteousness"
"Blessed Self-Forgetfulness"
"The Sandals of Peace"
"The Wounded Spirit"

~~~

for more on this:
https://hellopoetry.com/poem/2179517/the-gospel-of-jesus-christ/

~~~
Egeria Litha Dec 2019
I took Grief out for a walk
Under a starless sky and moon sliver
I took Grief out for a spin and on a drive
Watering gardens with the tears from my eyes
I laid Grief out during a rainstorm
Blending in with the weather
I took grief out on you and it made you shiver, hardened your heart,and late to deliver
I kicked Grief out of my place
Abandoned at a night club and ran away
Found her grieving in my bed the following day
I took my grief out
Hoping one day it will go away
Amanda Nov 2017
Grief is stronger than love
It's deeper
The love I feel is strong
but grief is stronger...
The feeling of the emptiness of your body
is more palpable than the fullness your body feels when love consumes it.

Love is powerful
It gives you hope and happiness
Love can pull you out of grief
The two are intertwined
Grief is born out of the loss of love

Grief is terrible.
It's a feeling that should
never have to be felt.
Love creates it but
a deeper love can stem from it.

Both are tangled in each other.
Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference...
madison Jul 2015
grief stares at you
through muggy, distorted glasses
and offers you the same

it echoes through your body
as you scream
and shake your fist at Him

it is grief
that makes you sob over a piece of clothing

it is grief
that makes you follow a resembling stranger

grief collects
all of the 'whys' and 'what ifs'
and dances them in front of you

grief catches
all of the faults you find
in everyone
and everything
that could have
and should have
changed the outcome

whatever is remaining,
grief will proudly put on display

with open hands
grief catches
every tear spilled

it is with these same
wretched hands
that he offers you a place of solace

and each and every time
your body falls to the ground
unable to do anything more
than breathe in and out,
it is grief
that catches you

an uncomfortable accord
Christian Bixler Apr 2015
The lonely notes flowing, falling, leap from
The thin and flitting fingers of the pianist,
The cup of melancholy, drained to the
dregs, bittersweet in that the love of happiness
and joy is tempered now, from longing for the
delicate and pensive feel, that comes from dipping into
the small and lonely pool of melancholy. Grief, a distant
specter, hovering in the fringe of chance, is nearer now,
melancholy, the doorway, slides open on silent hinges,
and admits the crushing tide. High, high, and faster still,
the pianist falls, slowly down and up again, grief, the storm,
disrupts the flow of sound and silence, and incorporates itself
into the threading melody, and so erodes the shores of joy and laughter,
the violet waves of gentle melancholy, laced with the thinnest threads of
blackest grief, sighing on, erasing so, youth and joy and light and life.
The melody falters, stills. The pianist alone, playing for an empty quiet,
rises, pauses, his fingers brushing, the cold steel of empty death, smooth beneath his touch. He grasps it, lifts it to face him, hands steady, gaze unfaltering. The man is still, pianists fingers gripping that instrument of death, and time passes, unheeded, ignored. In a motion refined to elegance by the passage of time and repetition, the pianist places that cold instrument of steel and intent gently, down upon the polished black. He straitens, slowly, and settling his black overcoat close around him, he turns, walks quietly to a closed and silent door, lifts the latch, and into a swirling night of snow and light, walks out, and closes the door behind him with a soft and quiet click. And all is silent.
elle Oct 2018
is across the room
welling in her eyes
as she thinks of her country so far away and burning
to the ground
every night

grief seeps in and
under our skin
burrows tunnels in our bed sheets
mapping the places we tried to forget

grief
he lives on the tip of my tongue
a language I can’t speak, but mindlessly hum

grief is the anchor in my grandfather’s ocean
the sky and the sand,
the captain to his call

grief,
spreads like vines
a yawn across the bus
stitching together our string-thin lives

grief has touched us all.
Mesmed Jausa May 2015
rst
Light shoulders, heavy wings:

Grief as elevation
Grief placed in the mouths of babes and bystanders
Grief visited in sterile places
Grief spoon fed for weeks
Grief taken to momentary extremes
Grief as a diving bell

A 10cm network for all you need/nothing can ever be too fresh
561

I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, Eyes—
I wonder if It weighs like Mine—
Or has an Easier size.

I wonder if They bore it long—
Or did it just begin—
I could not tell the Date of Mine—
It feels so old a pain—

I wonder if it hurts to live—
And if They have to try—
And whether—could They choose between—
It would not be—to die—

I note that Some—gone patient long—
At length, renew their smile—
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil—

I wonder if when Years have piled—
Some Thousands—on the Harm—
That hurt them early—such a lapse
Could give them any Balm—

Or would they go on aching still
Through Centuries of Nerve—
Enlightened to a larger Pain—
In Contrast with the Love—

The Grieved—are many—I am told—
There is the various Cause—
Death—is but one—and comes but once—
And only nails the eyes—

There’s Grief of Want—and Grief of Cold—
A sort they call “Despair”—
There’s Banishment from native Eyes—
In sight of Native Air—

And though I may not guess the kind—
Correctly—yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary—

To note the fashions—of the Cross—
And how they’re mostly worn—
Still fascinated to presume
That Some—are like My Own—
I thought it would be easy to defeat the grieving…
At least . . that’s what I was believing
But its not! My mind deceived my thought
And I caught myself in a lie
Its hard to keep your head up when there’s so much weighing it down
Its hard to speak out when you cant seem to make a sound
Its hard to feel loved when it seems no one’s around
I feel like a tree without leaves
And its hard to see a bright future when there’s nothing for the sun to give light to
How can I walk this path when it seems no one will guide me?
I just need a confession session to do some confiding
Cause emotions are eternal if you let them build inside you
They’re only there to remind you the hard times you’ve been tried through

Grieving is not a fun feeling because it’s a feeling that’s dealing with hurt
And its hard to convert hurt to happiness when you wear it on the sleeve of your shirt
It’s an Armageddon that takes an arm to get in, in order to compete
It’s cut me up and tapped me out, some stiches are in need
Its rattled my  heart, I shed some tears, my strength is seemingly week
On the brink of defeat, I’ve been knocked off my feet
My face is embedded in mud
But as the rain goes away it showers grace upon my face
To show a sign of hope
But, it doesn’t seem close: as a matter of fact it seems remote
I’ll need to emulate some energy to evoke
All though the one thing that IS close is my hearts will to devote
The time to reach the remote and get my life in control

If you think you’ve hit rock bottom then you’ve got a problem
See, the problem with that is things can always get worse
And that’s when you become vulnerable
You don’t prepare for the worst and you let up the fight, letting grief take over your might
The next thing you know, another misfortune strikes
And you’re left like a deer in the headlights… blinded by fright
Hopelessness waits at the gate for you to claim your stake
At what kind of life you’re assigned to
Grief can feel bleak, but don’t let it confine you
It’s your life to live, don’t look what’s behind you
If you get knocked down, don’t look up, get up and look around you
Looking up will blind you from what’s right beside you
Like you’ve been hit by an uppercut and left unprotected in the upper gut
Free for grief to strike twice, leaving you under the bus
But you gotta fight back, tell its lips to pucker up and strike back with a sucker punch

Cause a life without trials is like a being in court with no judge
There would be no words to write a sentence to
If tribulations were to never be faced
You’d be constantly stuck in a complacent place
Where there’s noting to live for except an eternal case to stare at space
Courage would cease to exist, and strength would be but muttered gibberish
So, whenever your head feels weighed down, exercise your persistence
When you can’t seem to speak out let your actions become precedent
And if you feel no one’s around you, look inside you to find what defines you
Because what defines you is needed for your survival
DON’T let grief and defeat be what define you.
Cause I can tell from experience, putting up a fight is vital
I take pride in my weakness, cause without them, I wouldn’t know my strengths
My slam poem about grief.
Terry Collett Feb 2014
This grief
has teeth

my son
it bites through

skin and bone
tearing at heart

and mind
(the deeper

the love
the harder

the pain
I find)

this grief
with its pearly whites

gnaws at me
through dull days

and dark nights
trying to drag me

to dark depths
shaking me

like a dog with bone
bringing me

to deep hurts
and aching moan

this grief
holds hard

bites deep
taking me

to dark dawns
and black dogs

of sunset red
and echoing memories

in numb
and hurting head

this grief has teeth
my son

biting through
bone and skin

tearing me within
but memories remain

strong and clear
and bright

which will
sustain me

through many
a deep dark night.
In memory of my son Oliver. 1984-2014.
Alyssa Underwood Apr 2017
"The Struggle for Love"
"The Longing for Home"
So desperate to prove
That our hearts aren't alone

While death looms wherewith
To make dust of our flesh
We seek in a myth
Our souls to enmesh

With a hero of hope
A rescuing source
To widen our scope
And give pith to our course

An unshakable tie
An attachment at core
Which might silence the cry
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

But it's not our mere lack
Which causes most dread
It's the earth-shattering fact
That our spirits are dead

Cut off from their Source
In a black alienation
Humanity's curse
For its rank ins'bordination

We just want our own way
And to write our own story
So we plunge on astray
To seek our own glory

To play artist or muse
Or idol or chief
Any self-styled ruse
To assuage us of grief

Any measure to show
A lasting signif'cance
So that someone would know
Our unique magnif'cence

For our beauty's been marred
And we crave a redemption
Of souls twisted and scarred
By fulfillment's exemption

But, alas, we will find
That search hard as we may
There's not one of our kind
Who can carry the tray

Upon which the weight
Of our souls has been laid
For who can e'er tolerate
Its gross debts unpaid?

Such suff'cating mass
Of defects and ills
Pressed 'gainst delicate glass
Of egos and wills

Still more ghastly to bear
Is devotion unbound
For with millstone to wear
Its master is drowned

'Neath a sea of foul yeast
And becomes the enslaved
To a hungering beast
To a worship depraved

For the heart is a tiger
And must have its fill
So it raises a man higher
With a kiss before the ****

Not intentionally, of course,
Does it slaughter its idol
But of hurricane force
Is this longing so vital

And as pedestal turns
So quickly to altar
Our wounded pride burns
When our gods and alms falter

And the fire of its rage
Turns upon its obsession
Tiger breaks out of cage
To reclaim self-possession

It bites and it tears
What it once so adored
And pride no longer cares
If it kills its false lord

But upon such demise
The soul screams in terror
For it's broken its prize
And can't take back its error

It begs and it pleads
To restore what's been lost
But at end knows it needs
To consider the cost

Of the damage untold
It has left in the wake
For hearts can't be controlled
With a gush or a shake

No, men's hearts are like bombs
Which so easily explode
Once the pin is removed
All past wrongs will re-load

So the prey becomes hunter
When the tiger attacks
For he does not want her
To see what he lacks

As he, too, had put
Her up in wrong place
But now steps his foot
Upon her shamed face

To now pulverize
As his own heart's been crushed
To blind out her eyes
And to see her lips hushed

For with words idly spoken
She'd stabbed at his soul
And had left his pride broken
By her judgments so cold

She had not meant to harm
Knew not e'en that he heard
But one cannot disarm
A thought put to word

Worse than not knowing this
She no longer knew him
And her once imagined bliss
Proved a nullified whim

Oh, what games and delusions
We play and we build
Upon empty illusions
And dreams unfulfilled

Yet strangely it's when
Our worst fears come true
We can finally transcend
All those old tales we grew

Out of ego and void
Out of sorrow and pain
When our nerves felt annoyed
And our hearts felt too vain

'Cause when ego is puffed
It is primed, too, to pop
And with pinprick is snuffed
Like a pest-blighted crop

So imagine much more
When a venom's injected
Right into its core
And its heart is rejected

But can you also not see
How it needs such a burst
To begin to get free
From its self-absorbed curse?

Except now feels the matter
Of our soul's isolation
Fiercer still with the shatter
Of our pet consolation

So we wait and we wonder
If we've missed the true meaning
Of the frightening thunder
In our heart's constant screaming

Whether homesick or lost
Whether lonely or grieved
Locked in bleak Winter's frost
We find little reprieve

Yet we know we've been made
For the glory of Spring
Some card's still to be played
Some grand song still to sing

Inexpressible yearning
For some secret we know
But can't speak for the burning
Repercussions of woe

Not some mere melancholy
Nor nostalgic forlorn
Not the musings of folly
But a sense that we're torn

From primordial root
And from headwaters fresh
Yet much deeper to boot
From our spiritual breath

'Tis an ache not for wares,
Appreciation or fame
But a fight just for air
Against strangling shame

For we're naked, we know
And with all we devise
Our most flawed parts still show
To a pure set of eyes

Like we're walking around
With no covering intact
But thin hospital gown
With wide split up the back

So we hide our true face
Aim to be what we're not
Work our blots to erase
Lest our schemes should be caught

Be 't by friend or by foe
We dare not risk the pain
Of humiliation's blow
On top of our stain

But instead of relief
Anguish grows louder till
This life's loneliest grief
Paralyzes the will

And last hope all but dies
On doubt's bed of despair
While embittered heart cries
That its lot's too unfair

Yet on outside we play
Through our unconscious mind
Man's collective charade
That everything's fine

Like some pact we'd all sworn
To uphold and obey
To protect from the scorn
Of society's sway

If we run with the flow
'Stead of strive 'gainst the tide
We might make enough show
To salvage our pride

We forget that conceit
Is what caused all the mess
Through a serpent's deceit
And a couple's wrong guess

'Twas they first tasted shame
And then hid in a garden
Sewing fig leaves as claim
To secure their own pardon

Yet in horror they knew
They had squandered the Prize
And must flee from the view
Of a pure set of eyes

Now same state of awry
Runs through each of their seed
Inborn and borne by
Like the thorniest ****

Whose nettles pierce deep
And infect every part
While roots tangle and sweep
Through the mind and the heart

It mocks what we've lost
Torments every dim hope
To constrict and accost
Like a noose-tightening rope

Still, hope won't be decayed
Smold'ring fires yet burn
Sparking hints that we're made
For bright Eden's return

This redemption we crave
Is no phantom's false plea
But as crestfallen wave
Hides itself in the sea

It's been veiled in plain sight
Big as all of our stories
Deep as mankind's full plight
And as high as its glories

Cloaked in every ambition
That we have to get in
To some exclusive coalition
For its favors to win

Lurks a bleeding predilection
Frustrated from birth
A desire for election
To bestow on us worth

Lured by scent of a promise
To be chosen and known
Like the warmth of a mom's kiss
Given only to her own

We search tree after tree
For sweet intimacy's nectar
From a fruit that will be
Our secret connecter

To hope's nourishing breast
To life's honey from comb
To an undying rest
To a straight way toward home

One to wipe away tears
And allay deepest doubt
Which proceeds from worst fears
Of our being locked out

Of a garden again
Cast from pure tree of life
Dim remembrance of when
Mankind first entered strife

All our conflicts, comp'tition,
Confusion and blame
Find first cause in perdition
That's invaded our frame

Like the foulest disease
The most cankerous rot
Grown by monstrous degrees
Hatched by Lucifer's plot

This story's no ****'s attack
Nor archaic folklore
But the earth-shattering fact
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

And it's not our mere lack
which causes most dread
But the earth-shattering fact
That our spirits are dead

Cut off from their Source
In a black alienation
Humanity's curse
For its rank ins'bordination


And yet...


This is also the story
Of how those same eyes
The Possessor of Glory
Looked with love and heart cries

On the crown of creation
His reflection of Self
Made His own treasured nation
The heirs of His wealth

Now broken and lost
All banished from Garden
And He knew the full cost
To grant them His pardon

Had known long before
He had e'er even made
That first man of yore
Yet handcrafts anyway

For His love is so strong
And He wanted to share
His intimacy with a throng
His own children to bear

So with souls in convulsion
From their rebellious misdeed
Just before their expulsion
He promised a Seed

One untainted from sin
Who could take its great boulder
And the weight of His kin
Upon His own shoulder

A Hero of hope
A rescuing Source
To widen our scope
And give pith to our course

An unshakable tie
An attachment at core
Who would silence the cry
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

For those eyes are His own
And He'd pay the full fee
By His body alone
To set our hearts free

He's hope's nourishing breast
He's life's honey from comb
He's our undying rest
He's our straight way toward home

He will wipe away tears
And allay deepest doubt
Which proceeds from worst fears
Of our being locked out

Of the Garden again
Cast from pure Tree of Life
Dim remembrance of when
Mankind first entered strife

But 'twas on another tree
That sweet intimacy's nectar
Was secured tight when He
Became sacred Connector

And the thorns of our curse
Were pressed onto His head
With not one there to nurse
As the Son of Man bled

Then the wrath for our sin
Was absorbed as He cried
And the foul curse was broken
When the Son of God died

But death couldn't keep Him long
Nor His glory dispose
And we found our lost song
When the King of kings rose!

The debt had been paid
He had finished the work
The tide 'gainst us was swayed
We weren't left in our lurk

And we've only to now
Just repent and believe
To open and allow
Our hearts to receive

Our Divine Fountainhead
Our covering complete
To sup from His bread
And to sit at His feet

To worship the One
For Whom we were made
By Whom we've been won
Whom forever we've craved

The One Who can bear
Our hearts' full devotion
The One Who won't tear
At our souls' raw emotion

The One Who will be
Sweet eternity's song
Who with lasting decree
Will...right...every...wrong
~~~

First two lines taken from Timothy Keller sermon titles;
also inspired by his other sermons:
"The Breastplate of Righteousness"
"Blessed Self-Forgetfulness"
"The Sandals of Peace"
"The Wounded Spirit"


~~~

The Gospel of Jesus Christ:

"...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..."
~ Romans 3:23

"...people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment..."
~ Hebrews 9:27

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life
in Christ Jesus our Lord."
~ Romans 6:23

"'Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake:
some to everlasting life,
others to shame and everlasting contempt.'"
~ Daniel 12:2

"For God will bring every deed into judgment,
    including every hidden thing,
    whether it is good or evil."
~ Ecclesiastes 12:14

"This will take place on the day
when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ..."
~ Romans 2:16

"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.
Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him
to whom we must give account."
~ Hebrews 4:13

"Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,
    no one who does what is right and never sins."
~ Ecclesiastes 7:20

"...it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who does not continue
to do everything written in the Book of the Law.'"
~ Galatians 3:10b

"For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles
at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it."
~ James 2:10

"All of us have become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away."
~ Isaiah 64:6

"...sin entered the world through one man,
and death through sin, and in this way
death came to all people, because all sinned..."
~ Romans 5:12

"As it is written:
'There is no one righteous, not even one;
     there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
    not even one.'...
Therefore no one will be
declared righteous in God’s sight
by the works of the law;
rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin."
~ Romans 3:10-12,20

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
~ Romans 5:8

"This is how God showed His love among us:
He sent His one and only Son into the world
that we might live through Him.
This is love: not that we loved God,
but that He loved us and sent His Son
as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
~ 1 John 4:10

"But God raised Him from the dead,
freeing Him from the agony of death,
because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him...
He was not abandoned to the realm of the dead,
nor did His body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life..."
~ Acts 2:24,31b-32a

"...He raised Christ from the dead
and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms,
far above all rule and authority, power and dominion,
and every name that is invoked,
not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
And God placed all things under His feet
and appointed Him to be head over everything
for the church, which is His body,
the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way."
~ Ephesians 1:20b-23

"For there is one God
and one mediator between God and mankind,
the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all people..."
~ 1 Timothy 2:5-6a

"...Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures...
He was buried...He was raised on the third day
according to the Scriptures..."
~ 1 Corinthians 15:3b-4

"...God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ,
not counting people’s sins against them."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:19a

"'Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that
through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.
Through Him everyone who believes is set free from every sin,
a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.'"
~ Acts 13:38-39

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through Him all things were made; without Him
nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life,
and that life was the light of all mankind...
The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.
We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth...
For the law was given through Moses;
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ...
'...the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'"
~ John 1:1-4,14,17,29b

"The Son is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
For in Him all things were created:
things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things have been created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
And He is the head of the body, the church;
He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead,
so that in everything He might have the supremacy.
For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things,
whether things on earth or things in heaven,
by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross."
~ Colossians 1:15-20

"'For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.'"
~ Luke 19:10

"...He appeared so that He might take away our sins.
And in Him is no sin."
~ 1 John 3:5

"...Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."
~ 1 Peter 1:19b

"God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,
through the shedding of His blood—to be received by faith.
He did this to demonstrate His righteousness,
because in His forbearance He had left
the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
He did it to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time,
so as to be just and the one who justifies
those who have faith in Jesus."
~ Romans 3:25-26

"In Him we have redemption through His blood,
the forgiveness of sins,
in accordance with the riches of God’s grace..."
~ Ephesians 1:7

"For the life...is in the blood,
and I have given it to you to make atonement...
it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life."
~ Leviticus 17:11

"...and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness...
Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many..."
~ Hebrews 9:22b,28a

"'All the prophets testify about Him
that everyone who believes in Him
receives forgiveness of sins through His name.'"
~ Acts 10:43

"For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever
those who are being made holy."
~ Hebrews 10:14

"'He committed no sin,
    and no deceit was found in His mouth.'...
He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross,
so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness..."
~ 1 Peter 2:22,24a

"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous,
to bring you to God."
~ 1 Peter 3:18a

"Jesus answered them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'"
~ Luke 5:31-32

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness."
~ 1 John 1:8-9

"God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us,
so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:21

"...For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed."
~ 1 Corinthians 5:7b

"Surely He took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered Him punished by God,
    stricken by Him, and afflicted.
But He was pierced for our transgressions,
    He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,
    and by His wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on Him
    the iniquity of us all."
~ Isaiah 53:4-6

"And He died for all, that those who live
should no longer live for themselves but for Him
who died for them and was raised again."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:15

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him
is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned
already because they have not believed in the name of God’s
one and only Son... Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever rejects the Son will not see life,
for God’s wrath remains on them."
~ John 3:16-18,36

"God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
Whoever has the Son has life;
whoever does not have the Son of God
does not have life."
~ 1 John 5:11b-12

"He was delivered over to death for our sins
and was raised to life for our justification."
~ Romans 4:25

"...just as Christ was raised from the dead
through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."
~ Romans 6:4b

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade..."
~ 1 Peter 1:3-4a

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation:
The old has gone, the new has come!"
~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

"...to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name,
He gave the right to become children of God— children born
not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will,
but born of God."
~ John 1:12-13

"Jesus replied, 'Very truly I tell you,
no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.'...
'Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God
unless they are born of water and the Spirit.'"
~ John 3:3,5

"...born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable,
through the living and enduring word of God."
~ 1 Peter 1:23

"...birth through the word of truth..."
~ James 1:18

"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message,
and the message is heard through the word of Christ."
~ Romans 10:17

"...to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies
the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness."
~ Romans 4:5

"...not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law,
but that which is through faith in Christ—
the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith."
~ Philippians 3:9

"This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ
to all who believe."
~ Romans 3:22a

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under
heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."
~ Acts 4:12

"Since we have now been justified by His blood,
how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him!
For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through
the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled,
shall we be saved through His life!"
~ Romans 5:9-10

"For it is by grace you have been saved,
through faith—and this is not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast."
~ Ephesians 2:8-9

~~~
for a fuller list of verses:
https://hellopoetry.com/poem/2179517/the-gospel-of-jesus-christ/
Grief is a doorway to the teachings of enlightenment and wisdom.  The gateway of the soul is a teaching path to higher consciousness.  Through grief you can push the levels of anger,pain, abandonment, terror and loneliness; these are the aspects of the scared wound.  All of us try to ignore the problems, just turn around and let them teach you about who you really are.  Keep an open heart to what you are and let grief guide you to freedom of all the above listed experiences.  Within grief the seeds of enlightenment and wisdom are growing what is lost can only come back to you in higher ways.  Today I look inside myself for the answers to what I see on the outside of myself.  I look deep in the autumn of my soul and cry to the parts I love, telling them goodbye and to take on the inner battle of what i left go of running a muck to get some acknowledgment of ownership to that which i should fix for my self to be all it can be.  As the leaves fall and all my issues turn to bright stars, i sigh in remembrance of my true self of perfection and glory that the father gave me and doubt no more.
Shekinah En Ka Mit (C) 9/2007
Forty Days

A Season of Grief, a Season of Rejoicing

November 9-December 20, 2014

For Barbara Beach Alter 
It is Christmas morning in Saco, Maine, where today Bett, Aaron, Emily, Thomasin and our beloved cousin Marie find ourselves gathered to celebrate our first Christmas without dadima (our name for Barbara Beach Alter).  Brother Tom writes that already in India he and Carol with Jamie, Meha and Cayden (the only of her seven greatgrandchildren Barry never held) have celebrated.  Today Marty and Lincoln join us in Maine.

This gathering of documents—notes, drafts of memorial services, poems, homilies—is my christmas present to each of you.  It is a record, certainly subjective, of grief and rejoicing.

John Copley Alter
1:14 a.m.
Saco, Maine 
November 9

Loved ones,
Barbara Beach Alter died peacefully at 2:55 Sunday morning (today).  Bett and I had the good fortune to be there for the final beating of her good strong heart.  She murmured charcoal.  The nurse who was bathing her afterwards noted how few wrinkles there were, and it is true.
For those of you nearby you may if you want visit Mom in her room at hospice this morning (until noon).  Visit? Darshan? Paying respects?
Bett and I plan to be there around 11:00.
Much love to all. A blessed occasion.
John


November 10

Matthew 5:13-19
Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.
"You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

yesterday in the early hours my mother died her saltiness
restored all that had through the months of her old
age and convalescence obscured the lens of her life cleaned
away so that for us now more and more clearly
as we hear about her through the memory and love
of so many people her good works shine forth in
their glory but it is to the days of her
convalescence the days of her dementia I would turn our
minds those of us who spent time with her at
Wingate long-term care facility remember that Barbara Beach Alter became
at times fierce in her commanding us that ‘not one
letter, not one stroke of a letter’ of the commandments
should be altered do you remember that those of you
and us who were given the work and gift of
spending time with Barry in those days in that condition

remember for instance how fussy she became about the sequence
of food on her tray how impatient with us for
our trespasses and violations how adamant that we look forward
for instance and not back at her how she would
say stop holding my hand and saying you love me
you have work to do o she was almost impossible
and certainly incoherent and demented in her obsession with law
and procedure fussy impatient imperious I do not forget being
scolded reamed out put in my place for having somehow
failed to do what the ‘law and the prophets’ demand

Barbara beach alter in the days before hospice in the
nursing home and hospital and even if we are honest
in the final years of her life found herself caught
up in the rigidity of her anxious desire to be
faithful to the laws and commandments of her life and
that made her at times extremely demanding to be with

amen and the epistemological confusion of course the clash between
her reality and ours it was all an ordeal for
her and for those of us who kept her company

and yet and yet through it all and now as
that ordeal for her is no longer paramount as she
dances in heaven all the wrinkles and discomfort of her
life removed and forgiven Barbara Beach Alter kept the faith
living in the midst such that those who cared for
her most intimately the strangers all professed your mother blessed
us


Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.



So, brother and sister, here are my thoughts about the memorial service(s).
Let’s find a time when we three can be present; that’s the most important thing.  My life is currently the least constrained by agenda and schedule.  And then the grandchildren, recognizing that Jamie may not be able to come.  So, our work is to find our when our kids are able to come. Bett and I are exploring that with our three, each of whom has some constraint: Emily, the cost; Thomasin, the piebaking demands, Aaron school.  But we are flexible.

Much love.

John



Walking in my mother’s wake today some trees
a gentle breeze some dogs a little boy
the neighborhood and I took joy from interaction

we are at best a fraction in love’s
calculation after all heaven I realize is not
above or below cannot be taught comes naturally

as death does walking in my mother’s wake
I found new allies learned yet again not
to take myself too seriously to be caught

off guard as a matter of principle and
not to insist that I understand but live
in the midst of forgiveness


in my mother’s wake I am reading these books for
some way to continue to knock on her door Wendell
Berry he can tell me some things and William Blake
he can take me closer and I remember she described
me once as an unused Jewish liberal so I am
reading about protestant liberalism but ham that I am also
reading Carl Hiassen’s Bad Monkey and Quo Vadimus that my
daughter left behind and mythologically Reflections from yale divinity school
no fooling Denise Levertov David Sobel Galway Kinnell’s translation of
Rilke some wake

November 11

Matthew 25:1-13
Jesus said, "Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, 'Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise replied, 'No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' But he replied, 'Truly I tell you, I do not know you.' Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."

this morning in the wee hours my mother died one
of the wise bridesmaids whose lamp to the end was
full she carried always the flask of oil that is
joy that is the love of the kingdom of heaven
and of the bridegroom a flask always replenished by prayer
by devotion by a humble courageous living in the midst

she expected every day the bridegroom to come in other
words and she was also one who would never refuse
to share even the last drop with somebody in need

and at the end it is so clear the door
into the banquet hall was not closed to her as
it is not closed to any one of us foolishness
is to believe otherwise to believe that the bridegroom will
not come today in the early morning in the wee
hours that is when he comes in the midst of
other plans is when he comes even when we are
doing what we assume to be good work when we
are doing what gives us pleasure our duty joy comes
then unsummoned unpredictable random even according to all our best
laid plans my mother loved so many things her pleasure
included dancing late in her life terminally unsteady she invented
what we loved to urge her to do namely the
sitting jig and we grew up with images of her
Isadora Duncan dancing with white scarves in an enchanted forest

Barbara Beach Alter aka Barry aka dadima bari nani aunt
and daughter wife missionary is now I know dancing a
rollicking boisterous jig on the shores of a lake that
is as her grandson once confided to her god in
liquid form spilly Beach of course also dyslexic executive function
compromised she was but one who loved to be always
in the midst surrounded by loved ones some of them
absolute strangers she shared her oil because for her it
came welling up from an inexhaustible source a deep eternal
well of such illumination and laughter such giddy divine chuckles

for her there was to be no exclusion she would
not find the awful idea of being one of the
foolish applicable to anybody but happily she welcomed into her
midst so many it is hard to imagine how many

so there she is now a bridesmaid dancing for joy
in such elegant clothing with such perpetual brightness

amen hallelujah rejoice


sometimes I think she pulled us all out of the
magic hat sometimes I think she knit us all into
one of her theologically impossible sweaters and then with a
wink she passes through the eye of the needle and
is gone and we are left to play in her
honor endless hands of solitaire sometimes I think we are
no more than the hermeneutics of her life the epistemology
artless she was not her heart like one of those
magical meals for her then a doxology praise then praise
she knows salvation

what is a life’s work it is like a landscape
dotted with oases and gardens for the thirsty and the
lost it is like scraping through dry barren ground and
finding there suddenly not only the theology of paradise but
such seeds your hands ache to begin the planting what
is a life’s work what has been shut for too
long opens what has been shut for too long opens

a life’s work renews itself then with death the kernel
of hope that dies in springtime sprouting is what a
life’s work becomes

November 12

John 21:15-17
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs." A second time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Tend my sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.

I know my mother very much enjoyed having breakfast with
god and that the meals of her nursing home drove
her nearly crazy and that when at last she found
hospice o she again could imagine the feast of heaven
at which Jesus breaks bread with us and speaks with
such clarity do you love me more than these I
know it was questions as simple and overwhelming as this
that dominated her final days do you love me love
being  one of the last five words she attempted to
speak do you love me she wrestled in her last
months with epistemology and psychology and theology and all had
to do with whether she could answer unequivocally you know
that I love you and that she could say of
her life that she had broken bread with god we
all remember in her life those moments when there was
a great gladness an innocent acceptance of what lay immediately
in her presence now those months in the nursing home
tormented her in precisely this fashion that it was hard
to accept to be in the midst of such mediocrity
and woe to be innocent and accepting but now praise
god there she is a happy guest at the great
feast and we left behind bereft can acknowledge that she
loved god in her own fashion as best she possibly
could and do you remember being with her there in
hospital or nursing home and she commanding us to move
beyond holding her hand and saying we loved her and
to feed the sheep to do that work which will
make of this earth this here and now an outstation
of heaven Barbara Beach Alter loved god in her own
fashion as best she possibly could we remember that and
that memory is today like a great network a web
of love and inspiration o we would gladly one more
time hold her hand and say I love you but
we know also clearly I think today what the work
is to love our neighbor as ourselves to work for
peace and justice I think of my sister with her
colleagues in WEIGO and how her sisters have understood her
grief  let us break our fast together then glad for
the worldwide web that in these days is reading the
gospel of the life of Barbara Beach Alter praise god


feed
tend
feed
in exchange for his three denials Peter is given three imperative verbs
feed
tend
feed
this is the commission Jesus after breakfast on the shore of the sea of Galilee gives to Peter
twice he says feed
in the commonwealth of Massachusetts 700,000 people are hungry
1 in 6 americans are hungry
living in uncertainty about their daily bread
more than 18,000,000 in Africa
842,000,000 around the world go to bed hungry


Marty and Tom
The thinking about the memorial service is taking this slow and cautious turn, namely that we have three services (at least), one in Sudbury, one in New Haven (allowing Stan and Chuck and others to come) at First Presbyterian (with Blair Moffett we hope), and of course one in India.
The date frame appears to be somewhere between December 17 and 20, unless you have other thoughts.
The actual cremation happens tomorrow.  Lincoln, Bett, Alexis and I will attend, and then of course there is In the Midst on Friday.
Love you more than tongue can tell.
John


the thing with a life well lived is that many
people have partaken the way let’s say a river moves
down through any number of different lives all the time
sedulously seeking the shortest path to the sea to steal
a line from somebody or other meandering a watershed within
which so many of us find a way to live
our own lives nourished and for each of us the
river distinct and different white water the slow fertile meander
the delta and we say to each other this is
the composite river


sometimes I feel like a sleepwalker trying to run a
marathon sometimes I feel like a speedbump in a blizzard

an arrow in a wind tunnel sometimes I feel like

a hazard sign in an old age home sometimes I
feel like a tyrannosaurus rex trying to ride a tricycle

and sometimes those are the good days when identity is
strong like an icicle in a heat wave is strong

I try to read wisdom literature at happy hour scotch
and Solomon can’t go wrong I think and sometimes I

feel like crying

November 13

four days ago we were left alone there with your
body after your breathing ceased and the proud stubborn beating
of your heart and in those four days beloved mother
so much I would love to say to you and
share the antics of the squirrel late leaves on the
neighborhood trees music Orion the network the atlas of love
your life has left behind and all the words we
are the gospel of today and I would sit with
you there then in silence as I sit now four
days later vigilant insomniac aware that the kingdom of heaven
is not more complicated than singing than love than dancing

we are all dancing the dance lord siva teaches and
the s
Lynda Kerby Sep 2013
No one told me
so i'm telling you
i expected grief to feel like sadness
but i wasnt told that
that it makes your whole body ache from morning until night
and even in your sleep
and that it makes your hands sting from numbness
making buttoning your jeans impossible
and that some days clumps of your hair fall out
but having a good hair day is the least of your worries
and morbid thoughts attack like being ***** slapped upside your head
hurting so bad you actually pass out in mid sen--
But it's nothing like the sadness i had expected to feel
i've known clinical depression since age 4
and that feeling of curling up in the fetal position
waving the white flag of surrender
trying to make yourself into the tiniest ball of nothing
But grief is a flammable substance
and you can feel it as it ignites the flame of your soul
it feels like being angry in a righteous way
like when jesus knocked over the flea market vendor's tables at the temple
like being so ******* at all of the scales that are inbalanced
and it is the fuel that makes you want to correct the injustices of the world
and become larger than you are
and shower love compassion and truth over evil
no one told me that grief feels like this
so i'm telling you
Amy I Hughes Aug 2013
My grief was ugly,
Like a black tar.
So foul that I shut it away,
In a dark room within me.
Letting it dry and shrivel,
Hoping it would die.

But through my ears
Flowing to every nerve
Came our song.
The one I was avoiding.
My veins drowned in sadness
That spread like a fire,
At the echo of that beat.

The music filtered through
A maze of rooms.
Reaching the grief,
And with one intake of breath
The door unlocked.
My grief was freed.
Releasing into my blood,
As I'd feared, like a poison.

My heart felt the pain instantly
In one fell swoop.
The familiar notes
Were a bittersweet release.

I tried to sing but
No sound came out.
Overwhelmed.
All I could do was cry to our song
And pray for the grief to leave me.
Like you did.

— The End —