I Named You Grief

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What’s the proper etiquette of dealing with grief?
Is it the sealing of lips?
Is it listening to the endless waves of the ocean?
Behind the shadow of eyes there lies a world
unchartered,
where memories of long ago swim
whether in cloud,
in concealment, in light or in the dark
and though I know I mustn’t hold on
I must let go,
fall further into the bottomless abyss where anguish
resides.

The landscape glows a brilliant shade of amber
and rose,
yet I shudder at the mere reminder of past events
don’t maintain eye contact,
don’t absentmindedly listen
lest others make out what’s going on inside your head,
it’s not that I am reluctant to share
it’s not that idea of discussing with a friend hasn’t crossed
my mind,
it’s just that I have closed my eyes for a moment
to cope.

It comes in episodes, this fortitude, this indomitability
this hardihood,
I am led by the understanding of tears as realization forms
like newly growing grass,
is it the building of bridges?
is it the carrying forward of heart?
is it the determination of facing life headlong,
tell me,
what’s the proper etiquette of dealing with grief?

 

Photo credits: Arrows by Loui Jover

Posted for Poems in April @ Real Toads

 

26 thoughts on “I Named You Grief

  1. Kerry says:

    don’t maintain eye contact,
    don’t absentmindedly listen
    lest others make out what’s going on inside your head

    These lines really hit home. Grief is so personal, and everyone grieves differently. I think one fears the loss of control and the debilitation of anguish, at least I do.

  2. Isadora Gruye says:

    You explore an interesting topic: what is acceptable grief in public and private. This resonates for anyone who knows they have to suffer a loss in front of other people. Thanks for posting!

  3. Magaly Guerrero says:

    A question that will be answered (often without words) differently by everyone. Grief is such a wild thing. If follows no rhyme or reason or etiquette, I guess. But we can always name it, can’t we? And we can poem it, too.

  4. Rosemary Nissen-Wade says:

    It’s irrelevant to grief, really. But in the eyes of others, the correct etiquette is to shut up about it asap.

    An old hand at grief myself, I feel in these lines all your anguish and determination … and a touch of bitterness. You’ve conveyed it exactly.

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