Heavy, how heavy grief can be. A poem from Mary Oliver

My friend, who is familiar with grief, and tends to think deeply about things, shared this recently, and I copy and pasted it here, the way you might carefully fold down the corner of a page that you know you will return to.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

HEAVY

That time

I thought I could not

go any closer to grief

without dying

I went closer,

and I did not die. Surely God

had his hand in this,

as well as friends.

Still, I was bent,

and my laughter,

as the poet said,

was nowhere to be found.

Then said my friend Daniel

(brave even among lions),

“It is not the weight you carry

but how you carry it—books, bricks, grief—it’s all in the way

you embrace it, balance it, carry it

when you cannot, and would not,

put it down.”

So I went practicing.

Have you noticed?

Have you heard

the laughtert

hat comes, now and again,

out of my startled mouth?

How I linger

to admire, admire, admire

the things of this world

that are kind, and maybe

also troubled—

roses in the wind,

The sea geese on the steep waves,

a love

to which there is no reply?

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