Grief

Yesterday I thought
that I would weep forever.
Now tonight I know
there is nothing left in me —
no tears, no sighs, not a word.

~ Rebekah Choat

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A Better Resurrection by Christina Rossetti

I have no wit, no words, no tears;
My heart within me like a stone
Is numbed too much for hopes or fears;
Look right, look left, I dwell alone;
I lift mine eyes, but dimmed with grief
No everlasting hills I see;
My life is in the falling leaf:
O Jesus, quicken me.

My life is like a faded leaf,
My harvest dwindled to a husk:
Truly my life is void and brief
And tedious in the barren dusk;
My life is like a frozen thing,
No bud or greenness can I see:
Yet rise it shall — the sap of spring;
O Jesus, rise in me.

My life is like a broken bowl,
A broken bowl that cannot hold
One drop of water for my soul
Or cordial in the searching cold;
Cast in the fire the perished thing;
Melt and remould it, till it be
A royal cup for Him, my King:
O Jesus, drink of me.

~ Christina Rossetti

 

the not knowing

This is a poem I wrote on May 22 last year, two days after a tornado devastated the town of Moore, Oklahoma, ripping apart two elementary schools and a hospital.  Just a month earlier, the finish line of the Boston Marathon had erupted in bomb blasts.  Now, as the location of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and its passengers continues to evade discovery nearly two weeks after going missing, it seems sadly appropriate again.

It’s the not knowing
that wears you down: balancing
as best you can on
a tightrope strung between hope
against hope and facing facts.

Heavy

image by Rebekah Choat

image by Rebekah Choat

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’s 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 laughter
that 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?

~ Mary Oliver