My Grief Poetry
Seasons of Solace Grief Poems
Here are some of my grief poetry that I've written in the past few years. When I wrote them, I never expected that they would one day be published. Click here to learn about
Seasons of Solace.
GAP IN TIME
Black hollow in a uniform procession of teeth.
Space between the wings of the ark’s cherubim.
Nothing in the midst of something.
A black hole surrounded by bright stars,
swallowing anything that comes close.
I sit in an unseen gap in time.
He’s dead. I don’t know it.
Intuition begins to play tricks.
Dread rises, wadding cotton balls in my throat.
I wrestle it down with more-likely tales,
tales that were truth before. But then
a new reality strikes like an avalanche,
crushing the certainty
to which I yearn to cling.
Glittering stars gulped into the void.
Teeth knocked out in a bitter blow.
Emptiness between the wings of the cherubim,
where God said, “I will be met.”
Alone in the gap,
friends and family sleep on the other side of the world.
No one wants this truth.
The God of the stars and the cherubim is less complicated.
Happy the life lived in unawareness.
But the truth will not stay hidden long;
those close are seized,
sucked into the nothingness.
Who can bear to swim within
the God of the gaps?
Oh my son
You have no idea what you lost today
investigating the bushes outside the hospital.
I dressed you in orange today,
I see your liveliness in it.
Had I known, would I have chosen
No, orange sings with you.
Later, playing clapping games with
the women who have gathered.
We smile and laugh with you.
Your light sparks life into our darkness.
You were used to his coming and going.
You’re too young to notice this absence,
so play your games and sing your songs.
Friday your world will turn upside down;
we will fly away from all that you knew.
Daddy, friends, babysitter, neighbors,
cement floors, house lizards, wearing only diapers
So give us your grin and Thai bow
You’ll soon forget how it’s done.
You will learn of your loss soon enough.
So play your games and sing your songs;
we need your laughter now.
SWEARING AT GOD
I don’t swear much,
never at God,
I waited for the proverbial
But I heard,
“I’ve been waiting for you to be real.
Now we can move forward together.”
So many stories have gone
that only you knew.
What were you reading, as a boy, when you hid in the tree,
hoping work would get done without you?
What were you dreaming of
when you stared absently out the classroom window?
What was it about Hawking’s A Brief History of Time
that caused you to carry it around the world with you?
What did you do for me
that you secretly disliked doing?
What were you thinking about
as you drove down the road that day?
Do you know I stopped at a market
and bought lamyai just for you?
You are so much more
than the sum of your stories.
Yet that is all we have left,
so we will cherish them.
RETURNED TO THAILAND TO PACK
I am back
in town two hours
when Nee’s son drowns.
I sit for hours on her cold
cement floor. Long silences.
She prepares food for guests.
Chopping knife to board.
Pounding pestle to mortar.
Voices of muted wails.
We take our place in a long line
following a small box to the temple.
We place our little sticks on the box.
The monk lights the match.
Flames licking up the beloved boy
to the heavens
sear through the heart of his mother.
Does God hold
all the pain of the world?
Today I wonder if God
cares at all.
Yet, Nee says God brought me to
be with her now.
I always prayed
for safety and joy
and success in my
I used to think God’s children
could expect these things.
Isn’t that what abundant life means?
Then I went to Haiti and Honduras.
Then I read about Christians in China.
Then I lived in Asia.
Then John died.
Then I read the gospels again.
Reflection on Grief Poetry:
Everyone's grief journey is different. How did you find yourself reacting to this grief poetry? What were the similarities to your story? What were the differences? What grief poetry would you like to write? Jot some notes, keep holding and noticing your ideas, and perhaps someday at the right time they will come gushing forth.
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