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The Thing Is…

May 17, 2011

Working in oncology unfortunately affords me an opportunity to read many patient’s funeral programs.  Recently I read this poem on one and it brought me to tears. So beautiful, so poignant.

 

The Thing Is

by Ellen Bass

<!– (from Mules of Love, Vol. 1)
–>

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.

“The Thing Is” by Ellen Bass, from Mules of Love. © BOA Editions, Ltd., 2002

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 17, 2011 8:38 am

    Sad and beautiful.

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