Adrift

Adrift

Mark Nepo

Everything is beautiful and I am so sad.
This is how the heart makes a duet of
wonder and grief. The light spraying
through the lace of the fern is as delicate
as the fibers of memory forming their web
around the knot in my throat. The breeze
makes the birds move from branch to branch
as this ache makes me look for those I’ve lost
in the next room, in the next song, in the laugh
of the next stranger. In the very center, under
it all, what we have that no one can take
away and all that we’ve lost face each other.
It is there that I’m adrift, feeling punctured
by a holiness that exists inside everything.
I am so sad and everything is beautiful.

This is a poem that has been speaking to me during a dear friend’s illness and most recently, her death. There are no words, we say after someone dies. But these words express something of what I feel.

Everything is beautiful and I am so sad. / This is how the heart makes a duet of /  wonder and grief.  My heart is tenderly holding this odd composition of two seemingly disparate notions.

The light spraying /  through the lace of the fern is as delicate /  as the fibers of memory forming their web /  around the knot in my throat. Indeed, my throat catches often with tears that sit waiting for an opportunity to spill as my memories spin their complex and gorgeous web.

The breeze /  makes the birds move from branch to branch /  as this ache makes me look for those I’ve lost /  in the next room, in the next song, in the laugh / of the next stranger. All the dear ones who have died before, now come back to me and I seem to hear their voices, see them across the street, before I realize it is the ache I feel that creates these mirages.

In the very center, under / it all, what we have that no one can take / away and all that we’ve lost face each other. This is perhaps the most important line for me. Again, that duet of wonder and grief, what I have that no one can take away and all I have lost, that sits at the center of life, mine and yours.

It is there that I’m adrift, feeling punctured / by a holiness that exists inside everything. /
I am so sad and everything is beautiful. It is a strange kind of feeling lost, unanchored – pierced by the grace of mystery. I am still sad and yet, I can see how much beauty there is all around me. I try to hold both, seeing their differences, seeing how they fit together.

Is this not the miracle of life?  That death comes because it is such an essential part of living. Grieving is also essential to living and when we do, we honour the love that we continue to feel for the person who has died. Grief holds beauty as well as sadness.

 

18 thoughts on “Adrift

  1. Oh, Jan. How completely beautiful and true: the poem, your own deeply felt reflections now with the loss of your dear friend. I think of the words from Margaret Atwood’s Marsh Languages, words that “speak both cherishing and farewell”. Atwood’s poem says we no longer have this language, but, oh, we do, and you speak this language fluently, in this holy place of wonder and sadness. Your image at the top of the page, the drops like tears falling off the bright flowers, says it so well. Thank you for sharing this.

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  2. Dear Jan – Such a moving post, layered with tender feeling, astute perspective and the deep lived wisdom of experiencing life’s paradoxes. Thank you, dear one.

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  3. poignant and real… generous with yourself as you move into the experience of grieving…gently holds the space for grace and beauty…thank you.

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  4. I am slain, Jan. I hear your voice speaking these words and I always will. Your honesty infuses your voice, the poem, me — and these beautiful contemplations you offer here. Thank you.

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing this poem Jan. It has touched me deeply. It is a gift that I carry with me – reminding me to breathe more fully.

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  6. Thank you, Jan. This poem speaks to my heart. The beautiful memories, the painful loss, the love that surrounds us; all interlaced through our grieving.

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  7. Pingback: Some October by Barbara Crooker | Heart Poems

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