The Unbroken by Rashani Rea

There is a brokenness
out of which comes the unbroken,
a shatteredness
out of which blooms the unshatterable.
There is a sorrow
beyond all grief which leads to joy
and a fragility
out of whose depths emerges strength.
There is a hollow space too vast for words
through which we pass with each loss,
out of whose darkness we are sanctioned into being.
There is a cry deeper than all sound
whose serrated edges cut the heart
as we break open
to the place inside which is unbreakable
and whole
while learning to sing.

The Unbroken

I posted this poem three years ago, so it may be familiar to you. Feeling wrecked, I was searching for one that might speak to the unspeakable sorrow that I and many others are feeling following the horror this past weekend that placed Nova Scotia on the grievous map of mass shootings.

Nova Scotia is my heart home and though I did not specifically know these places nor their residents, I feel a personal resonance. And like all such incidents that we grieve, I am searching for a message of underlying possibility for going forward, for love and even beauty, strange as that may seem.

We are broken and shattered by these terrible deaths, yet Rea calls forth the unbroken, the unshatterable which she assures us is within us. There is sorrow beyond all grief leading to joy, and fragility that leads to strength. This hollow space too vast for words is what we must pass through, a darkness we must experience with each loss. We cannot be too quick to move away from this toward the light, and yet.

That cry deeper than all sound cuts our hearts open so that we may discover the place inside which is unbreakable and whole. The truth is that we all have that place inside which we can find when we give our grief voice, when we don’t turn away from it but allow it to be as it is until the time when we can once again find our joy and strength.

In the midst of our grief and outrage, we can learn how to sing. Will you sing with me?

16 thoughts on “The Unbroken by Rashani Rea

  1. hello dear janice
    thank you for a balm, of sorts, for our broken hearts. you have such a way with words in interpreting these poems…and we will both gratefully sing with you 🙂

    sending love,
    eileen & ed

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  2. Thanks Jan – this poem certainly brings words to contain so much – the East Coast has always had music in its heart, so yes, let’s sing for and with them

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  3. Thanks Jan — thanks for this beautiful poem which brings words which I could not find myself, and which help, not only with the terrible grief of the deaths in Nova Scotia, but of griefs which I have turned away from in my life and am not turning away from now. Yes, I will sing with you and for all who are grieving.

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  4. Hello Jan
    Those words, shatteredness and unshaterable
    Encompass some feelings I could not describe… I sing with my little grandson as I spend this time in my daughter’s home… watching outside while living with innocence inside.

    Marie

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    • Poems have that way of describing feelings we often cannot do ourselves. May the innocence you are living with give you strength and comfort to watch the outside world. xoxox

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  5. From the time I first heard the Unbroken @ St Luke’s, it penetrated straight to my heart personally. Its meaning about our human experience in the wake of this tragedy illustrates how the human spirit rises up. Thank you for thoughtfully selecting it for us, Jan. So appreciated.

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  6. Dear Jan: “…we all have that place inside which we can find when we give our grief voice, when we don’t turn away from it but allow it to be as it is until the time when we can once again find our joy and strength.” What wisdom here, when our hearts walk barefoot and bleeding through shards of broken glass. Thank you, dear Jan, for always choosing a poem that speaks to our depths. Love – Mary Lou

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