One of the ways in which I have found solace in my own grief is through poetry. Here are a few of the poems that have given me the most comfort as I have moved through my own grief.
Adrift, by 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.
The Unbroken, by Rashani Reo
There is a brokenness
Out of which comes the unbroken,
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.
Let This Darkness be a Bell Tower by Rainer Maria Rilke (tr. Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)
Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell.
As you ring, what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.
In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.
And if the world has ceased to hear you,
Say to silent earth, “I flow.”
To the rushing water, speak, “I am.”