Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Burden of Grief

I think I know about grief
the five thousand stages
until five thousand one lurks
then takes hold and I’m stricken
pain gouged raw and laid bare
open, visible heart beating out the pain.

I unwittingly become a study in pain.
How does she get through that grief
when her being is a cavern bared
the never ending succession of stages
die then resurrect and she strives
to remain whole though the demons lurk

Beneath the smile and even joy lurks
a villain real and filled with pain
paused in limbo but ready to strike
death’s claw unacknowledged in stages
regardless of the happiness I bore.

How can one be so stricken
so utterly and completely barren
of any sign of the companion grief,
hope each day will differ when there lurks
the hovering relentlessness of pain
lying in wait for one slip on life’s stage.

I can no longer remember the stages
that I went through when death struck.
All I remember is feeling the pain
that ripped me up and laid bare
my heart for those to see that lurked.

Deliver me from grief and it’s stages
that lurks ready to pounce and strike,
bare my life as it is; a cavern of pain.


Victoria said...

Oh JUDY!!!!!! I thought I hated sestinas but this is GREAT and powerful and true and everything poetry should be - and I want to wrap you up in a big hard hug -and am glad you can transform your pain into beautiful art.

Mary said...

A truly amazing, though gut-wrenching, sestina. Whew! You mastered the form.

Darrell said...


"Beneath the smile and even joy lurks
a villain as real as full of pain
paused in limbo but ready to strike
death's claw unacknowledged in stages
regardless of the happiness you bore."

WOW. That explains exactly how I have felt lately. I just told Mary the other day that I hadn't cried about Mom lately, but I know the pain is still there, waiting for me to revisit it again. Hard days ahead--Mother's Day first. She started feeling sick on Mother's Day last year. Michelle was going to take her out for lunch, but Mom was too tired to go. Then on the 19th came the diagnosis. Then we arrived on the 29th, then her birthday on June 4th, then 3 days later, the end. It's going to be a very tough few weeks, even though I feel like I have finally arrived in the acceptance stage of my grief. I've "accepted" Mom's death, very grudgingly. These past 2 months have been a blur of activity for me, with field trips for the kids, volunteer reading at the school, settling our new livestock in, mowing our acreage twice a week, my job, etc. It has all conveniently cushioned me against the oncoming wave of emotions that I know is just waiting for me to join in. It's scary, but I know it's necessary. But I will not be beaten down, I will hold on for dear life, to all of the wonderful things Mom gave us. Thanks for your poem, Judy. I feel like you are the pioneer in grief therapy, and I am far behind on the trail you are blazing. Your words really ring true. Love, Darrell

Judy said...

Darrell, It's nice to read your words though I know you will have a hard time for a bit here. The first Mother's Day and then her birthday without her. You are so busy and that's a very good thing. The best thing probably for the upcoming month. Iwastthinking about her and missing her when I realized she wouldn't be there this birthday. I thought about you and Michelle and Kevin and Bruce (and Gina though she won't suffer I hope), and Mother's Day and your mom's birthday. I was missing her and thinking of how hard this must be for all of you. I know your mom was so proud of you all and loved you so much. What a wonderful mom she was. You can just celebrate that on Mother's Day. :) Love and hugs to you and your family

Peggy said...

Wow Judy what a sestina! And apart from the form what a poem. I am so glad to come here and be treated to your wonderful works.