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Talking to Grief, a Poem

Talking to Grief, a Poem

I am completely grateful when people share poetry with me, especially when that poem courts the topic of grief with careful simplicity, honest and eloquent.

My favorite poems about grief do either one of two things: express my own experience in a way I never could put words to or call on me to think differently about my experience.

It’s a special thing when a poem can do both.

Today I’m paying forward a beautiful grief poem written by Denise Levertov that was shared with me by a fellow reader and friend. (Thank you, S.)

The first time I read this, it’s not that I felt validated – my grief felt validated. Each subsequent read makes me realize how very important it is to make space for all that we feel, all that we are, all that we hope for.

The more I read this poem, the more I can see another, kinder way to live with grief.

May it call up your compassion the way it does for me.

My favorite poems about grief do either one of two things: express my own experience in words in a way I never could or call on me to think differently about my experience. It’s a special thing when a poem can do both. Today I’m paying forward a beautiful grief poem written by Denise Levertov. May it call up your compassion the way it does for me.

Talking to Grief, a Poem by Denise Levertov

Ah, Grief, I should not treat you

like a homeless dog

who comes to the back door

for a crust, for a meatless bone.

I should trust you.

 

I should coax you

into the house and give you

your own corner,

a worn mat to lie on,

your own water dish.

 

You think I don’t know you’ve been living

under my porch.

You long for your real place to be realized

before winter comes. You need

your name,

your collar and tag. You need

the right to warn off intruders,

to consider

my house your own

and me your person

and yourself

my own dog.

Denise Levertov

. . .

For encouragement cards that honor the depth of the people in your life, check out my hand lettered collection here.

Tell me:

Did this poem shine a new light on grief for you, or make you think differently about your experience?

Tell me in the comments.

Everything you share here helps more than you could know.

With warmth,

Jen

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Comments on this post (1)

  • Dec 13, 2021

    I like that poem. It reminds me of my dog Melancholy.

    — Jim

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