Friday, January 29, 2016

A Shard of Moonlight

Photo by McD22

Pain is inevitable in this here and now living. Though we do everything we can to throw it off as quickly as possible into someone else's hands, like a game of hot potato, don't let it land here. And if it does, there must be someone to blame. Over the last week or so I sat with a friend whose father died only a few weeks before her two-month-old son was born. Another friend lost her vibrant, lovely twenty-year-old son. I grieve for the numberless children poisoned by lead-laden water. I want to close my ears to the debacle of our political system. The world is a mess and it hurts. I wish I had answers for all this grief or reasons to explain it, but I have known grief and I know there are no quick fixes, no easy answers. When I stumbled upon this lovely poem by Mary Pratt, I felt my heart warm, the sadness lessen. Perhaps it will do that for you, too.

by Mary Pratt

~after David Weinstock

If you won’t tell how I cried,
I won’t tell how you left.
You won’t tell my raging, either,
how I blamed you for everything:
my sister’s dying, the terrorists,
war, cancer and pain, blindness,

So you won’t tell
how I slammed doors, broke goblets,
made a fool of myself every time
I remembered. And I won’t tell how
quiet you were, how you wouldn’t
turn back when I called.

I won’t tell
of the blank, the emptiness
of the faceless winter sky
with its perfect stillness of stars,
the hollowness of the laughter
at feasts, the blandness of Rilke
and Bach.
You mocked me
with happinesses, with sunrises
and hymns, but I won’t tell.
You won’t tell how I tried,
and later, how I stopped trying,
believing as fervently in your absence,
and I won’t tell

how it amazes me
that people still fall in love,
that somebody in that shabby
brown house practices Beethoven’s
piano sonatas with all the windows open,
that strangers dig through the rubble
with bare hands, over and over,
trying to pull strangers back to life.
And especially I won’t tell

how you returned,
how the stories went on,
how the grass grew
green again and again after the snows,
the days lengthened, the chicks hatched
and the moon rose in a thin
white shard.

Catherine hosts the roundup this week at Reading to the Core.


  1. Wow. Thanks for sharing, Doraine. And sending you hugs; I know you've been a comfort to these mentioned here.
    (By the way - I couldn't get your link to work in the PF Roundup?)

  2. I''m sorry for the losses of your friends, Dori, and understand the worries you also mentioned. I worry too, at least I feel a tension that has not been there in other years. The poem is so quiet, but is also a rage, isn't it? And a sadness that stays. Thank you.

  3. Oh my, this is potent. There is a lot to be said for facing all the hurts and griefs, naming them, like Pratt does in her poem, and in this way talking oneself around to hope again. Her poem reminds me a bit of some of the psalms where the writer starts in the depths of despair, but by the end,praise flows again. In order to keep going we need to hang onto that "thin white shard" don't we.

  4. You are right about there being no quick fix for grief. The loss of a loved one is a permanent scar that may fade as the grass grows green again, but will never leaves us. Thank you for sharing this today, Dori.