Wednesday, February 22, 2012

,,,when you have no stomach for it…

I try to remember not to have poems on my blog unless I have permission from the poet, or the poet is dead. I am not someone who subscribes to the current popular notion that everything should be free. Why should teachers and bakers and call-centre staff get paid for their work, and artists and writers and musicians give their labour for nothing? So I asked Ellen Bass, who wrote the following piece, for her permission to use it on my blog. I thought there might be one of you who finds it helpful today.

The Thing Is

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you've held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.

Ellen Bass

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