A number of people read our article “The Healing Power of Poetry,” and responded by sharing poems that have supported them and brought healing on their grief journey. Just this past month at the memorial service in Tucson for those killed and wounded in the shooting, a poem was read. Poetry often has a unique way of speaking to and from the heart.
This brief poem by W. S. Merwin captures what I felt after the loss of my own parents and close friends.
“Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle
Everything I do is stitched with its color.”
For me, poems capture those ”stitched with color” feelings in a way that other words cannot.
Here are lines from poems and other comments our readers have shared with us. It is easy to see that the words they read touched their hearts, and allowed them to share a bit of their own poetry and writing. Offering the opportunity to express the many faces of grief can be a powerful way to support those you love as they move through their grief journeys. If any of these excerpts speak especially to you, you can read them in full in “The Healing Power of Poetry” by typing “poetry” into the search box.
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
Earth teach me quiet ~ as the grasses are still with new light. –
Earth teach me courage ~ as the tree that stands alone. –
Earth teach me acceptance ~ as the leaves die each fall. —
Earth teach me renewal ~ as the seed rises in the spring. –
“When it is over…I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.” – What a beautiful reminder… to be active participants in our own lives, no matter what has happened in the past.”
I sit here trying to understand why
The time you came and you used your wings to fly
I know that the circle of life includes a move
It seems that the move came so very soon…
From Registered Nurse: Written by her son for his sister who died.
Cancer picked a fight with my sister.
But what cancer did not know was that my sister is a fighter.
She fought and fought the cancer
And so cancer decided to start a war…
But what cancer did not know and does not know and can never know
Is that my sister is an Angel.
And in that place where she now resides, not cancer nor any other torment
Can touch her ever again.
From Steve: A poem he wrote after the loss of his wife.
I’ll never kiss your lips again
Nor touch your soft and tender skin.
Nor look into your eyes of blue
Nor whisper secrets just we knew…
Although we are far apart.
Forever is where you are in my heart.
I just want to say how much I am moved by your response. What wonderful sentiments and poetry from the heart. I know they will speak to others who visit here. – I was haunted and healed by this song that captures what she must have felt the last 4 months of her life.
I felt the faint trace of thunder
Rattle this old house…
I need a hurricane
To empty out this place…
To salvage any sense I have left to move on
I felt the faint trace of thunder
But there’s no sign of rain anywhere
No, there’s no sign of you anywhere.
From Ally: A poem she wrote for her husband.
I miss your face, kiss your head, hold your hand, hear your voice, touch your skin, feel you close, help you, hold you, speak your name, all forbidden pastures in my pain. Wishing, praying, standing, walking, staying in the moment trying so hard for you baby…I love you.
From Nancy: After the death of her son.
Thanks to all of you for the lovely poetry. I have written poetry about my father’s death…I intend to write more in the future, but death is too traumatic this time to get my thoughts on paper.
You can shed tears that she is gone,
Or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray she’ll come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all she’s left…
Or you can do what she’d want:
Smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
Thanks so much for all the beautiful poetry…It has helped me deal with some of the pain of losing my 15 year old sister…
Such wonderful poems! Each strikes a note with me and makes me recall that I too can write, and should. It’s all just a bit too close right now so as someone wrote “Waiting is.” I’ll visit here frequently and find these words that help me express myself. Bless you all!
Poetry can be a wonderful way to express and understand feelings that are often otherwise difficult to put into words. Sharing poetry that you love, and encouraging others to write as they face their grief can be a tender way to remind them that there are many paths to healing.
Poems are a way of remembering, feeling, healing and recovering hope for the future. We encourage you to write your own poems or thoughts –it could be just one or two lines, or something longer – and share it here. You may also share lines from another author’s work that has spoken to you in your times of need.
There is no greater gift than allowing someone to share in the emotions that you feel as you work towards healing and growth. How wonderful to be able to share that gift here, with this supportive community.