Friday, February 5, 2010

Three Poems for James Wright - February 5, 2010

1. Hearing of Your Illness

I went out

from the news of your illness

like a broken bone...

...Then I lay down in a rank and spring-sweet field...

...small creatures rustling about, living their lives

as they do, moment by moment.

I felt better, telling them about you.

They know what pain is, and they knew you,...


merely loved you and waited

to take you back...

...meanwhile not missing one shred of their own

assignments of song

and muscle-

what I learned there, so I

got up finally, with a grief

worthy of you, and went home.

2. Early Morning in Ohio

...I remember

what you said.

And think how somewhere in Tuscany

a small spider might eve now

be stepping forth, testing

the silks of her web, the morning air,

the possibilities; maybe even, who knows,

singing a tiny song.

3. The Rose

...the news came

that nothing

could come to you

in time



I put down the phone

and I thought I saw, on the floor of the room, suddenly,

a large box,...

...but what it was-the voice

of a small bird singing inside, Lord,

how it sang, and kept singing!

how it keeps singing!

in its deep

and miraculous


There is a song behind death and grief, which seems we can only hear if we know the sorrow of our hearts as they beat with the rhythm of the world. All things singing, all things shining. I am hear to listen, to sing, and to be the mirror that reflects back all things shining. So clear is this note of life's passionate melody for me after reading this poem. Thank you Mary.

Do you hear a song behind your pain and grief?


  1. Music and song has played an important role in my life. I do not have a good voice and only attempt to sing at the fellowship or in the car and when I'm alone.
    We had a teacher who had been an opera singer before coming to our school. When asked to perform she had a favorite selection from Porgy and Bess. She died suddenly and unexpectedly. Her sister came down from New York. During the viewing her sister met many of us for the first time. She also knew Fredie (Aphroditie Fredricka Kalogerakis) would not want us to be sad for long and we should celebrate her life. She suggested that we all hold hands and sing that favorite song. About fifty of us did. It helped everyone and afterwards we all chatted and reminised of the happy times we had with Fredie, many of which her sister had never heard. After the funeral at the cemetary we again joined hands and sang Fredie's favorite song as the casket was lowered into the ground. It was more meaningful than other funerals I have attended. I have a cassett recording of Fredie singing her favorite that I cherish. I made a copy for her sister to have, also.

  2. Dear Sally,

    My question was "do you hear a song behind pain and grief" and yet it seems that you hear a song of pain and grief, and hence interconnecting beauty and belonging.

    Thank you for sharing,