hymn of wonder and grief

hymn of wonder and grief

a close friend
is struck by a
brain-stem
stroke—a
fir half-broken
still stretching
toward light
her daughters
have traveled to
be by her bed
it’s bad, they said
will she live?
can she write?
change is the given
I know this and yet
the echo in my chest
is a hymn of both
wonder and grief

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—not final versions.

a Pantoum on grief

The Pantoum is a poetry form originating in 15th century Malaysia.
It uses a pattern of repetition; the second and fourth lines serve as
the first and third lines of the stanza that follows.

grief

a pantoum in practice
(with thanks to Emily Dickinson for “dwindled dawn”)

every grief is a true grief
a different flavor of love
if we do not love
we cannot grieve

a different flavor of love
without heart opening
we cannot grieve
what if we welcome it?

without heart opening
life is a dwindled dawn
what if we welcome it?
sorrow and joy, one song

life is a dwindled dawn
strangled without love
sorrow and joy, one song
we’re asked to hold them both

we cannot grieve
if we do not love

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—they may never turn into anything more or they might flower.

the thin line

Feeling downI am watching my son grieve the loss of his partner, Bill. I am stunned by the grace by which he faces this grief. He meets it daily as he takes on tasks completely new to him: calling people to break the news, helping to give away his partner’s belongings, choosing a few special items to keep himself. And those acute moments where he turns to tell Bill something–only to remember that he is gone. I clearly remember my mother going through that after my father’s fatal heart attack.

I cannot relieve my son’s pain. I can only love him unconditionally, and listen with care when he needs to talk. Or wail. Or have moments of anger that Bill didn’t attend to the clear symptoms that something was amiss.

Here we are in this raw, tender vessel called life–one big living, dying, birthing, exploding wonder. Awareness, seemingly playing out in this field called manifestation, yet never taking form, or changing form, at all.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit

Moore, Oklahoma

Monroe OklahomaI couldn’t find words when I posted yesterday afternoon. But last night, in a monthly writing group, this showed up during the free-write period.

Today, in Moore, Oklahoma, lives were literally blown wide open–and the litter of lives spun high, then twirled down, some pieces found ninety miles away in Tulsa.

Buildings exploded–folded, twisted, crushed–and within them, some bodies were impaled, crushed, and even drowned. One man’s whole livelihood lay in his herd of eighty horses. Only one is left. Oh… oh my, where are the rest?

Two elementary schools took the direct hit. A teacher lay on top of her third-graders to protect them from flying projectiles of debris. Those children survived; she may not.

What was once a sheltering, seemingly sturdy elementary school lies as unrecognizable wreckage. As I watched the half-hour news, the death count rose from fifteen to thirty-seven to fifty-one. Then dark fell. Just the beginning. This “event” as newscasters call it–was deemed three times worse than the one nearby last year that killed 167 people. Today we learned the twister tipped the scale at EF5–a mile and a half wide, with winds up to two hundred ten miles an hour. Close to twenty square miles, flattened. One consolation–the death toll was reduced to twenty-four.

One powerful x#%!# tornado.

The mind wants to make a story–what wrath have we called upon us? But that is simply a creation of thought that, grasping on to sensations we name helplessness, demands some kind of answer. The mind wants to rail–we go to war for billions of dollars, but do not build safe rooms in schools for our children to ride out a tornado.

There are no answers. Nothing can give back to these people, what–on a relative level–they have lost.

But love can help. Send love, and if you can, money, to our very own hurt and wounded self.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit