Grieving through Poetry...

Hello everyone. I love poetry and I find it can have such a profound effect on our emotions, whatever they may be. I would love us to share any poems or quotes anyone has found or indeed written themselves. Poetry may not be for everyone but I thought it might be helpful in the hope that it may bring a little comfort to us all. I’ll start us off with my favourite Pooh Bear one which I have put on various threads already but I think it’s a very apt one to begin with:

If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together…
There is something you must always remember.
You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and
Smarter than you think.
But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart…
I’ll always be with you.

Sending love to everyone xx

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I love this poem.

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare,
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep and cows
No time to see, when Woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

W H Davies

I love to be outside… On the Moor, by the river, through the fields, in the woods… I find it very therapeutic. I have many stopping places in the vicinity of home and I’m good at stopping and staring. I think how fortunate I am to be able to do these things. I wonder if my wife’s atoms have been recycled yet and could I have seen that new life. Sometimes I take my sketchbook and draw.

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Ah, a classic YorkshireLad. We should all slow down to take the time to stop and stare. What a lovely, relaxing pastime it must be to draw. Alas, it’s not a skill I possess. Thank you for sharing. Much love xx

Good evening Kate and Yorkshire Lad and thank you…I too have found great comfort from reading poetry and this poem by Kahlil Gibran is particularly meaningful to me.

Life and death are one, even as the river and sea are one.
In the depths of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of Spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity…
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then shall you begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Take care x

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Thank you Amelie’sgran, beautiful and very thought provoking. One for me to add to my collection. I’m not familiar with the author, I must look up. Xx

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Oh Kate, what a great thread. I LOVE poetry and have found a few exquisitely sad, beautiful and hopeful things in my grief.

Amelie’sgran, I had that Gibran piece in my Ken’s funeral leaflet. It’s so beautiful.

I think one of my very favourites is these few lines from Dylan Thomas:

“They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.”

Another favourite is by Auden:

As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river
I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
‘Love has no ending.

‘I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street,

‘I’ll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.

‘The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
And the first love of the world.’

And this quote, which I put in the paper for a memorial on the anniversary of Ken’s death:

“And I’d choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you.” ― Kiersten White, The Chaos of Stars

I can’t wait till I’ve got a spare moment to read/add more

Love to all,

Louise xo

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Lord Tennyson:

“Never, oh! never, nothing will die;
The stream flows,
The wind blows,
The cloud fleets,
The heart beats,
Nothing will die.”

Auden - and this one is really sad, but we all know what it’s like to feel it:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling in the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

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And I framed Sonnet 43, from Mrs. Browning, for my Ken:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

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Hello Louise, how good it is to hear from you. More classics, thank you. I had ‘Stop all the clocks’ read at my husband’s funeral. Oh but that quote ‘And I’d choose you…’ it’s wonderful. Thank you again. I think I’m going to put all of these poems / quotes in a book to keep. Thanks to you all for sharing. Xx

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I have come into the hour of a white healing.
Griefs surgery is over and I wear
The scar of my remorse and of my feeling.

I have come into a sudden sunlit hour
When ghosts are scared to corners. I have come
Into the time when grief begins to flower

Into a new love. It had filled my room
Long before I recognised it. Now
I speak its name. Grief finds its good way
home.

The apple blossom’s handsome on the bough
And paradise spreads round. I touch its grass.
I want to celebrate but I don’t know how.

I need not speak though everyone I pass
Stares at me kindly. I would put my hand
Into their hands. Now I have lost my loss

In some way I may later understand.
I hear the singing of the summer grass.
And love, I find, has no considered end.

Nor is it subject to the wilderness
Which follows death. I am not traitor to
A person or a memory. I trace

Behind that love another which is running
Around, ahead. I need not ask its meaning.

Elizabeth Jennings

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Another one for my book, thank you YorkshireLad. X

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 glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I an the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I did not die.

Mary Elizabeth Frye

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Ah, that old favourite. Keep them coming…xx

I mentioned my youngest granddaughter in another thread recently. At 19, she asked if she could read a poem at her Nanny’s funeral, which went well. She was happy for me to suggest one, being more likely to know her favorites, and I went for “Leisure” by WH Davies, the poem Yorkshire Lad quotes above. A great favourite of my wife.

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In my eulogy I mentioned Eileen’s love of poetry, and her impressive ability to quote long passages from memory. I mentioned that a copy of Housman’s “Shropshire Lad” was still on her bedside table, and I quoted a few lines,

“That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went,
And cannot come again.”

Whilst quoting that I came closer to breaking than at any other point in my eulogy, but she helped me hold things together.

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Good morning Edwin. I think you were amazingly brave to deliver the eulogy at your wife’s funeral. Poetry can be very powerful. I too have Housman’s book. I think me and your lovely wife would have got on very well.
How about this simple one liner written by Vivian Greene:

My love for you is undying, therefore so are you…

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I found this one in a book by Abi May, author unknown:

They are not dead,
Who leave us this great heritage
Of remembering joy.

They still live in our hearts,
In the happiness we knew,
In the dreams we shared.
They still breathe,
In the lingering fragrance, windblown,
From their favourite flowers.

They still smile in the moonlight’s silver,
And laugh in the sunlight’s sparking gold.
They still speak in the echo of the words
We’ve heard them say again and again.

They still move,
In the rhythm of waving grasses,
In the dance of the tossing branches.
They are not dead;
Their memory is warm in our hearts,
Comfort in our sorrow.

They are not apart from us,
But part of us,
For love is eternal,
And those we love shall be with us
Throughout all eternity.

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That is almost perfect. It speaks to me so well.

Thanks for sharing this Kate. Perfect. Xx

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