What loneliness is more lonely than distrust? – George Eliot
It’s possible I am pushing through solid rock
in flintlike layers, as the ore lies, alone;
I am such a long way in I see no way through,
and no space: everything is close to my face,
and everything close to my face is stone.
I don’t have much knowledge yet in grief –
so this massive darkness makes me small.
You be the master: make yourself fierce, break in:
then your great transforming will happen to me,
and my great grief cry will happen to you.
Perfection Wasted – John Updike
And another regrettable thing about death
is the ceasing of your own brand of magic,
which took a whole life to develop and market—
the quips, the witticisms, the slant
adjusted to a few, those loved ones nearest
the lip of the stage, their soft faces blanched
in the footlight glow, their laughter close to tears,
their tears confused with their diamond earrings,
their warm pooled breath in and out with your heartbeat,
their response and your performance twinned.
The jokes over the phone. The memories packed
in the rapid-access file. The whole act.
Who will do it again? That’s it: no one;
imitators and descendants aren’t the same.
Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.
Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.
Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.
Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.
To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.
Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.
Jane Kenyon, “Let Evening Come” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2005
There are some griefs so loud
They could bring down the sky,
And there are griefs so still
None knows how deep they lie,
Endured, never expended.
There are old griefs so proud
They never speak a word
They never can be mended
And these nourish the will
And keep it iron-hard.
Photo: Grindstone, Maine – September 2019
Still my unforgiving thoughts, the grudges I nurse from my past, from the betrayals I’ve suffered, from the negativity and abuses I’ve been subject to. Quiet in me the guilt I carry from my own betrayals. Still in me all that’s wounded, unresolved, bitter, and unforgiving. Give the quiet that comes from forgiveness. – Ronald Rolheiser
that New Year’s Eve
we stood on the hill
above the vineyard
rise above the lake
from Pieve to Anghiari
later in the stillness
of the barn the cat chasing
our shadows on the wall
a moment so full
if today we could talk
we’d agree we had no better
earlier at the bar in Caprese
Michelangelo we couldn’t decide
what to drink to the new year
vin santo an old man said
holding up his glass
certo vin santo
Photo: Casa Singerna, Caprese Michelangelo, IT – January 2005 – J. Dewaters
Three years ago – a little more than 1 month sober – I was in a mental hospital after a suicide attempt. I was pretty sure I could fool the people there into thinking I was ok, get out, and do the job right the next time.
This morning at one of my favorite AA meetings, I saw a woman I met at that hospital. She caught my eye and we smiled at each other across the room. We spoke for a few moments after the meeting and hugged.
She looked healthy, happy and I could see that she thought the same about me.
I have not forgotten all that I did in the past. I did all that, yes. Today, my addictions do not define me.
Thank you, Alcoholics Anonymous. Thank God.
in recollection of 12.22.2016 and in grateful recovery 12.22.2019
Wait, for now.
Distrust everything, if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven’t they
carried you everywhere, up to now?
Personal events will become interesting again.
Hair will become interesting.
Pain will become interesting.
Buds that open out of season will become lovely again.
Second-hand gloves will become lovely again,
their memories are what give them
the need for other hands. And the desolation
of lovers is the same: that enormous emptiness
carved out of such tiny beings as we are
asks to be filled; the need
for the new love is faithfulness to the old.
Don’t go too early.
You’re tired. But everyone’s tired.
But no one is tired enough.
Only wait a while and listen.
Music of hair,
Music of pain,
music of looms weaving all our loves again.
Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
most of all to hear,
the flute of your whole existence,
rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.