Grief’s Visit

Vendicari, Sicily, Italy
Grief’s Visit

Her dress was drab, a dull brown 
that blended in with everything, the bark 
of the trees, the walnut paneling on the wall, so most 
of the time she didn’t stand out, not the way 
her sister does with her sunny yellows and passionate pinks. 
But today, her chestnut, russet and umber hues held the light 
just enough that you were aware 
of her when she was in the room. 

We sat there together at the kitchen table, hoping 
that if we did something normal, like share 
a cup of tea, we might feel like our usual selves. Her stare 
was ghostly, like she’d left her spirit on the other side 
of the lake during our early morning walk. Her ‘smile’, 
well you couldn’t really call it that; it was a dash 
at the bottom of her face; not like punctuation, more like a cut, 
maybe even a gash, the kind you get when you aren’t paying attention 
and slice into your skin near your fingernail. 

She said she was ravenous for silence and solitude. If 
she could only devour enough of it, she’d get her energy 
back, her body would start working again, the way it used to, 
before. So she stood up somewhat unsteady and left 
for the stillness and sanctuary of bed and covered herself 
up, slowly with the edge of the quilt balled in her hand and pulling it 
all the way around and over her head. 

I share this poem in the spirit of embracing all that is, all of what is in being human. These dark moments hollow us out so that joy can flow back in.

This poem is also part of a collection I put together called All the Shapes of Joy.


Doolin, County Clare, Ireland

This poem was written in response to a prompt in How to Write Poetry: A Guided Journal with Prompts to Ignite Your Imagination related to imagery. The recommendation was to make a list of images conveying grief, anger and love ( I added delight since that is what I happened to be feeling a the time), and then exploring what they have in common.

I grieve
with a deep ache
a longing for something lost;
I hold an emptiness
as thick as a 500-year old tree.
I delight
with a child’s joy
a spontaneous spirit;
an unbound energy
as light as the free-flowing air we breathe.
I anger
filled with fear
a disconnect with my Self;
an instant reaction
as sharp as the blade of the kitchen knife.
I love
my heart wide open
a need to touch something true;
feeling for solid ground
as real as the earth below my two feet.
In life’s vast field,
grief and delight, anger and love
play like cousins
in the grass of spring.

This poem is part of an online collection I call Meditative Blossoms.

blossom into more

Photo by Vicki Flaherty | nasturtium blossoms

“You are built not to shrink to less,

but to blossom into more.

To be more splendid.

To be more extraordinary.

To use every moment to fill yourself up.”

~Opray Winfrey

I find these words inspiring, a beautiful reminder that we are here to feel alive, an invitation to embrace the little joys that arise in a day and allow them to feed our spirit.