I'm going to use the poem below in my workshop tonight. I think it's a great example of the power of poetry to transform grief and loss into something redemptive. Healing. The first time I read it, I was still struggling a lot with the death of my sister. It was Christmas, one of my sister's favorite times of the year. A friend gave me Smith's collection Life On Mars as a gift. And I found this poem.
Yes, it is filled with death and loss. But it also has more than a little eternity in it, which is comforting.
Saint Marty is looking forward to sharing this poem this evening with people.
by: Tracy K. Smith
That death was thinking of you or me
Or our family, or the woman
Our father would abandon when he died.
Death was thinking what it owed him:
His ride beyond the body, its garments,
Beyond the taxes that swarm each year,
The car and its fuel injection, the fruit trees
Heavy in his garden. Death led him past
The aisles of tools, the freezer lined with meat,
The television saying over and over Seek
And ye shall find. So why do we insist
He has vanished, that death ran off with our
Everything worth having? Why not that he was
Swimming only through this life--his slow,
Graceful crawl, shoulders rippling,
Legs slicing away at the waves, gliding
Further into what life itself denies?
He is only gone so far as we can tell. Though
When I try, I see the white cloud of his hair
In the distance like an eternity.