In her blog Heart Poems, counselling therapist Jan Falls shares poems that have touched her deeply.  She writes “A gift is meant to be shared, given away to the larger world. These [poems] are gifts I have received that I want to pass on to you. Sometimes doors open that take us places we never could have imagined. I hope you will join me there.”

The following post is republished with permission from Heart Poems.

 

Adrift

by Mark Nepo

Everything is beautiful and I am so sad.
This is how the heart makes a duet of
wonder and grief. The light spraying
through the lace of the fern is as delicate
as the fibers of memory forming their webpexels-photo-bird
around the knot in my throat. The breeze
makes the birds move from branch to branch
as this ache makes me look for those I’ve lost
in the next room, in the next song, in the laugh
of the next stranger. In the very center, under
it all, what we have that no one can take
away and all that we’ve lost face each other.
It is there that I’m adrift, feeling punctured
by a holiness that exists inside everything.
I am so sad and everything is beautiful.

This is a poem that has been speaking to me during a dear friend’s illness and most recently, her death. There are no words, we say after someone dies. But these words express something of what I feel.

Everything is beautiful and I am so sad. / This is how the heart makes a duet of /  wonder and grief.  My heart is tenderly holding this odd composition of two seemingly disparate notions.

The light spraying /  through the lace of the fern is as delicate /  as the fibers of memory forming their web /  around the knot in my throat. Indeed, my throat catches often with tears that sit waiting for an opportunity to spill as my memories spin their complex and gorgeous web.

The breeze /  makes the birds move from branch to branch /  as this ache makes me look for those I’ve lost /  in the next room, in the next song, in the laugh / of the next stranger. All the dear ones who have died before, now come back to me and I seem to hear their voices, see them across the street, before I realize it is the ache I feel that creates these mirages.

In the very center, under / it all, what we have that no one can take / away and all that we’ve lost face each other. This is perhaps the most important line for me. Again, that duet of wonder and grief, what I have that no one can take away and all I have lost, that sits at the center of life, mine and yours.

It is there that I’m adrift, feeling punctured / by a holiness that exists inside everything. /
I am so sad and everything is beautiful. It is a strange kind of feeling lost, unanchored – pierced by the grace of mystery. I am still sad and yet, I can see how much beauty there is all around me. I try to hold both, seeing their differences, seeing how they fit together.

Is this not the miracle of life?  That death comes because it is such an essential part of living. Grieving is also essential to living and when we do, we honour the love that we continue to feel for the person who has died. Grief holds beauty as well as sadness.

Jan Falls

Jan Falls

I am a counseling therapist in private practice, having retired in 2013 from working full time at Carleton University counseling students. My particular focus is being with grief, be it death or the many other losses we encounter in life. You can go to my website to read more about my practice: www.janicefalls.com.
Jan Falls

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