inspiration #33 : poems for grieving.

by s.m.

I apologize for returning with such a downer but I’ve been working like crazy on the THIRD (and final!) book in the Francesca sequence and it’s been emotionally draining.  spoiler alert: someone dies.  so I’ve had to work through all of that.  it was a great feeling to take some old poetry anthologies off my bookshelf and flip through them, looking for just the right poems to express my characters’ emotions.  and I did.  that’s the great comfort of poetry: someone has worked incredibly hard to put the right words in the right order to express something that will resonate with you.

and then, as a complete surprise, today I stumbled across this lovely piece by Joy Katz on the Poetry Foundation website, in which she writes about the poems that spoke to her after her mother’s death.  particularly resonant to what I’m writing:

The ones that sustain me, I find, have to do with living people, humans who mourn, rather than with the departed. These poems are not “like” grieving—they are not lamentations—but instead open up the isolating process of mourning. They translate sorrow through poetic form rather than confining it to a metaphor.

I don’t think I’m giving anything away by sending you to the one I found, in an old paperback Modern Poets anthology I bought at a book sale for $1, Edna St Vincent Millay’s “Dirge Without Music”.