I cannot tell if it is a phenomenon of aging or if it's just a rush of events, but there have truly been too many losses, too many deaths, in recent months. I had posted a link to this poem previously, because I did not want to lose the spacing - ever so important to a poet - that could not be maintained here in this blog. But now, in the face of more news of losses, I am willing to sacrifice the spacing to share the words.
So, here is the poem entitled "Losses" that I wrote soon after the loss of Jeanne, my dear friend and guardian angel who held my hand and my heart during the rough days of divorce, heartbreak and despair nearly forty years ago. Jeanne had the gift of being present in spirit and in praxis, often coming by my apartment to scoop me up and take me home with her to feed me a meal and watch over my sleep.
I am so grateful to have climbed my way out of the bleakness of depression, despair and suicidal Butoh dances and to have turned my face to the sun. It was as if God found me one day -- that I experienced the presence of God in the peripheries of my life, without being able to name God as God. I knew then that it was my task to find God, or in the terms I would have used thirty years ago, to seek the divine in the world.
(to my sisters)
We must choose, we must choose
to stroke before the swelling tide
to expand our lungs and breathe
to exhort our hearts to feel the power
held in deepest reserves till now
to beat down the denizens bare-souled
to claim our weary,
to live them as best we can
for no better reason
because we can
There have been too many losses
in too many states
of being loved and unloved
(but never unlovable, one hopes)
at war and at peace
but never at rest
If I don't care, does the hurt abate?
If I hadn't cared, is your absence erased?
Too many questions, yin without yang
Unfinished business, it's getting so late
You have heard the knocking at the gate
You have heard the calling of your name
You have heard the ringing of the bells
As one who's struggled through the reasons
jumped in the sea and been forgiven
for less than a perfect showing
Spared the pain for many seasons
I'm at a loss to accept losses now
There are lessons in the turbulent waters
there are angels here on earthly land
their hands stretched out to guide you
home to my heart and my reasons for loving you
home to your safeplace, safe from it all
[August 4, 1995]