Good Tuesday, d’Versians! It’s Lisa, with Poetics. I know Spring is a time for new life, the end of a long winter, and hope is walking beside us along the path. Why then, does my mind turn to death and loss? Along with the light of Spring also walks the shadow of death in the forms of war, pestilence, environmental destruction, the quickly-approaching depletion of fossil energy fuel to power our machines, and billionaires desperately trying to get off of the planet while there is time.
loss, by Alex Elle:
the question is as hard as
swallowing rocks and as
brutal as stormy waters
crashing to shore.
The question is not always why,
but how do we let go without
falling apart – without crumbling
from loosening our grip on what
was and what could have been.
Life and death don’t apply only to living organisms. It can apply to ways of living, ways of thinking, ways of feeling. Like a tree grows, gradual change seems to suit our species best. But what happens when change is thrust upon us, without any consent or preparation? How many of us were prepared for Covid? How many for sweeping environmental disasters that are peppering the planet more and more? How many are adjusting to the wanton attacks in Europe by the Russian Psychopath? These unasked-for and unprepared-for changes are asking each of us to adjust our ways of doing and being that it is difficult to fully keep up with, especially when they have been compounded over the past few years; and honestly, show no signs of abating.
Excerpt from, “Constancy,” by Joseph Brodsky:
To die, to abandon a family, to go away for good,
to change hemispheres, to let new ovals
be painted into the square—the more
volubly will the gray cell insist
on its actual measurements, demanding
daily sacrifice from the new locale,
from the furniture, from the silhouette in a yellow
dress; in the end—from your very self.
From the Elizabeth Kubler Ross Foundation website:
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D. (July 8, 1926 – August 24, 2004) was a Swiss-born psychiatrist, a pioneer in Near-death studies and the author of the groundbreaking book On Death and Dying (1969,) where she first discussed what is now known as the Kübler-Ross model. In this work she proposed the now famous Five Stages of Grief™ as a pattern of adjustment. These five stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The five stages have since been adopted into The Kübler-Ross Change Curve™ by many corporations to train employees in change and loss.
Losses by Wesley McNair
It must be difficult for God, listening
to our voices come up through his floor
of cloud to tell Him what’s been taken away:
Lord, I’ve lost my dog, my period, my hair,
all my money. What can He say, given
we’re so incomplete we can’t stop being
surprised by our condition, while He
is completeness itself? Or is God more
like us, made in His image—shaking His head
because He can’t be expected to keep track
of which voice goes with what name and address,
He being just one God. Either way, we seem
to be left here to discover our losses, everything
from car keys to larger items we can’t search
our pockets for, destined to face them
on our own. Even though the dentist gives us
music to listen to and the assistant looks down
with her lovely smile, it’s still our tooth
he yanks out, leaving a soft spot we ponder
with our tongue for days. Left to ourselves,
we always go over and over what’s missing—
tooth, dog, money, self-control, and even losses
as troubling as the absence the widower can’t stop
reaching for on the other side of his bed a year
later. Then one odd afternoon, watching something
as common as the way light from the window
lingers over a vase on the table, or how the leaves
on his backyard tree change colors all at once
in a quick wind, he begins to feel a lightness,
as if all his loss has led to finding just this.
Only God knows where the feeling came from,
or maybe God’s not some knower off on a cloud,
but there in the eye, which tears up now
at the strangest moments, over the smallest things.
Today’s challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to choose one or more of Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) to write about, in relation to your, or another’s, current state of being. Or maybe you aren’t in any of these stages at all. Write about that. There will be few restrictions on the writing challenge today.
If you are new, here’s how to join in:
•Write a poem in response to the challenge.
•You will find links to other poets and more will join, so check back later to read their poems.
•Read and comment on other poets’ work–we all come here to have our poems read.
•Please link back to dVerse from your site/blog.
Alex Elle’s poem here
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross foundation website here
Joseph Brodsky’s poem here
Wesley McNair’s poem here
Top image: “Garden in Sochi,” by Arshile Gorky found here
Aeon Flux’ image here