Encouragement > Books, Quotes, Poems, and Songs

Poems That Speak To You

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The first one is a Sonnet he printed out for me on our first Valentine's Day together, framed along with a  photo of us.

Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.  


And this one I came across recently

My Love Is Lost

My love is lost.
I held it as a handful of sand, clenching my fist
to hold it there.
Yet, bit by bit, it slipped through my straining fingers.
Now, nothing but memories of every smile, every kiss,
and, above all, every word.
For 'twas not into my ear you whispered but into
my heart.
'Twas not my lips you kissed, but my soul.
And when I opened my tired hand and found my
love was gone
I trembled and died.
I struggle to hide my deadness.
To conceal the emptiness in my eyes,
that sparkle with tears always so close
but never come.
My mind quivers and screams, fight, fight to live
But why?
My handful of existence has vanished.
My love is lost.
My love is lost.

~Judy Garland

This makes me cry almost every time I read it.

The Thing Is by Ellen Bass

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you've held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.

From the HuffPost common grief article "I'm Not a 'Good' Widow (and That's Okay)"  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nora-mcinerny-purmort/you-do-not-have-to-be-good_b_9283332.html

You do not have to be good.
 You do not have to walk on your knees
 For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
 You only have to let the soft animal of your body
 love what it loves.
 Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
 Meanwhile the world goes on.

-- Mary Oliver, Wild Geese

ETA - just finished reading through the whole article.  I think this may be my favorite line - can I have it on a t shirt please?

Hard things are hard, and while they can someday teach you a lesson or make you a stronger person, they are entirely capable of just beating the everloving shit out of you and leaving you emotionally dead and physically exhausted.

I also dig this one:

Your job, when bad shit happens, is to get through it however you can. It is not your job to make your life more palatable for other people.

and this one:
It's okay if sometimes you hate your friends for having things you don't have anymore, and then you hate yourself for hating perfectly nice people who love you, just because their husbands are alive! That's okay!

Here's a poem by the great English writer Thomas Hardy. It's not uplifting (that wasn't his thing), but it's pretty powerful.


I dream that the dearest I ever knew
Has died and been entombed.
I am sure it's a dream that cannot be true,
But I am so overgloomed
By its persistence, that I would gladly
Have quick death take me,
Rather than longer think thus sadly;
So wake me, wake me!

It has lasted days, but minute and hour
I expect to get aroused
And find him as usual in the bower
Where we so happily housed.
Yet stays this nightmare too appalling,
And like a web shakes me,
And piteously I keep on calling,
And no one wakes me!

Just came across it readin the kids to sleep. From Silverstein, I remember "where the sidewalk ends" but not this book, "everything on it". Kids poems, by a fine poet, at least in my uncultured estimation.
"Oh, where are you goin, my Jimmy-Jack-John,
With only the moon for your light?"
"I'm goin' roundin search of the dawn,
And I'll prob'ly be gone most of the night."

"Oh, why are you cryin', my Jimmy-Jack-John,
And why do you stare out to sea?"
"I'm thinkin' that over the waves of the pond
The dawn lies a-waitin' for me."

 "But why do you wander, my Jimmy-Jack-John,
A-roamin' in search of the blue?
Just wrap yourself tight in this blanket of night
And the dawn will come to you."


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