The Thing Is (A Poem by Ellen Bass)

I love these words, written by Ellen Bass, American Poet and Writer. Because they speak to the difficulty that so many of us know, that I know. Because these words speak to the simple of going on, that so many of us know, that I know.

I love the book that contains this poem, How Lovely The Ruins: Inspirational Poems and Words for Difficult Times, that was recently loaned to my by a new friend. I love having such a friend.


The Thing Is

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, it’s 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, not violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you again.