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Poetry About Loss, Grief, and Healing

When someone you love dies, it is natural to look for something that connects to what you are feeling. Be it anger, sadness, overwhelm, grief- we turn to what is familiar and comforting. For some, that is music, or maybe a book and for others, that may be poetry. April is National Poetry Month and a wonderful opportunity to share a collection of beautiful poems about grief and loss and healing. May you find something here that speaks to you in whatever way you may need.

 

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

By E. E. Cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

my heart)i am never without it(anywhere

i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

 

                                                      i fear

no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want

no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

 

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

 

 

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)      

 


The Window

By Rumi

Your body is away from me

but there is a window open

5 from my heart to yours.

From this window, like the moon

I keep sending news secretly.



All Is Well

By Henry Scott Holland

Death is nothing at all,

I have only slipped into the next room

I am I and you are you

Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by my old familiar name,

 

Speak to me in the easy way which you always used

Put no difference in your tone,

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.

 

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,

Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.

It is the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?

 

I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,

Just around the corner.

All is well.

 


Nothing Gold Can Stay

By Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.



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.

 


A Happy Man

By Edwin Arlington Robinson

When these graven lines you see,

Traveller, do not pity me;

Though I be among the dead,

Let no mournful word be said.

 

Children that I leave behind,

And their children, all were kind;

Near to them and to my wife,

I was happy all my life.

 

My three sons I married right,

And their sons I rocked at night;

Death nor sorrow never brought

Cause for one unhappy thought.

 

Now, and with no need of tears,

Here they leave me, full of years,—

Leave me to my quiet rest

In the region of the blest.



When I'm Gone

By Mosiah Lyman Hancock

When I come to the end of my journey

And I travel my last weary mile

Just forget if you can, that I ever frowned

And remember only the smile

 

Forget unkind words I have spoken

Remember some good I have done

Forget that I ever had heartache

And remember I've had loads of fun

 

Forget that I've stumbled and blundered

And sometimes fell by the way

Remember I have fought some hard battles

And won, ere the close of the day

 

Then forget to grieve for my going

I would not have you sad for a day

But in summer just gather some flowers

And remember the place where I lay

 

And come in the shade of evening

When the sun paints the sky in the west

Stand for a few moments beside me

And remember only my best

 


“Hope” is the thing with feathers

By Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -

That perches in the soul -

And sings the tune without the words -

And never stops - at all -

 

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -

And sore must be the storm -

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm -

 

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -

And on the strangest Sea -

Yet - never - in Extremity,

It asked a crumb - of me.


 

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