Saturday, October 16, 2010

"More fit for gills than lungs"

How's this for a poem?

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, 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.

"The Thing Is" by Ellen Bass, from Mules of Love. © BOA Editions, Ltd., 2002. 

10 comments:

Tertium Quid said...

I like it.

Pentimento said...

I liked it too.

Karen E. said...

Loved it. I posted it yesterday, too, for Poetry Friday. I think it's just perfect.

Pentimento said...

It's neat that we both posted it -- it gives me the feeling of pleasure that I get from hearing my favorite pieces randomly played on classical radio and knowing that unseen others are listening too.

Rodak said...

I like it--even though I look down and see that the Word Verification for this comment is: wince.

The Cottage Child said...

"...an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?"

(groan)

Too perfect, in a good way.

Pentimento said...

Yeah, I know, CC.

I love poetry that hits hard using an economy of means.

Tracie O'braks said...

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.

This part grabbed me and made me hang on...

Thanks for posting!

Karen E. said...

Yes, it rather made my day that we had both posted it, unbeknownst to one another.

Otepoti said...

I especially liked this:

"Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,"

because it reminds me that love is actions, not feelings.

Thanks P.