Poetry Friday: “The Thing Is”

After a tough week, these are the words I have needed. Encouragement to pursue love and life, even as I think, “How can a body withstand this?” I love the way that Ellen Bass describes receiving life in the midst of grief. No flushed cheeks or starry eyes. That kind of love is from a time that has passed. Instead, now, a gentle touch, a steady gaze, and determination. “I will love you, again.” Whatever you face today, I hope you find an anchor in these beautiful lines.

The Thing Is

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 down like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
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Published by Clarissa Moll

Discovering grace in grief

5 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “The Thing Is”

  1. The Ellen Bass poem reminds me very much of Iris DeMent’s beautiful song “After You’re Gone.” … Especially the final sentence of the poem…

  2. Dear Clarissa, Thank you for this marvelous poem, so full of hope, even in the midst of such unrelenting despair…. Your vulnerability and honesty, combined with the words of this poem, really touched my heart ♥️ this morning. In His Love, Margot Downey

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. So beautiful!! A few days after my 27yo daughter who also was a best friend died, a friend (also lost her daughter at 19yo) came by. She took my face between her hands and looked deep into my eyes and said “you will get through this. If you can’t read your Bible then write the words out”. I’ll never forget that!
    Thank you for this beautiful reminder especially the “I will take you I will love you again”

    1. What a heartbreakingly beautiful story, Sharon. Those who have walked our path and known our sorrows can speak those words of truth in ways that meet our hearts’ needs. Thank you for sharing this!

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