Love story


American Life in Poetry

There’s a very fine book, “Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems,” published by Grayson Books of West Hartford, Connecticut, and I’ve found a number of poems for this column there. Here’s another, this one by Ellen Bass, who lives in California, and whose most recent book of poetry is “Like a Beggar.”

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 down 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.

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