Tuesday, October 18, 2016

#SOL16: What I Know

from my art journal 10.15.16 (Gesso, ink, watercolor, Tombow paint markers, acrylic paint, percolator app, digital remix)



...Now that the bones are gone
who lives in the final dust?

  ~Pablo Neruda, from LXII, A Book of Questions


I.

Knew.
New.
Each works.
Both out of sync with here, now.


II.

What I know is limited to the rhythm of my breath. Each breathed-out moment feels new fleeting, so ephemeral. After the death of a husband, life reveals the absence of long vista views.

Here there is only terra firma.

The land, so parched, like my heart--so parched that I write love notes in the dust with just the tip of a sneaker hoping you, dear Rob, can somehow decipher the marks. It's a Morse Code of sorts. Or perhaps a bridge, left to span the void between here and there.

Each day my feet eat up the hard ground and I think, surely walking and writing and painting and talking have saved me.


III.

What I know now could fit inside the smallest of thimbles with room left for heartache new. And when the uncertainty of the very-second-beyond-right-now rises up like an old rickety carnival ride cresting a hill, I want to turn away, to not see the empty swing of ferris wheel gondolas bereft of you, of me, of who we were together.

"Don't look," I want to shout.
And I look anyway. Stare down that emptiness with bravery that catches in my throat.

How did I not know life could be so very hard and I would be so very capable?


IV.

What I know about loss murmurs so soft some evenings like prayers intoned at vespers. There are things I say in the dark and I say them so softly that sometimes I think they are more imagined than not.

After all these months, I want to offer praise for I have come some distance. I have. But I have no such song to sing. No praise song, yet--just these bits of words and phrases I have fashioned here. A start of sorts.


V.

What I know is grief keeps it's own liturgical hours, knows its own mind. It is indifferent to pain and need and desire and the well turned pages of the calendar.
I may be more monk than not, now. You may be, too.

Hymns offered to a husband dead by a wife grieving.

It will get easier, I think.
This awful newness will get easier.

27 comments:

  1. I pray your writing, art and talk buoy you in the newness. Through the journey.

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  2. I hope that your art and your writing, still so grief laden, bring you some solace, Mary Ann.

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    1. They oddly do. I write and don't look back--at least not now.

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  3. "How did I not know life could be so very hard and I would be so very capable?" This is the miracle to hold on to. Right? That we keep getting up each day.

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    1. Yes it is the duality of it. Hard and capable.

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  4. "I think, surely walking and writing and painting and talking have saved me."
    I found this line to be a powerful reminder of life moving forward, even with the shadows of the past ....
    Thank you
    Kevin

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    1. Yes, everything moves on and having ways of making meaning helps so. Thx.

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  5. "How did I know that life could be so very hard and I could be so capable." It is in these trials that our true toughness is revealed. We are resilient. We can make it through. You are a gift to the world. I hope you know that, nurture that, live that.

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  6. "How did I know that life could be so very hard and I could be so capable." It is in these trials that our true toughness is revealed. We are resilient. We can make it through. You are a gift to the world. I hope you know that, nurture that, live that.

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    1. Thank you Margaret. So kind of you to say.

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  7. "A start of sorts" resonates with me. Beginnings are challenging, somehow we find the strength we need to go on.

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    1. We do find something: strength, grace, hope, denial. Embrace it all.

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  8. I'm sorry that you must have to know such horrible grief--you've managed to create a poem so beautiful and raw and honest that I can feel it. Like the others above, the line "How did I know that life could be so very hard and I could be so capable" got me. But before it "What I know now could fit inside the smallest of thimbles with room left for heartache new." was gorgeous to me, and so true. Thank you for sharing this with us.

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    1. Thank you Book Mama (love that name). It's never one feeling is it?

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  9. You are so spot on. Love this "grief keeps its own liturgical hours, knows its own mind" even when we do not know our own mind.
    Silence can be golden as we listen for the heart sounds of the universe and in the stillness find ourselvles once again. Thank you Mary Ann for your gift of self reflections from the depths of your soul

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    1. I write out of necessity. Most of the time I am somewhat unaware of what I have written an hour later. It's like a need to open up my heart and let what hurts out. Thank you for witnessing.

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  10. There is hope in your words, and they will keep you moving forward.

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  11. For me, your words make form of the experience of grief as it moves in you and through you. It strikes me that you make a distinction between Grief and your Self. At least that is how I hear it. I think it is an essential distinction. Your grief has a power to mold you in bits and pieces and moments in time though it certainly does not define Who you are, while it may feel and seem like it does. I truly believe it will get easier for you in time, especially since you are not fighting it.

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    1. I hadn't considered that distinction at all Carol. Thank you for that. I think it will get easier or perhaps different too.

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  12. "What I know is grief keeps it's own liturgical hours, knows its own mind." So true - but even as grief holds you I can hear in your writing the steps of moving forward. The slow process of finding who you are in this new world. Be kind and continue to write, to walk and to paint. It will get easier!

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  13. Mary Ann, in the depths of sorrow, the soul does have a resurrection. This I know. I am touched by this phrase: walking and writing and painting and talking have saved me. What I Know is an important piece of your writing life.

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    1. I think it may be an important piece as well. Thank you for your support Carol. Means a lot.

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