These Words – No.1


“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.” — Ellen Bass

these-words-no1-2 These words — by Ellen Bass / first spotted here. Photography by me.

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  1. Cheryl G / / Reply

    I’ve never read tthese words before
    But they hit me squarely in my heart
    And I feel them deeply in my bones.

  2. Denise L. / / Reply

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

    This poem, these words. Extraordinary, isn’t it? Both my parents have cancer right now. Dad has pancreatic cancer. Mom has uterine cancer, again. I am already grieving, but I know these words will have a more immediate meaning for me in the not so distant future. They will help, I’m sure.

    Thanks for posting this, EZ.

  3. Sarah / / Reply

    Such a beautiful reminder that life is worth living even when it is hard, and messy, and even seems hopeless. Thank you for sharing.

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