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  • in reply to: Poems about grief #16156
    Michael
    Participant

    Here’s an absolutely beautiful poem by John Roedel, about alienation, grief and tuning into what’s happening in the body as a pathway to healing (includes great therapeutic first aid advice!)

    my brain and
    heart divorced

    a decade ago

    over who was
    to blame about
    how big of a mess
    I have become

    eventually,
    they couldn’t be
    in the same room
    with each other

    now my head and heart
    share custody of me

    I stay with my brain
    during the week

    and my heart
    gets me on weekends

    they never speak to one another

    – instead, they give me
    the same note to pass
    to each other every week

    and their notes they
    send to one another always
    says the same thing:

    “This is all your fault”

    on Sundays
    my heart complains
    about how my
    head has let me down
    in the past

    and on Wednesday
    my head lists all
    of the times my
    heart has screwed
    things up for me
    in the future

    they blame each
    other for the
    state of my life

    there’s been a lot
    of yelling – and crying

    so,

    lately, I’ve been
    spending a lot of
    time with my gut

    who serves as my
    unofficial therapist

    most nights, I sneak out of the
    window in my ribcage

    and slide down my spine
    and collapse on my
    gut’s plush leather chair
    that’s always open for me

    ~ and I just sit sit sit sit
    until the sun comes up

    last evening,
    my gut asked me
    if I was having a hard
    time being caught
    between my heart
    and my head

    I nodded

    I said I didn’t know
    if I could live with
    either of them anymore

    “my heart is always sad about
    something that happened yesterday
    while my head is always worried
    about something that may happen tomorrow,”
    I lamented

    my gut squeezed my hand

    “I just can’t live with
    my mistakes of the past
    or my anxiety about the future,”
    I sighed

    my gut smiled and said:

    “in that case,
    you should
    go stay with your
    lungs for a while,”

    I was confused
    – the look on my face gave it away

    “if you are exhausted about
    your heart’s obsession with
    the fixed past and your mind’s focus
    on the uncertain future

    your lungs are the perfect place for you

    there is no yesterday in your lungs
    there is no tomorrow there either

    there is only now
    there is only inhale
    there is only exhale
    there is only this moment

    there is only breath

    and in that breath
    you can rest while your
    heart and head work
    their relationship out.”

    this morning,
    while my brain
    was busy reading
    tea leaves

    and while my
    heart was staring
    at old photographs

    I packed a little
    bag and walked
    to the door of
    my lungs

    before I could even knock
    she opened the door
    with a smile and as
    a gust of air embraced me
    she said

    “what took you so long?”

    ~ john roedel (johnroedel.com)

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