One year ago, the world lost a beautiful poet, Mary Oliver.

In honor of her, I’d like to share with you a poem that moved me so deeply, I included it in my book. In her poem, Heavy, Mary writes about balancing the heavy weight of grief as we begin to learn how to live with it in our everyday life. She writes of her surprise when she was able to laugh, a feeling I remember well after the many stories of my husband’s sense of humor were shared after he died. I am also touched by how she admires kindness even in her solitude, which she shows in her beautiful closing line, “a love to which there is no reply.”

Please read the poem below. I hope you’ll appreciate it as much as I do.

 

Heavy 

by Mary Oliver

That time

I thought I could not

go any closer to grief

without dying

 

I went closer,

and I did not die.

Surely God

had His hand in this,

 

as well as friends.

Still I was bent,

and my laughter,

as the poet said,

 

was nowhere to be found.

Then said my friend Daniel

(brave even among lions),

“It is not the weight you carry

 

but how you carry it—

books, bricks, grief—

it’s all in the way

you embrace it, balance it, carry it

 

when you cannot, and would not,

put it down.”

So I went practicing.

Have you noticed?

 

Have you heard

the laughter

that comes, now and again,

out of my startled mouth?

 

How I linger

to admire, admire, admire

the things of this world

that are kind, and maybe

 

also troubled—

roses in the wind,

The sea geese on the steep waves,

a love

to which there is no reply?


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