Poetry After Loss: Turning To Poems For Grief And Healing

Poems About Grief and Healing are Important


Grief Is Lonely and Isolating

As we walk through loss, it can feel like we are making a solo journey through the desert with our feet sinking heavily into the sand as the sun burns hot on our shoulders, and every dry breath slowly suffocates us. 

Poetry has the ability to capture the heaviest emotions as they occur in the moment. Reading about others’ experiences with grief and loss connects us with universal suffering, helping to ease feelings of loneliness and isolation. 

Suggested Read: Managing The Effects of Bereavement And Stress

Poems Encapsulate Human Vulnerability

“Don’t leave me, even for an hour, because
then the little drops of anguish will all run together,
the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift
into me, choking my lost heart.”
– Pablo Neruda, 1904-1973

Poems encapsulate human vulnerability; they are courage in written form. A poem’s ability to explain an emotion can help us get in touch with our own deepest, most painful feelings. An awareness of our pain can be therapeutic since it requires us to process through our suffering rather than try to escape it. When we view pain as a measure of love, it can change our perspective on loss. A wise friend of mine explained the intensity of our pain is a direct reflection of the love we felt for the person we lost. Thus, poems of loss are really love letters.

Suggested Read: 4 Comparisons To Explain Your Grief And Loss

Poems Help Strengthen Our Resolve

“A million times I’ve needed you
A million times I’ve cried
If love alone could have saved you
You never would have died.”
– Author Unknown

During the most difficult times in my life, I’ve turned to the written word to ease my pain. Reading other people’s reflections in the form of poetry has the ability to strengthen our resolve and shore up our resilience. It helps provide a spiritual backbone that is necessary if we are going to withstand loss with grace.

When Grief Overwhelms You, Try Reading Poetry

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
– Dylan Thomas, 1914-1953

The Art of Losing – Poems of Grief and Healing edited by Kevin Young, is an anthology dedicated to exploring the emotions of loss. Divided into six sections called Reckoning, Regret, Remembrance, Ritual, Recovery, and Redemption, the book includes both classic and modern day poems. It is recommended for people who are experiencing grief and those who care for them such as therapists, clergy, and individuals who provide palliative care.

Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Poetry can help connect us with our stories, so that they can be released along with our pain.

More like this: Grief And Loss: An In-Depth Guide To Moving Forward

Poetry Helps Us Connect

Even though we might not be able to express the need to have people support us at times of loss, it is truly needed. I see you, and being there when I need you means the world to me. I just wanted to let you know. 

This is for everyone who has been there for me during the most difficult times of my life.

I See You: Being There Is Important by Jill Carbone 

I see you when your eyes don’t meet my gaze
You walk around in a haze of grief, and I can’t relieve your pain
You wear it like an oversized sweater on a chilly, autumn day
It keeps you swathed in sadness while the demons in your head play
I see you

I sense your silent suffering
Speaking muted; the volume turned low; a buffer
This wall between me and you is thick and impenetrable
Yet I know the reasons for your grief are venerable
I see you

You don’t answer my calls or texts or knocks at the door
Am I annoying you as I implore you to stop this one man war
I imagine you alone in a tango with your thoughts
Tears teasing, your stomach twisted in knots
I see you

If you let me in, I won’t judge your sorrow
I won’t tell you it will be better tomorrow
The truth is I don’t know the answer
There is no rain dance to cure death’s natural disaster
I see you

I promise you I’ll listen as you find the words
And if they fly away quietly, I will not be your mockingbird
We’ll sit beneath the wise oak and share a cup of tea
I’ll ask nothing of you; we’ll just be

I see you

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