A Psalm of Grief and Grammar
There are impossible pains
for which there are no words
or phrases which can dislodge
the broken branches and hearts
caught in the throat
which forever change our stories
Life is punctuated with loss
grief ends sentences in our story
with hard returns and
small hard unforgiving black periods
which are unyielding and solid
will never, ever become commas, again.
We, the people shake empty hands
at God and man and earth and
ask: Why? Our sentences end with
question marks, shouted into space
and we know there will be no answer
but we will never cease to ask: Why?
Some days, there is peace, days which
have no punctuation, a run on sentence
of relief without intro or afterward
or demands for bends in our road
and we live for this open ended feeling,
we accept the plot, character and narrator.
Other days, oh, those tedious other days,
where semi-colons, dashes and dot dot dots… divide our
story into categories so we can get “a hold”
on who we are, what we are doing, we
get out ruler and sieve and scale and red pen and other
tools to reign in bad grammar and correct mistakes.
On good days, of friendship and feasting
we are able to say things of hope and love
followed by one, maybe two exclamation points
and my, it does feel good on the tongue
and in the heart to exclaim something other than ‘why’.
To give thanks for what there was, and is. And will be.
Blessed are we, if we, despite,
all the poor endings and unfinished paragraphs,
should form our grief into poetry,
a God-language with less proper rules
than that of story or truth or fact and syntax
and can praise, open palmed in prayer and psalm.
Our grief fragments can be woven together
to become art, and song, the stuff legends are made of,
bypassing grammar and biography and even history
because or very soul is made for this unbearable beauty,
although punctuated with unspeakable and everyday pain.
We, the people who are able, continue on, that is our story.
Though we shall never stop hoping for a good ending
for ourselves, and a good beginning for others
and that one day, some day, the footnotes of the universe
will be revealed at last — and the Great Editor,
whose words “In the beginning…” started all of this.
Will hold us on that great lap and begin “Once upon a time”
And instead of crying, we shall laugh, and forgive,
and dream and love as if we understood the messages after all.
My pen breaks forth into flourish and calligraphic praise
Calling for you, for me, and for all who grieve
on bended neck and knee to rise up from our low estate
and create. Yes I said, create. Grief has punctuated our story.
But that is not the end.
That is how the Creator wrote and spoke this story.
Through creating. And so after enough tears, and ashes,
we will remember again, we have a part in how it all turns out,
not everything that happens. But some things.
Like what sentences come out of our mouths, and
what part we get to play in this grand mysterious story.
Thou hast turned my mourning into dancing. Psalm