Ancient History

Follow Me?


Bear With Me

Shortly after I discovered I was pregnant, in mid-December, I read this poem for the first time. It struck me and haunted me those weeks when I thought all was well.

But with this sorrow, I have especially tossed it around in my mind.

It is by Galway Kinnell, from “How Many Nights”

How many nights
Have I lain in terror,
O, Creator Spirit, Maker of night
and day,
Only to walk out
The next morning over the
frozen world
Hearing under the creaking of the snow
Faint, peaceful breaths…
Snake, bear, earthworm, ant…
And above me
A wild crow crying “yaw yaw yaw”
From a branch nothing ever cried from
ever in my life.

Sorrow seems to come from the southwestern corner of the heart, closest to the core. It is different from sadness. It is different than grief, or depression. I have felt sadness, great grief, and depression. I can say that I have never felt dark sorrow until now.

In “The Grinch That Stole Christmas”, the Grinch’s heart grew “three times bigger” that day. My tear-ducts have had an equal astonishing expansion in size, producing drops that could rival Elizabeth Taylor’s biggest, gaudiest bauble on her manicured hands. This alone is not a sign of sorrow. Miss America does the same thing when the crown and red roses are thrust upon her and I am pretty sure she isn’t sorrowful, unless she has nude photos floating around on the internet somewhere.

You know sorrow when you feel it. It is made from heavy black velvet. It is both hot and cold, rough and shimmering. It is placed upon your back and you are told to march away and carry it. As long as your head is held down it stays on. It is only when you lift your head and throw back your shoulders that it will fall to a heap at your feet. Once you have this cloak, it is yours forever.

My head, my eyes are down. But I can already feel the people I love and my faith, especially, nudging my chin up.

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