A Series on Grief...

by Eleanor Goldfield

A symphonic grief –

played atonally and oppressively loud ---

the percussion intermittently and without warning

Banging on a battered heart,

crashing cymbals on a hangover;

the strings whining in mid-day trills of tears,

obsessively, oppressively plucking, picking -

at a shredded soul;

the woodwinds howling -

as reeds of insanity twist

in an unsteady breeze;

and the brass - trumpeting anger and resentment -

at the impenetrable metal -

of uncontrollable emotion.

No one keeps time – there is none.

The rests are fitful – the silence deafening.

The end is blocked by a repeat :||

the coda threatens to split into an unbearable new piece –

piece by piece I collect these notes –

defeated but seething, I sing –

I sing what is me, my grief –

my hate that my love made replete. :||

Grief –

that cold consuming storm

suffers no lack of description –

is not tempered by ignorance or experience –

even the most fortified succumb –

as if solid stone were nothing

but stacked blades of grass...

and as we flail in this wind,

our bodies lash and our limbs fly frail –

the siren call of calm feels ludicrous –

absurd, impossible –

at best a discredit to the spring of this storm...

I can weather this?

with my mind fixed

on its would be assassin –

or if I can not - I will die

and in death become a conduit of tempests –

a passive passage for cold consuming storms –

a repeater circuit,

stuck in a groove of its own electricity.

But no, I do not want this storm to take me –

I am not ready for my soul to pass

to this storm's whipping whims.

I can not control it –

any more than I can control the weather –

but I may weather it.

Cliche – but for a reason -

This treason to poetry a relief for my solitude

Still, I may find a hole in the depths of myself –

one I have never seen before –

I may carve it out of my living breath –

create it in this jagged slow haste

that mocks the passage of time –

and as I dig I will falter –

find myself stuck in the toxic mud that theories my arrogance -

for if I am worthy of outliving this storm,

am I not pedestaling my own life

above the sunken soul

that gave birth to these winds?

I will fumble with answers and find none that fit –

I will scrape myself raw -

building a bunker that keeps the wind out,

but floods with the surges I let rinse my doubt.

And so we will dance, this damned storm and I –

unfit partners cast in this twisted remake -

we will blow and shout and rumble

the storm will be no worse for wear –

it will pass as senselessly as it came –

it will polish the sky so the brilliance will blind –

but I

will never be the same

yes, the storm will pass – but this jagged abyss will remain -

that bunker will keep – an imprint -

a macabre fossil of pain

and I will visit again –

before the end.

I'm quite sure.

The clouds overhead promise me so –

passing silently

over the ruins of my freshly dug depths – grave.

At time it will seem impossible – that I ever was there –

that this storm and I ever came to blows –

but then I'll hear an echo –

of rumbles, I'll see -

reflections in someone's drenched eyes -

and then I'll feel it -

the press of that imprint – gripping my mind.

Another day, another forecast

another questioning sky

another fragile step outside.

Musicians holding notes

carrying tunes

beautiful baggage

cleft between

hallowed and hollowed

noise and silence

chaos and the ordered melee of song

an empty page

likewise an empty stage

the weight of it

must we listen to the void

the abyss is not vacant but virtuoso

prodigal and prolific

seductively prophetic

a siren song to your end that began it all


the reverberations

in my chest

in the floor

the ringing in my ears

a bliss I do not dare feel

for feeling

is a grief I haven't yet

been able to play

I wanna lay my head on your shoulder

the budget sweater that was washed too many times now not enough

rinsed by rainfall, dried by breeze

smelling of sap, sweat and struggle

they tell you to take time to grieve

but how do you carve out that time

from the felled limbs of family

trees leveled by a storm of greed

do I send out a doodle poll for that?

Because every time I want to take the time

I struggle to breathe

and a million years of learned reaction

spreads the wings of flight

and I don't fight

the need

to calm the waters

and let the lapping waves release

a shallow ebb

of selective memory

and once again

I do not grieve

I float on a sunrise

I rest my head on ghosts

and I am weightless

as a reflection

the mirror holds no demons

it merely serves them up to me

tonight I will not take them

I made no date with grief

I will frolic in the fields and woods of dreams

where I swear I once did weave

a promise for tomorrow

that yesterday deceived

and I will smell of sap and sweat and struggle

and we will lay our heads upon this tree

and pretend she still can hold us

a triptych I visit

on bended knee

now a ragged grave

of all we hoped we'd save


I can not grieve