Thursday, March 17, 2011

For Carmel

your sober black suit is dignified, beautiful discrete
your creamy face is smooth, slightly swollen as if the tears have blown you up
your darkened hair, beautiful and alive, overwhelms your face
your wounded eyes are lost as if, even now, you can’t comprehend the enormity of your pain

I want to touch you and hold you
I’m afraid if I put my arms around you I’d feel the empty places where he was

you don’t seem bitter, never said why me?
as if he was a gift you could not deny
of unravelling sorrow

you said it will always be the first thing you think of in the morning
the last thing you think of when you go to sleep
his birth-death will slide between
you and the joy of any future birth
of his birthday and your birthday
(giving birth to your grief have you given birth to yourself?)
you won’t mark Christmas or New Year
or your daughter’s birthday
without him like a fume in your heart

you said the grief would rob your days and nights forever
and cheat your body of its joys

old-fashioned calamity has struck you like a knife
these are griefs our mothers knew and their’s
now we have been taught only to expect perfection, our illusion of control

you are stronger than you know
you are stronger than you know you have become
I have not felt your acid in my eyes
I know its sting will rinse      water grinding sand
until the memory is small enough to hold in your hand


girl dreaming said...

how tender and compassionate this lovely poem is. it's quite lovely in all its painful beauty.

Elisabeth said...

Thank you for alerting me to your poem, Isabel.

It is so poignant, especially now when I know the story behind it.

To lose a baby is a terrible grief, such a profound loss, one that is almost too hard for me to contemplate.

Your words capture the essence of such inestimable pain beautifully.

Isabel Doyle said...

I am never sure about poems I have written in the throes of emotions, I am always afraid I will slip into mawkish sentimentality. Thank you for coming to read For Carmel, Elisabeth.