April 9 – Saying goodbye to your soul friend and sister
I’ve finally opened Denise Levertov’s last book, The Great Unknowing: Last Poems. She is one of my go-to poets and her final book daunts me; why I am not sure. Perhaps because the finality of her death, now so long ago (December 1997), interrupts years of savoring her body of work, expecting surprises and wonder again and again. Today’s post, the first poem in her final book, fits my sense of what this week in Detroit calls out of me. I find myself among the many women and men who are preparing our imaginations for the finality of death’s moment in the vibrant and resilient life of Mary Kelly, rsm. Those of us who can make it will gather, Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, at Mercy Center to live our goodbyes with stories and song. Levertov’s “From Below” helps me into this week of stillness; the poem surprises me deeply in this time when so many of us will do our best to say goodbye to Mary.
The poem may offer you an inner place in which to learn your way into the place of Mary’s absence from our busy world, into grief and beauty, life-long memories and wonder. Reading out loud, with pauses can help.
Have a blest week.
Today’s Post – “From Below”
I move among the ankles
of forest Elders, tread
their moist rugs of moss,
duff of their soft brown carpets.
Far above, their arms are held
open wide to each other, or waving
what they know, what
perplexities and wisdoms they exchange,
unknown to me as were the thoughts
of grownups when in infancy I wandered
into a roofed clearing amidst
human feet and legs and the massive
carved legs of the table,
the minds of people, the minds of trees
equally remote, my attention then
filled with sensations, my attention now
caught by leaf and bark at eye level
and by thoughts of my own, but sometimes
drawn to upgazing-up and up: to wonder
about what rises so far above me into the light.
Mary Kelly, rsm