Jan 23 — a soul friend sent me a new poem – blows my mind

Thursday, January 23

“I wish, though,
I had known sooner, to have
helped you go on living”

Rebecca is surely not the only soul friend who has received, and carried, the violent news that her/his soul friend has taken a life away from her/him.  Soul friends trust soul friends with grinding surprises and slowly live their way into a new fabric of memory, bringing new wounds along with them, risking hope on a bleak landscape of the heart.

So, Rebecca,  my soul friend, your grief has its home in my house too, beginning now.

So too, so many readers of this list have sent surprises, exhaustion, sounds of despair, together with astonishing joy and stunning courage.   Do I thank our c. 3,000 readers often enough I sometimes wonder.   Never enough, never; but very often.

Best to read the poet’s words out loud, with pauses.

Have a blest ending of the week.  I’ll be traveling home from Denver tomorrow.  Next post Monday, I’d bet.

john sj


For John Berryman

You’re dead, what can I do for you?
I am not unsympathetic;
I thought about you often enough
though we never spoke together
but once when I shied away,
feeling something that I fought
in me too-and came out with this
manner of living, by living.
It is depressing to live
but to kill myself in protest
is to assume there is something
to life withheld from me, yet
who withholds it? Think about it.
What is the answer?
But suicide is not so wrong
for one who thought and prayed
his way toward it. I wish, though,
I had known sooner, to have
helped you go on living,
as I do, half a suicide;
the need defended by the other half
that thinks to live in that knowledge
is praiseworthy.


This entry was posted in Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.