08/07/2012 05:36 pm ET Updated Oct 07, 2012

The Angel of Grief

Like it or not, we are all asked to be in relationship with loss and grief. Over the years, I have discovered that grief doesn't go away but teaches us how to discover our strength and resilience by staying with deep and inexplicable feelings over long periods of time. In truth, grief, once we move through its painful opening, reveals our more lasting connections to the Universe. This is a recent poem that tries to speak about what grief and loss have taught me.

Does the tree at that knot twenty
feet up feel its missing rib, the way
I feel you gone these long years? Loss
plays us like a violin, never free of its rub.
It simply lessens its intensity till only the
one closest to what was lost can hear it.
If you haven't lost something or someone,
this will seem sad, even frightening. But
after a century of heart-time, I went to
the immortals who envy us our ability
to feel and forget. They looked at me
with their longing to be human. And
the saddest among them took my hand
and said, "I would give eternity to live with
what you're given, and to feel what is
opened by what is taken away."

A Question to Walk With: If loss and grief are doorways to what is eternal, describe a sense of loss or grief that is still with you and begin to tell the story of what these feelings have opened in you and how they have deepened your understanding of life.

For more Poetry for the Soul, click here.

For more by Mark Nepo, click here.