12/05/2013 02:49 pm ET Updated Feb 04, 2014


Leaving and being left is such a painful part of life that it's hard to make sense of its place in a living Universe. This poem is one attempt.


How hard it is to leave or be
left. Sending someone away
because violence is near. Or
selling all you have so a child
might have a ticket to a better
life. Or those torn from each
other because the ship could
hold no more. Or inexplicably
when the love is gone. Or some
strange need has awakened after
years and one of you must try
again to be what you failed to be.

Yet what if, when all alone, we
open a letter, addressed to who
we are under everything, that says:
beyond our pain, each gasp of
parting pollinates the world with
what the heart releases when it
feels the most. This sharp honey
keeps the world from falling.

It doesn't make it easier. I
still can't bear to think of
losing you. But nor can the
clouds bear to lose their rain.

A Question to Walk With: Describe a time you were left and how that changed you. Describe a time when you did the leaving and how that changed you. Where do these lessons live in you?

For more poetry for the soul, click here.

For more by Mark Nepo, click here.