Mighty Life List
Nov 8 2010

The Thing Is by Ellen Bass

The Thing Is

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.

(From Mules of Love, via The Writer’s Almanac.)

15 Responses to “The Thing Is by Ellen Bass”

  • robyn Says:

    i needed this today. thank you.

  • Clair Says:

    I’ve been working hard to love life again. Thanks for this.

  • Katie Says:

    Shot to the heart, Maggie Mason. You’re good.

  • margosita Says:

    Oh, I do love the Writer’s Almanac.

    Great pick.

  • kate Says:

    I cannot express how much I needed this today. Thank you. Thank you very much.

  • amy Says:

    yeah. I needed this. thank you so very much.

  • Leah Says:

    thank you! oh so lovely. I only wish that I didn’t understand this poem perfectly.

  • Kay Says:

    A friend and I were just discussing such reward. SO eloquently put. I also like: If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice. – Meister Eckhart

  • Leslie Says:

    Oh, wow, yes. Thank you.

  • Her Bad Mother Says:

    This? Is a brilliant, perfect palliative against the happiness cultists, those who insist that we all resist pain/grief/sadness/turmoil as things antithetical to living well. Love. Am bookmarking.

  • Zom G. Says:

    A more adequate description of the the dark hours I have never found.

    You blog is one treat after another and none are quite the same. So glad to be visiting again!

  • hippittee Says:

    The Writer’s Almanac is the FIRST thing i read every morning.

  • Johanna Says:

    Like a lot of people, I needed to read that today. Thanks for sharing.

  • Heidi Ferrer Says:

    Beautiful poem. Don’t make me cry before 8:15 am!

    -Heidi Ferrer

  • Terri Says:

    WOW!