The Thing Is by Ellen Bass

8th November 2010

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 thoughts on “The Thing Is by Ellen Bass

  1. Kay

    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

  2. Her Bad Mother

    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.

  3. Zom G.

    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!

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