Grief Clings to Me Like a Beggar

I wrote this in 2001, about a year after my father died. It was helpful to me to recognize who Grief was. Even with this lesson learned, I still find it helpful to appreciate my relationship with it.

Grief clings to me like a desperate beggar.
I try to ignore it,
But it cries and spits
And smudges my clean clothes with its hands.

I try to bribe it,
Count out the proper tithe,
And go on my way;
But it shrieks for more:
You could do so much more for me!

I try to be polite,
Explain myself, excuse myself,
I really must leave now,
Perhaps another time…

But it cannot let me go.

So, like Sarah for a stranger,
or my mother at the seder,

I seek a place for it:
A seat at my table,
A cup, a swallow, some salt for its food.
A line of harmony in my song.
A word in my prayers.
And a corner in my heart.

There, we can hold hands
And cry together
In the dark and soothing sadness.


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