I’ve never been good at saying goodbye.
Always, I look to poetry, prose, to the words of those that came before me for such ancient experiences as this.
I search nature, beauty that I love and find solace in
the starlings drawing on the sky,
the frogs singing me to sleep,
the owl perched high in the pine, watching over me.
The wind in the pines comforts.
I search for the scent of narcissus and the feel of a soft fleece vest, zipped tightly, protecting me from the looseness of saying goodbye
shielding me from endings,
holding in what I can’t afford to exhale quite yet.
There’s comfort in poetry, in the written word, scratching black ink into my journal by candlelight.
No one else gets in there…only the current from my mind, the breath in, then out, deep and resonant.
Through the crack in the window, crows call to daybreak,
orange and gold ribbons lift the darkness, ever so slightly.
Grief and gratitude go hand in hand, I’m learning,
and goodbye comes in the smallest moments,
slinking around my spirit until I’m silent and still
and spot the starlings scattering in the sky
wondering if it’s you.
Please read my dad’s obituary here
Starlings in WinterChunky and noisy, but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire and instantly they are acrobats in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air they swing over buildings, dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star that opens, becomes for a moment fragmented,
then closes again, and you watch and you try
but you simply can’t imagine how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing, this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again, full of gorgeous life.
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us, even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now of grief, and of getting past it;
I feel my boots trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart pumping hard. I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.
From: Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays Copyright ©: Mary Oliver