To You the Living


Poems of Bereavement and Loss
Poems for Comfort and Healing


MarjeTo you the Living cover



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For all those people who have recently or at some time in the past lost someone they loved.


I bequeath to you, the living,
All joy and all sorrow.
Have courage always,
And Sometimes, sometimes,
Remember me.






Inside, I am making myself strong.

I am weaving bands of steel

To bind my soul.

I am knitting stitches of suffering into my hands

To make them strong.

I am strengthening my mind

With the warp and weft

Of weariness and endurance.

I am binding my faith

With the bonds of psalms and songs

Of all who have suffered.

In time I will be tempered like fine steel

To bend but not to break.





Who is to go?


How do we know who is to go,

Who is to leave this world

Suddenly, unexpectedly or in long pain?

There is no saying who will be with us tomorrow

Or who will be bowed in sorrow.

O, while you are here,

Grasp life with both hands

And pour your passion into living,

For who knows when you or yours

May be snatched away,

Out of the toil and the moil,

Out of our present existence.




It is so Hard to Remember


It is so hard to remember that you are dead.

At any moment you could walk into the house

Just as if you had been up the street shopping,

Or had just finished some writing.

Despite the fact that I walked with you every inch of the terrible path of your dying,

Sometimes, still, I cannot remember that you are dead.






I sat in my desolation

Withdrawn from all around,

Feeling my life was a ruin, a failure.

I was empty inside

With the utter collapse of my being.

I did not care anymore

For living or dying.

I was alone in my distress and desolation.

But as I sat sadly on the ground,

The sun reached out his hand to me

And touched my face.

And so my healing began.




The Existence of Love


I had thought that your death

was a waste and destruction,

A pain of grief hardly to be endured.

I am only beginning to learn

That your life was a gift, a growing

And a loving left with me.

The desperation of death

Destroyed the existence of love,

But the fact of death

Cannot destroy what has been given.

I am learning to look at your life again

Instead of your death and your departing.




Empty House


I must get used to coming home to an empty house,

To find no welcoming presence waiting for me,

No cosy lights and kettles boiling

For companionable cups of tea.

I loved coming home, knowing that you were there,

Working or writing and awaiting my return,

Both of us equally pleased to see one another.

Now I must become accustomed to coming home to an empty house.




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