Friday, June 20, 2014

I am not resigned

"I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground." — Edna St. Vincent Millay

A FACEBOOK friend's adult son died very recently, and the post she wrote about the heartbreak was moving. As part of it, she included Dirge without Music, a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay. I'd never known it before.

It's been nine months since we lost our much loved Sharon Stein. I haven't been able to write a proper eulogy to her yet. It's still too close. I will, though, when I can. 

At the time of her illness and death, I was awash with emotions; one of them was anger. I was enraged that we had to part with her, and that there was nothing I could do about it.  

After what we knew would be our last visit with her, someone told me that it wasn't good for me to be so angry — that it would be better for me to be able to accept such things with more equanimity. 

I don't know if that's true or not. I kinda am who I am, and generally speaking, I'm not going to go down without a fight — at least on behalf of someone I love. And according to almost everything I've read about the process of grief, anger is very often one of the stages.

With the Edna St. Vincent Millay poem that I'm sharing with you below, at last I've found something that puts my feelings about losing people I love exactly into words.

Dirge without Music
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.
Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, --- but the best is lost.

The answers quick & keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

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