Haibun: Grief Work


My grief over my father’s death has become my life’s work. Some days I drink from a bitter cup. Other days I choose to spread my bread with honey. And sometimes I lay myself down on the anvil of sorrows and let the hammer fall, shaping me as it will. Sheer stubbornness drives me to try to understand why a tear leans into the wind, hoping to dry itself; or why the dead enter our world saying nothing, giving neither comfort nor counsel, but simply watching and waiting. So far, I have failed in my quest, but I will not quit. Stubbornness, remember?

Walking through the woods
on an autumn afternoon—
this is song enough.

 
  

Haibun © 2019 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #239
 
More Pantry of Poetry and Prose #3 at Poets United

Posted on November 10, 2019, in 5-7-5, haibun, haiku, Pantry of Prose, Poetry Pantry, Poets United, Sunday's Whirligig and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. why a tear leans into the wind, hoping to dry itself –

    – this is a beautifully written piece, wholly heartfelt. Am so sorry for your loss.

  2. I felt every word of this! How consuming this grief, and yet it is essential that it be your life’s work … though eventually in a different mood, alongside other preoccupations. Beautiful writing, and the haiku is superb.

  3. Sometimes a stubborn frame of mind helps us along

  4. A heart filled with pain, can hear even the slightest whisper…

  5. Also admiring the leaning into the wind hoping for the tears to dry… it connects so well to the haiku in the end as well… this is one of your best.

  6. Your haibun touched me deeply; I’ve been the same following, first, my father’s death, and then my mother’s. The contrast of bitter cup and bread spread with honey says it all. The lines that really get to me are ‘…sometimes I lay myself down on the anvil of sorrows and let the hammer fall’ and ‘tear leans into the wind, hoping to dry itself’. A mournful autumn song.

  7. Grieving seems to exist in a world of contradictions. I think most of us keep mementos–and memories, too–of our loved ones, in order to soothe our hearts. And it works, some days… Other days seem to crack our rips, pull our hearts outs, and squeeze. And we continue to remember them, because “Stubbornness, remember?” And love, too. So much love.

  8. Colleen@ LOOSELEAFNOTES

    Death is my life’s work too. I have thought of grief as like being in a hole, taking field notes for the next one to fall and not even wanting to be pulled out. I like the anvil and hammer imagery. The hammer also hits our reflective nerves and makes us jump and cry.

  9. Oh my! I hardly know what to say. We are coming up on the 1year of my fathers passing…

  10. First of all, I am sorry for your loss. Grief for one’s loss of parents is profound. I remember my own mother saying (in her very older years) that she still missed her mother. That surprised me at the time, as her mother had been deceased for decades. But NOW I understand. Mother or father – the loss is great – and the grief always stays somewhere inside.

  11. I am deeply sorry for your loss 😦 this is a beautifully written Haibun.

  12. Grief has its way with us. Your haibun is so beautiful, so moving. I love it. Did you read the Maya Angelou poem on grief that Sanaa refers to in the Pantry? It is wonderful. And so is yours.

  13. I have seen the “anvil of sorrows” as you described so well. May you find peace someday.

  14. Oh–I feel every word of this–every word

  15. My father will be gone nine years on the 28th of this month. His death was expected, he had been declining for years and it was actually a mercy when he passed. The way I grieved for him was different. There weren’t a lot of tears and I wasn’t angry. I tend to react with anger to grief. It was like I was in a bubble looking out at a world that I could only describe as “painfully beautiful.” It was during the Christmas season and all the lights were up. He always loved decorating for the holidays.
    I like what Keanu Reeves said regarding grief. He said that “grief changes shape, but it never ends.” I think this is true. I don’t think we really ever “get over” the passing of those who had special meaning in our lives.
    Peace,
    Cie

  16. Hopefully writing in this way helps you bear the grief. I lost my wife coming up to 9 years ago after a long illness which she fought like a demon but sadly she had to let go.

  17. So very poignant. “sometimes I lay myself down on the anvil of sorrows and let the hammer fall” – beautifully stated, and I think one of the more promising paths to making something useful of our grief…if useful is what we hope for. Big hug.

  18. This piece is short but strong and poignant. I love your metaphors and this whole section: ” Some days I drink from a bitter cup. Other days I choose to spread my bread with honey. And sometimes I lay myself down on the anvil of sorrows and let the hammer fall, shaping me as it will.”

  19. This is beautiful … so poignant … so authentic … the writing: superb.

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