Thursday, February 4, 2021

Poetry on Thursday

I have a friend whose mother recently died from coronavirus, so I've been thinking about her and the pandemic a lot. When we talked she said that her mother's death seemed to have an extra layer of sadness because she had an appointment for her first vaccine shot on February 18th. That frame of mind is why I chose this poem for today. Hope is a very good thing and something we all need to work to maintain, but it's equally important to acknowledge the grief, sadness. and loss and remember those who are gone.

When people say, "we have made it through worse before"
by Clint Smith

all I hear is the wind slapping against the gravestones
of those who did not make it, those who did not
survive to see the confetti fall from the sky, those who

did not live to watch the parade roll down the street.
I have grown accustomed to a lifetime of aphorisms
meant to assuage my fears, pithy sayings meant to

convey that everything ends up fine in the end. There is no
solace in rearranging language to make a different word
tell the same lie. Sometimes the moral arc of the universe

does not bend in a direction that will comfort us.
Sometimes it bends in ways we don’t expect & there are
people who fall off in the process. Please, dear reader,

do not say I am hopeless, I believe there is a better future
to fight for, I simply accept the possibility that I may not
live to see it. I have grown weary of telling myself lies

that I might one day begin to believe. We are not all left
standing after the war has ended. Some of us have
become ghosts by the time the dust has settled.

You can read more about the author here.
Clint Smith is much more than a poet; you can view his TED talks here.

I wish you mindfulness, peace, good health, and the power of poetry as this week winds down.


  1. Oof, that was a real gut-punch of a poem, but there's so much sad truth in it! My sympathies to your friend.

  2. Perfect words from Clint, most certainly. My heart aches for all the homes with empty seats at their tables and this poem bring tears to my eyes. I add my sympathies with Sarah's for your friend. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful post.

  3. Wonderful poem. I miss Clint's voice on the Pod Save the People podcast, but will definitely check out his book when it's published.

    It doesn't really make sense that a COVID illness or death today would be "worse" than one 6 months ago, but it still feels that way, since we know a vaccine is within reach. The rollout is a tangled mess of inequity but that's another thing. I'm so sorry about your friend's mom.

  4. I'm sorry for your friend, it has to be extra difficult to lose someone now when the vaccine is close or already given to so many. That poem is so full of emotion. The bit about not living to see a better future is particularly poignant right now.

  5. I am sorry for your friend. I do love the harsh reality of this poem though. Thank-you Bonny.

  6. That poem is like a punch to the gut. Very wrenching and harsh, but so true. My sympathy for your friend...and so many others. It does not get any easier.

  7. I guess most of us keep a 'rosy' view that things will/are getting better. How hard to deal with a loss, just when you thought you were going to win through. :(

    1. Things are getting better and I am holding hope that that will continue. But there is still plenty of sadness and grief along with the hope and improvement (just like life before the pandemic).

  8. Oh Bonny, I am sorry for your friend, and for you, and for all of us. There is much to grieve and mourn. I just started following Clint Smith in the past months. His writing is pointed and poignant. Thank you for sharing this poem.

  9. Bonny, I am so sorry for your friend's loss. A reality poem, particularly poignant in these times. It is pretty remarkable how quickly the vaccines have developed, and yet... Hubby and I have an appointment to get our vaccines today, and I feel very lucky that perhaps we will receive some protection before the UK variant becomes predominant here. Timing and luck is everything these days, and I try to remain hopeful, but hope is thin on the ground for so many people. You and yours stay safe!

  10. sorry for your friend's loss. Thank you for the poem and a new to me poet!

  11. That is one powerful poem, Bonny. So much truth packed into those words.
    I'm sorry for the loss of your friend's mother. There are, indeed, a couple layers of extra sadness over her death. My heart breaks. XO

  12. I am sorry for the loss of your friend's mother. What a sad way to lose a loved one. This poem goes right to the heart of the matter - war or pandemic. Sometimes I think the heartache and loss of health and life has been glossed over in the effort to keep going.


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