[Jim Talk] Working With Grief

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NOTE: THE DHARMA TALK BEGINS AT TIME STAMP 01:07:30, PRECEDED BY: QI GONG MEDITATION (STARTING AT TIME STAMP 00:44:50)  AND ANNOUNCEMENTS.

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WHAT FOLLOWS ARE THE POEMS THAT JIM REFERENCED DURING HIS DHARMA TALK:

 

 

Rainer Maria Rilke,

on ‘Living the Questions’

 “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

 

 

At Blackwater Pond

by Mary Oliver

 

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.

 

Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.”

 

Nothing Gold Can Stay

by Robert Frost

 

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower; 
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.

 

Spring and Fall: To A Young Child

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

 

Margaret, are you grieving

Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.

Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

 

 

For Grief

by John O’Donohue

 

When you lose someone you love,
Your life becomes strange,
The ground beneath you becomes fragile,
Your thoughts make your eyes unsure;
And some dead echo drags your voice down
Where words have no confidence
Your heart has grown heavy with loss;
And though this loss has wounded others too,
No one knows what has been taken from you
When the silence of absence deepens.

Flickers of guilt kindle regret
For all that was left unsaid or undone.

There are days when you wake up happy;
Again inside the fullness of life,
Until the moment breaks
And you are thrown back
Onto the black tide of loss.
Days when you have your heart back,
You are able to function well
Until in the middle of work or encounter,
Suddenly with no warning,
You are ambushed by grief.


It becomes hard to trust yourself.
All you can depend on now is that
Sorrow will remain faithful to itself.
More than you, it knows its way
And will find the right time
To pull and pull the rope of grief
Until that coiled hill of tears
Has reduced to its last drop.

Gradually, you will learn acquaintance
With the invisible form of your departed;
And when the work of grief is done,
The wound of loss will heal
And you will have learned
To wean your eyes
From that gap in the air
And be able to enter the hearth
In your soul where your loved one
Has awaited your return
All the time. 

 

 

The Second Coming

by W.B. Yeats

 

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst   
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.   
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out   
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert   
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,   
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,   
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it   

Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.   
The darkness drops again; but now I know   
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

 

When Death Comes

By Mary Oliver

 

When death comes 
like the hungry bear in autumn; 
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut; 
when death comes 
like the measle-pox
when death comes 
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering: 
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything 
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood, 
and I look upon time as no more than an idea, 
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common 
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth, 
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something 
precious to the earth.
When it's over, I want to say all my life 
I was a bride married to amazement. 
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it's over, I don't want to wonder 
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened, 
or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

 

Date: 
Sunday, October 13, 2019