My Visit With Grief

(This poem, one of my first, was originally written in November of 1978 when I was 12 years old.)

Here I stand, just on the verge of tears
When just a day or so ago, Grief came to visit me.
He brought with him what can be plainly seen
Three kids, who could care nothing for their inheritance mean;
Nor really of their father who gave it them and them to me.

Sorrow the first and eldest son
Made all to cry for deeds that could not be undone
And sayings that could not be unsaid.
Oh please, Sorrow, said I
Leave me alone and the earth and fly higher than high.
Up into the vast lands of the past.
Oh please, Sorrow, go back to the lands from whence thou came.
Go back again.
Twas what I said to the eldest son, Sorrow.

The second child was a girl named Pity.
Oh, Pity, said I
Fly away, fly away high.
Away to the people who use Thee Thy precepts to regain.
I’ll tell it again.
Oh please, Pity, leave I and mine.
I have no use for Thee, so why not go pity the vine.
The vine, one that can’t be near mine.

Then there was a third, his name was Sadness.
Oh, Sadness, said I
Many and many’s the time before,
When I could not help but look through your door,
And taste of the food you offered me
Just when I became so, so happy.
Impossible, I cried.
Leave me alone, and come no more.
Don’t you dare to peek through my door.

But to my amazement, they were all like stone.
Why, the very thought of it chilled me to the bone.
To think I’d yelled at these precious little kids
Who got their names from their father: GRIEF.
Grief, I could not forget,
And these kids had come to me to receive
Anything, yes anything, but what I gave.

So I took each child from Grief’s hands and arms
So little and precious! I cried while looking for their charms.
Why to think of such things as I’d just said,
I think I’d have rather been dead.

I took Sorrow first and changed his name.
His father couldn’t watch this
As sorrow was turned to Happiness.

Then I dearly and tenderly took
Pity, whom I had so piteously forsook.
I named her Charity.
Their old father now became red.
He’d discovered I’d changed them for the better instead.

And then I took Sadness, I renamed him, too.
His new name became Love.
Love, Charity and Happiness these three,
Made the world a brighter place, because of me.

What I wonder would have been,
should have been,
could have been,
But because I tenderly and in a motherly fashion took
Each little child I had forsook –
The man called Grief stomped off in a storm
And said, I’ll get them back, as he always did, in scorn.
But at least take this little creed and heed,
What a little motherly kindness shown can do and did.

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