This abandonment is most cruel.
My desire to blame the Trinity feels misplaced,
but it would be nice if they, it, attended me
in person for a few hours.
It is in the months after my daughter’s death
and I have bargained with my soul daily
to take this pain and sorrow away,
and deliver the promised love a family engenders.
Soul. A word I use for the other voice in my head.
The one that arrived that terrible day
when what could go wrong in delivery
went wrong and blue ceased to be my favorite color.
I have noted how often when I walk the mountain
how I see myself separate below until I arrive
at the rock in the glade where the elk
often weave their way through the aspens to visit.
I have observed how the sun at our backs
casts only one shadow upon the trail
and how much a granola bar wrapper caught in a scrub
pushes tears to the brim of my eyes, but not over.
Somewhere in my mind is the belief
grace would be made evident if I walked the ridge
to the top of this rocky mountain
three-thousand feet above the tree line.
But there is no bush up there to burn with God’s word.
Besides, my spent body is not equal to that deliverance.
Here, of course, on the mountain, with individual drops
a stream forms and eventually finds its way home to the sea.
My other voice states in even tones,
The soul has no mercy. It will pain you
with every visit you make to this hollow piece
of broken time.
Across the glade the first elk arrives,
appears to be divided in three by the slender aspen.
copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney
Those of you who know, know my daughter died on delivery 29 years ago. It is not just the loss of the daughter that crushes, but a loss of faith in how one perceives god. Because I was raised Christian, I tend to use Christian symbols, like the trinity.
As much as anyone gets over the loss of a child, I got over that many years ago, but I found that regaining faith was a more difficult thing to do. Maybe faith is the wrong word. Maybe it is getting over the feeling of abandonment by a higher power, where the feeling you carry about is more akin to Patti Smith’s “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine” from her song Gloria.
For me I felt and feel the higher power strongest in nature and, during the lean years of grief, spent as much time as I could muster in nature.
The “broken time” part of the poem is the effect of a point in time always drawing you to relive it, instead of being laid gently in the past to rest. Because I return to that point of time around the anniversary of that day, I still write poems that cover the topic, even 29 years later.
Love & Light