The Morning After

The Morning After
by Theodora Goss

Even on the morning after
a great tragedy, the world is still beautiful.
Should it be?  I don’t know.

Perhaps after the slaughter, after
the bodies lying in a field, the houses burning,
the clouds should no longer continue intermittently
concealing and revealing the sky.  Perhaps the leaves
should stop turning orange and yellow and red.
Perhaps they too should honor the dead.
But they don’t.

If anything, the world says to us:
my strange, impermanent children,
look at my mountains.  Learn to breath, as they do.
Look at my forests, at the trunks of trees that have grown
over a century.  Or the grasses, renewed annually.
They live and die, yet are no less important than the rocks.
The moth that lives for a day is as precious
as the tortoise.

Learn to love what you are: a part
of the whole.  Do not divide yourself.
Do not think you are alone, or you alone
walk this earth. The wolves slip through the forest
and above you, the wild geese are calling.
You are part of the family: let that be
not frightening but reassuring.

This morning, the river will not mourn with you.
It will continue to flow, as it has since before
you were born.  But as you memorialize the dead
again, for this has happened before, it will remind you
that beyond strife and sorrow and anger,
the leaves are turning.  That it is autumn,
and the swallows are preparing
once again to fly south.

Morning After 1

Morning After 2

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7 Responses to The Morning After

  1. Lisa McKay says:

    Beautifully written.

  2. karemelia says:

    Comforting assurance, eloquently expressed. Thank you.

  3. Most true and lovely. I’m breathing it…and here and echo from the past for you:

    Life has loveliness to sell
    All beautiful and splendid things,
    Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
    Soaring fire that sways and sings,,
    And children’s faces looking up,
    Holding wonder like a cup.

    Life has loveliness to sell,
    Music like a curve of gold,
    Scent of pine trees in the rain,
    eyes that love you, arms to hold,
    And for your spirits still delight,
    Holy thoughts that star the night.

    Spend all you have for loveliness,
    Buy it and never count the cost;
    For one white singing hour of peace
    Count many a year of strife well lost,
    And for a breath of ecstacy
    Give all you have been, or could be

    -Sarah Teasdale-1917

  4. Thank you all so much for the kind words. 🙂

  5. A poignant reminder for us all, and yes, the stars still shine brightly upon us in the wake of our grief.

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