My Gram once asked me to get a tablet from her purse. She didn’t want the purse–just the tablet–which was kept in an old cough drop tin held secure by two rubber bands. Had it not taken so long to break into Gram’s tablet stash, I doubt I would have read the poem that happened to fall out with it.
I wish I’d saved it but it wasn’t mine and I didn’t have a camera phone then. What I remember is the essence of several rhyming stanzas which impacted me greatly, for it was a story of a woman who hated being alone, hated being a widow, and yelled her heart out to God. It was a psalm, really, and it ended as so many of the psalms do. Somewhere in the middle of the poem there was an acceptance of grief, and an understanding that her life wasn’t yet finished, and her only task now was to make the most of the time she had left.
I loved that poem because of what it revealed of how my Gram was feeling, and what she was holding on to so fiercely. She often clipped poetry. It was a reminder to keep walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Reading Droplets–Poetry for Those in Grief by Anne Peterson, made me feel much the same way. I’m sure my Gram would have clipped her poems too.
Anne has included poems reflecting the loss of a spouse, parent or sibling in this volume, and made me gasp with simple questions like, “Why don’t you wake up?” She writes expressions of love and pain. How there’s never enough time. Whether death was slow and expected, or sudden and shearing, there was never enough time with the one who left.
For me, the poems that resonated were where I felt my losses–miscarriage, anticipated, or catastrophic grief. What I appreciate most is her exploration of the complicated and unexpected emotions grief can bring forth.
The world loses colour, and hope seems difficult to grasp, but it’s there. It’s there. As emptiness and loss sneaks up at the most unexpected times, so too does hope.
From her memoir, Broken–a Story of Abuse and Survival, I know she has been forced into first-hand knowledge. Anne’s sister was murdered. She understands grief.
As a result, some poems ask difficult and sometimes angry questions. Others reflect solace that washing in memories can bring. Peterson’s deep faith is evident.
Her words are simple, but her messages are not.
It was difficult to choose a favourite poem to feature on my blog today, but with Anne’s permission, I’ve chosen Replay. For me, the words I think of are, “Gotta get her home now. Love you, Auntie.”
The short verses in this collection could be beneficial for those in grief. It could also be a valuable resource for those seeking to understand grief in a more empathetic way. It is a volume to be revisited again and again.
Anne Peterson is a poet, speaker and author of nine published books. While Anne’s poetry is sold throughout the United States and in twenty-three countries, this is her third published book of poetry. Her first and second are Make Believe: Volume one and two, books that are for children and adults alike. Anne’s other children’s books are: Emma’s Wish, The Crooked House, Lulu’sLunch and Sonny Follows His Heart. Anne has also written BROKEN: A Story of Abuse and Survival, and Chills: The Eerie side of Poetry. Anne’s books are available through online retailers.
You can see more of her work at www.annepeterson.com or visit her at https://www.facebook.com/annepetersonwrites