For The Dead

17 Sep

For The Dead

Adrienne Rich

I dreamed I called you on the telephone
to say: Be kinder to yourself
but you were sick and would not answer

The waste of my love goes on this way
trying to save you from yourself

I have always wondered about the left-over
energy, the way water goes rushing down a hill
long after the rains have stopped

or the fire you want to go to bed from
but cannot leave, burning-down but not burnt-down
the red coals more extreme, more curious
in their flashing and dying
than you wish they were
sitting long after midnight

Whenever I feel sad or anxious or overwhelmed, I read this poem. I find it weirdly comforting, especially the line about being kinder to myself. When I am stressed out and angry at myself over something, I often stop and say be kinder to yourself. For some reason it helps.

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