Sunday, August 14, 2011

Trust Roots

Is it better for grief to be paired with hope? Or is it best to have none, to hit the bottom hard and in your pain know, at least, that there’s no further down to go? Hope can always fail us eventually: What if the thing hoped for never comes to pass? What if the universe is moving in a different direction than the one you’re longing for? And so grief paired with hope is a perfect breeding ground for fear.

And still, I think I’ll take my grief with hope and do my best to wait, as Adrienne Rich says, "...without sadness and with grave impatience." And to believe that roots lovingly tended can survive a winter under snow and send up green shoots in the spring--whenever spring arrives.

(From "This is My Third and Last Address to You," by Adrienne Rich)

The work of winter starts fermenting in my head
how with the hands of a lover or a midwife
to hold back till the time is right

force nothing, be unforced
accept no giant miracles of growth
by counterfeit light

trust roots, allow the days to shrink
give credence to these slender means
wait without sadness and with grave impatience

here in the north where winter has a meaning
where the heaped colors suddenly go ashen
where nothing is promised

learn what an underground journey
has been, might have to be; speak in a winter code
let fog, sleet, translate; wind, carry them.


  1. Dear Amy, This is a strong piece. What a message. I have missed you so.I hope you are OK

  2. Well watered roots always survive, I guess we just don't know quite how the new leaves will grow in spring.

  3. I go with well watered roots because spring WILL come. If I did not believe spring would come I would not believe the snow would melt and I would freeze to death.

  4. I don't know what's happening for you just now Amy but thinking of you all the same. And I wonder if hope could be replaced with trust? xx

  5. Thanks for sharing this lovely poem, Amy... one for my own wall. Trust roots...
    wishing you peace,

  6. The only way out is through.
    Or, as Tylan put it the other day,
    "The thing that seems to be blocking the way, is the way."

  7. You be grief, I'll be hope. Grab a hand, sister, and let's start climbing. I will fail. I will not be strong enough at times. You will let me sit within my sorrow, my ruptures of inadequacy as they tackle us down.

    And you know? It's not really a hole or the bottom of anything. It's the very top of the tree, the point where there is nowhere left to climb and the horrifying realization hits: oh shit. I have to fly. I'm at the bottom of the mother-f***ing sky.

  8. Honestly, a hope-grief pairing does not sound bad if it's like the cream softening coffee or the valley fog cooling the evening. And such feeling here, in this word-image combination. (Nice to see you the other day.)

  9. Nothing profound to say, except... this touched me, and thank you.