Today’s craft resource is a long-ish essay by Hyejung Kook regarding how poetry can be created from absence, or in the wake of loss, and how awareness of mortality drives a desire to produce art, people, poems.
Today, we’d like to challenge you to write an elegy – a poem typically written in honor or memory of someone dead. But we’d like to challenge you to write an elegy that has a hopefulness to it. Need inspiration? You might look at W.H. Auden’s elegy for Yeats, which ends on a note suggesting that the great poet’s work will live on, inspiring others in years to come. Or perhaps this elegy by Mary Jo Bang, where the sadness is shot through with a sense of forgiveness on both sides
The elegy I’ve written is for a friend who I lost 2 years ago. She was just 32. I met her a month before she went on her journey and I never dreamed that it was the last time we’d meet. But it was. And all I had left were messages and a promise we made, to meet again. I think of her often, at times more than I think of my mother who was my soul, my life. For in death, she answered all those questions that I had been carrying in my heart for the last ten years. “Why had it happened?”, “Why did my mother have to go so young?”, “Were the facilities not good enough?”, “Had the doctors made a mistake?”, “Had we not done enough?”
But she had had it all and yet she had gone too…and she had taken all my questions along with her. Peace is what she gave me, when she left.
It’s two years since you’ve been gone,
And with you those questions that in my heart I had borne
Seems like just the other day…
Twelve since, She went away-
And that too… seems like, only yesterday.
I want to say, “I’m sorry.” I walked away,
Didn’t think you’d understand, so I didn’t say…
You wanted to know, why I hadn’t been in touch,
She left and with her, my soul. I had nothing to give. You had it all; that’s the reason, pretty much
I had to go, learn to live, without a crutch.
I’m so sorry, I can’t stop thinking,
I didn’t see it coming-
the last time we met,
when I promised to never let…
go again. But you left. Like, a promise, is all you wished to get…
I want to say, “Thank you” for the gift-
you smiled, you laughed, you ended an unspoken rift…
And when you went… a little too early,
You took with you, the guilt, the pain and the misery,
that for ten years, I, in my heart did carry…
Thank you for the Peace,
For taking the agony, that I thought would never cease,
Death sees not beauty or age, neither goodness nor love,
I see you sometimes – a white dove,
And you’re not alone. I see you, with her, looking down… from above.
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