“I have myself an inner weight of woe
That God himself can scarcely bear.”

-From Elegy, by Theodore Roethke

I heard this afternoon that a young woman
(I cannot say her name – I will call her Christie)
committed suicide yesterday.
My wife and daughter knew her a little;
I knew her only from half-listened to conversations.

A heaviness has descended.
Why should I, a stranger, feel sad?
With her death
whole worlds have shattered.


What wounds carried you away?
Not ours to know:
Wounds Christ bears like cherry blossoms
to the throne of grace.



In Japan, at this time of year,
kites are flown for good luck and blessings.
Adults and children shout for joy.
The colorful kites of bamboo and paper
rise high into the air.
the thin string that ties the kite to the ground
breaks, and the kite is free to soar
where it will.


My daughter shows me pictures of Christie.
     Her lover holds her close, as if afraid to let her go.


There are why’s to be asked now,
nor to be answered.
Written there,
with the pictures,
is a simple goodbye:
I’m on my way out


I sit listening to Trapped in a Dream by the American jazz musician Ambrose Akinmusire. His beautiful, melancholy trumpet. Discordant notes struggle to free themselves from the delicate theme.
Then: angry-sad drumming.

The album’s called Prelude
– which of course, means an introduction to something more important.

Is that what this was for you? Was this your Prelude?
A kite longing to soar. No string to hold you to our little world now.


I can hear Akinmusire’s Marie Christie, from his album The Imagined Savior is far easier to paint. The music collapses as we listen. Notes fall like tears from broken staves.

Is this your voice – telling us how it was, before you left?
I’m on my way out, you said.

Listening, I imagine you walking, and yes! – dancing, like a little girl, with your angels. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1qgqSLYLZ0

Is this presumptuous of me?
I never knew you
– only those scattered conversations.
This meditation

has no place in your loved ones’ grief,
no right to that sacred space.


Look at those musicians: that’s joy, right there!



I read somewhere that a haiku poem, however short, is never finished or even completely clear;  it requires the reader, in an act of co-creation, to add her own associations and imagery. If life is like a haiku poem, then we are a part of each other, our poem is somthing shared. In this sense, one of us ever truly die, for we live on in each other, we share each others’ haiku.

Happy now, Marie Christie.

“I have myself an inner weight of woe
That God himself can scarely bear.
What you survived I shall believe: the Heat, Scars, Tempests, Floods, the Motion of Man’s Fate;

I have myself, and bear its weight of woe
That God that God leans down His heart to hear.”
– Theodore Roethke


You left just after that artist of the poignant moment, John Berger.
So you were in good company – perhaps conversing on all those things which, for us here, cause confusion; explained now, and set to rest.

May the angels lead you to His light; they take you there.

And the last word, the Word:

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”


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