The Unfinished Poem

Yesterday morning, over a breakfast quesadilla and too hot hot sauce– a discussion took place on sadness, particularly how it looked on my face. 2018 was particularly sad year in terms of loss. So I turned to one of my favorite sages on this and other wisdom– Kahlil Gibran in his seminal work: The Prophet. Thus his writing on joy and sorrow:

“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain”.

I confess to really not understanding this. How can sadness be contingent on joy or vice versa? And yet I do understand–the greater the love–the deeper its response (sorrow) when that joyful love is perceptively lost. Perception is the key.

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”

The takeaway here is that sadness is truly an act of love–damn that it just doesn’t feel that way. So I’m learning not to push it away, and instead invite it in for conversation.

walking with sorrow
around the corner
a begrudging friendship
long after
the after
lingers on
if not for sorrow
the unfinished



5 thoughts on “The Unfinished Poem

  1. Beautifully stated. Your thoughts have brought a well of tears up in me. 2018 has been a huge challenge for me as well, with the loss of my mom near Christmas of 2017…2018 was the cycle of the first year of grief over this loss for our family. This, coupled with a resulting fallout between some of my siblings has made grief even more pronounced and profound. So many lessons here to live and learn in this new year and beyond.

    Perhaps in Gibran’s message, “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain” is that sorrow carves so deep an emptiness and void into our being, that it at the same time, creates a deep chalice in our hearts, that when we’re ready, is opened to be filled with joy and delight in all we’ve been weeping for.

    I don’t know if this made sense, as I too am trying to wrap my head, heart and soul around it all.
    I hope you’ll be ok on your journey into this new year. Thank you, Andrea.

  2. Wow–thank you Cynthia for your hope-filled “chalice in our hearts.” Yes, there are times that appear to challenge us more than others and periods of grief is certainly one of them. Let’s be grateful for “the journey” inclusive of all our soulful days and nights. Thank you for your concern–as long as we stay close to nature (outdoors and inside us)–we will both be fine. Hug your pups for me!

  3. I have felt strong grief recently and try to allow it to rest inside me for awhile. When I was younger, I tried to block grief with busyness, but I discovered that it finally wouldn’t be denied. Perhaps Gibran writes of a balance that we might acquire if we allow ourselves the depth of our feelings whether they are happy or sad. I love the painting you chose to illustrate.

  4. Thanks Barb. Truly grief and pain are healed best through acknowledgement and facing it all head on–a learned response at this stage, but one that can grow in strength. You are right–depth of feeling signals us to pay attention. Blessings through the happy and sad times. Glad you like the painting–it’s older now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s