Beauty waits



There is nothing ambiguous about loss

it fills the spaces left behind

a tenderness that registers the slightest wind

so vulnerable it stops breath from breathing

in sudden recognition of how hard it is

to fill space when empty

waking each day turned inside out


There is nothing ambiguous about loss

That sharp clacking of stone upon stone

leaving a path of shards

the hidden gravity that shades the color blue

Where memory seems more than skin

translucent but barnacled…

a legacy of the light of dead stars


There is nothing ambiguous about loss

it separates the cut edges

opening abrasions with graveled hands

where hearing is more sensitive than sight

as music evokes both acid and balm

and the heaviness of dreaming

is carried in weary flesh


There is nothing ambiguous about loss

I am ever present in its deep grain

comprising the growth rings

through which side branches grow

I have become something other than I was

something less something more

while separated from beauty


This seemingly inexhaustible thirst

redeemed in the breath of wildness

each inhalation responding

each exhalation my wordless prayer

In animal distress

I bend low at the stream

Silent, listening…. I drink


Photo credit:

45 responses

  1. This is so painfully beautiful, Jana. You’ve captured that horrible feeling of pain/emptiness/isolation that loss brings so poignantly.
    Is the image your painting? I love it!

    Liked by 2 people

      • I have tremendous respect for you for finding that vulnerability and for having the courage to show it by posting this poem. That is the essence of being a writer, being and artist. And it is so hard!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • And oh my!! I just looked at the photos at the site you referenced. It makes my head hurt knowing all this is happening inside us. And the poetry the images are begging to have written!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jana this leaves me on the very edge of tears. I’m not sure if it’s because of the sheer beauty of it, or because of how well you have expressed your subject. The poem itself is remarkable, the closing lines… I realize as I read them one more time… they gather the entire poem and deliver it directly to the heart.

    The poem brings different things to mind, not least of which was the loss of my father twenty some years ago. It also brought to mind one of my favourite stanzas of poetry, from an old and weathered Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Stephen Mitchell. The poem is Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes. The stanza comes after Hermes touches Eurydices’ arm to let her know that Orpheus had turned and as a result they too had to turn and return to the underworld… but she was okay with this as she had already become root… had loosened like long hair, poured out like fallen rain…

    She had come into a new virginity
    and was untouchable; her sex had closed
    like a young flower at nightfall, and her hands
    had grown so unused to marriage, that the god’s
    infinitely gentle touch of guidance
    hurt her, like an undesired kiss.


    a tenderness that registers the slightest wind
    so vulnerable it stops breath from breathing

    Liked by 4 people

    • Your response, Chris, is really a gift in so many ways. I’m going to spend a week on the coast, on retreat with just the ocean, and now want to take a book of Rilke’s poetry with me. This stanza takes me completely by surprise, it is so beautiful.

      A question came to me awhile back which also took me by surprise. I realized I’d never asked, never wondered how Nature “feels” about our human relationship with it. In all Nature’s unending responsiveness we remain recalcitrant, destructive children. It opened up a doorway in me to begin living consciously with sorrow, with loss, beginning to learn the delicate balancing required. I’m not sure how I’m doing. It seems immense but possible….. xxxooo

      Liked by 3 people

      • It sounds like you’ve entered a place of beauty Jana, albeit dark perhaps and uncertain. Maybe beauty is the wrong word, but I don’t think so. The ocean and it’s mate the sky such kin to the soul. I hope you enjoy your time there, though that kind of “retreat” can be intense (be careful). Another book to consider is Rilke’s Book of Hours, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy.

        Thinking warmly of you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hesitate to insert myself in this beautiful exchange, but there is so much here. Rilke is such a profound poet. I love the thought of you at the sea with Rilke, Jana. Strangely enough, I walked by the ocean this morning and had thoughts so similar to yours. My heart is terribly heavy seeing what we have done to our dear earth. I just wait for the sea to rise up and reset the relationship.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I woke this morning Nadia, picturing “connections”….the connections we make between our self and others… like a “connect the dots by number” sketch and I wanted to put words to all these kinds of “connections”. It seems so singular, so linear, this connecting the dots, whether consciously or unconsciously we make them. Frail, wounded, sizzling, electrical, endearing, etc. Observing the patterns they make…

          And then because of receiving your message this morning, you and I have the opportunity to engage so spontaneously, outside of time really, in this very same dialogue as if we’re sitting over our morning tea, engaging these musings so seamlessly. It’s a wonder!

          I question my relationship here in the virtual world too. It is an extraordinary tool though. Perhaps to explore another way of being.

          Liked by 2 people

          • I love the image of sitting over our morning tea musing together. Our minds seem to be following similar paths. I, too, wonder about virtual connectedness. It seems in some ways so strong, maybe because we are sharing thoughts about subjects deeply important to us, and yet so fragile because we don’t really know each other. But I am grateful for the moments of real connection and communication like this one.

            Liked by 2 people

  3. This is all of a one, a complete piece. I can’t pick lines out, as is my usual wont, saying ‘I like this’ etc. It took me from family to Bowie and Bambi. There is a heft here and I love it
    The something other and the hearing more sensitive than sight reminded me of Poe. Yes, an emptiness filled.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “where hearing is more sensitive than sight” – I think I recognise that from when I lost my grandson five years ago, Jana, and I seemed to navigate more by echoes, internal and external, like a bat. A challenging piece, yet a most evocative one. H ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thor Heyerdahl, John! Look what he did with a raft. A nice strong one though. Thank you, John. Just touching down into those places that cast the biggest shadows like storm clouds that loom but never seem to rain. xxoo

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Michael. I appreciate your saying so. Since joining a group of women poets I’ve become a bit more conscious of how a poem is forming.
      In this poem I see the repetitious line as the “witnessing” line. Like sitting on a back porch catching the cool night air after a 90 degree day, everyone listening shaking their heads silently in witness of what I’m feeling.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. In your words I felt the rhythm of loss- how it has a unique cadence. Visceral- as it follows it’s own path through our being and all one can do is breathe and watch and wait. Beautiful poem. Beautifully stated.

    Liked by 1 person

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