I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

9 October 2015

The Learnings

What a teacher is grief – eventually. For a time, you don't know you're learning lessons: you are simply getting through each day. But, day by day, years pass. A friend remarks how busy you are, and you say, 'I learned long ago that keeping busy is an antidote to grief.' Your friend nods; she knows.

And yet, immediately, you know that you are lying. There is no antidote to grief; there are simply distractions, ways to cope. Hearing from your own mouth your own lie, you learn that you can lie – to others and to yourself. You notice also that you are marking time while your life, which has become pointless, continues to play itself out. You have therefore developed a surface, a seeming. You hope you appear normal. Your friend's silent gaze lets you know she sees deeper.

Later, looking back, you realise you have acquired some kind of stoic endurance. This is a true lesson: not merely something you have learned to do, but a way you have learned to be. This one is not a lie; it is a change. But the nature of change is not to be permanent. You learn that you cannot trust it, any more than if it was in fact a lie. It is true now, but may become a lie later. You learn of the shifting nature of truth. You learn that you do not know where your grief will take you next. You have also learned that your friend will keep pace.

'Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity,' said Kahlil Gibran.

slow footsteps –
she cleans her house
over and over

Written for dVerse
 Haibun Monday 2, and for Poets United's Midweek Motif:Teacher 


  1. Such a touching haibun.... beautiful work!!

  2. A very moving personal share ~ There are lessons from handling that grief, moving on and enduring time as it moves over and over ~ I hope you are busy nonetheless ~

    Thanks for the lovely haibun Rosemary ~

  3. Beautiful haibun. Will read this a few more times. You never really recover from grief. It's not a teacher.It's a bloody killer. You just put a lid on it....survive it by keeping busy and keeping on keeping on because there is no alternative.When it pops up again deal with it briefly then like any little Aussie battler slap it around the head and sit on the mongrel:)There will be laughing and some nice times again for you Rosemary.... bad aura around at the moment.

  4. Yes, grief is a mystery...and we don't get through this life without it, so we might as well make friends with it, it is constant, and faithful, a loyal friend. For so long I have tried to think how to not allow death to sneak up on me, surprise me, I think it is to keep it close. Give thanks for its' presence, it helps us know who we are, and who we are not...we simply have to make room for it. We will learn much as we move through the journey.

  5. this life is a teacher offering us chances to learn and gain strength, be aware of our inner power to move on...a beautiful and thoughtful haibun....

  6. Wow! You speak the utter truth. And the haiku makes such a strong statement, all on its own. Fantastic, Rosemary!

  7. This coping is exactly how it is.. I think grief is like the scar after a wound, first you put a bandage and say you've healed which is lie, later you have learned not to scratch which is that you've learned to cope. But it might come a day when you start to scratch again...

  8. So true. Grief is a teacher, we may not realize at first but it helps build us endurance... And then strength to endure not just grief but so many things in life.

  9. Humans will do almost anything to escape pain.. including
    painful emotions.. bud sadly without the
    sadly or not..
    Human emotions
    are energy
    for us to
    grow in
    both light
    and dark
    ways of feeling
    life.. Lesson of a lifetime
    for me.. is to appreciate
    both the dark and light
    of human
    of the Pro-Social
    kind freely the
    other darker
    con-social ones..
    i regulate out and
    do not miss at all
    like jealousy.. envy
    pride.. doubt..
    and all of that..
    It is possible
    to get control
    in relative
    free will
    of emotions
    and senses in
    ways of regulation
    and integration..
    but surely
    in our culture
    in the U.S.
    with all
    THE job
    of JOB..
    to get

    Rests n0 JOB
    unTiL peace iS
    heRe.. staYsN0W..:)

  10. I was stunned by line 'shifting nature of truth.' and haiku 'she cleans her house again and again' ~ learning all life, teacher and student in one...

  11. I think you've used this poetic form well to analyse and express some truths about how changes in life affect us all, how "stoic endurance" becomes a pathway to go forward. The haibun is a fascinating form. Love from Linda

  12. I am quite blown away by everyone's very wise comments! Thank you all.

    I do have laughter, nice times and even deep joy, plus a number of understanding friends. And I am busy, but more with writing and friendships than compulsively cleaning house, lol.

  13. We all seek for an escape everytime grief hits us. The entire piece is in truest form

  14. Yes, grief is a teacher, come to help us learn about life and living it fully, among many other things. You used the form well and created a meditation of sorts, an inner travelogue and the haiku is satisfying in a way that is difficult to express,


  15. Powerful indeed...there're so many truths here and you give them so personally and thoughtfully...a gift, Rosemary.

  16. How profound. I know from personal experience that it's true.

  17. Rosemary I like the way the haibun and your poem fit hand in glove.
    the lessons we learn take a chunk of flesh but surprisingly we continue on.

  18. And you are a teacher as well because you have adapted to your new way of being in the world and are sharing that with us every day. Not an easy lesson to learn even for those not living with grief. You show your strength and awareness in this even as you acknowledge your "lies." I admire you, Rosemary.

  19. Grief necessitates catharsis. And before one may clean one's soul, one needs to clean one's nest and one's body. Your haibun left me cleansed the second time I read it...