December 12, 2010
We have thought together about the ways in which gratitude functions as a change agent. I discovered this idea expressed in a different and thought-provoking form in Anterooms, Richard Wilbur’s new collection of poetry.
The fourth poem in the collection is titled “Psalm.” The first of its five stanzas reads:
Give thanks for all things
On the plucked lute, and likewise
The harp of ten strings.
The concluding stanza:
Then in grave relief
Praise too our sorrows on the
Cello of shared grief.
Think about this change: stripped of narcissistic individualism, our sorrows are also to be praised, voiced through the “cello of shared grief.”
There is something powerfully moving in this image: my personal grief heard first as an unaccompanied strident solo, then mellowed and muted into one of many voices in the dark rich sound of the “cello of shared grief.”
Do you view sorrow as a solitary activity?
Comforted tonight to know my sorrow is not mine alone; I rest, hearing the night music of shared grief.
See you next week.