This poem was written for John O’Neil, for the Vericon Charity Auction, in memory of Marcia Sherman. The context for this is my Thessaly books.
So much to teach, but still so much to learn:
A starheart’s fires, a symphony, a leaf,
The fierce fiery yearning leap of soul
Creating, understanding, joy to burn
To comprehend so much, to know it whole
Even the hardest thing to handle: Grief.
I spent eternity evading grief
With every strategy that I could learn
To keep it out of reach, my friends still whole,
Like readers who won’t turn the final leaf
Although they know the library must burn
As if they could preserve it in their soul.
Mine is a glorious immortal soul
And so I was more sabotaged by grief:
When conflagration catches me, I burn.
And I had no recourse, was forced to learn
Mortals, ephemeral as any leaf
When she I loved was taken from me whole.
No moments of her left, her life was whole
Completed, gone, and though there was her soul
Whirling through Hades like a wind-blown leaf
I had to wait through hurricanes of grief.
I couldn’t reach her, couldn’t even learn
Why she had wanted me to feel this burn.
I am the sun, my nature is to burn,
As bright white day enlightens, shining whole
Illuminating all that helps to learn
And laying bare the secrets of the soul —
But not like this! Not smothered up in grief
Autumnal trees, that mourn for every leaf.
As time goes on, turning another leaf,
I found the revelation, why we burn.
For every mortal life must pass through grief
If we have loved at all, and to be whole
We have to dare to love, and from the soul.
This was the lesson that was hard to learn.
I love each living leaf, each song, I’m whole.
I burn as bright as stars, and grow my soul.
Grief still remains the hardest thing to learn.