I am not resigned

There is a pink balloon dancing at her grave, as there always is on her birthday or anniversary. Mum has had a message written on this balloon: Happy Birthday Beautiful. 

Her stone is unique and special- pinky granite inscribed with gold script designed by a calligrapher friend: “Bright and beautiful your touch in our lives”.  She has a tiny garden, with a small white rose bush and a fuschia. She has trinkets and a spinning windmill, and I clip a golden butterfly onto the lavender plant.

It’s a place of beauty. But today I feel angry. I don’t want this cold, dutiful pilgrimage. I don’t want to be part of this world of loss, whose inhabitants know which flowers will last the longest on a grave. I wish my mum didn’t know how to wrap cellophane around H’s birthday card and stick it down to stop the rain getting in. I don’t understand how a life just beginning to extend its branches and to blossom can be reduced to a metre square of flowers.

Standing stiffly here, sorrow driven like a stake through the core of me, looking at my boyfriend with his hands on the stone and tears on his cheek, I’m angry for all of us and our loss, but mostly for the 21 year old that she should be now.

We walk back to the car in silence, mud and grass clotting around the high heels of my boots. The evolution of our species is seriously flawed, I think, if such a person can be allowed to exist for such a short time, and if such horrible tragedy and distress can be a part of life.


My words are clunky with sadness today, and I think a poem will better say how I feel:

Dirge Without Music (Edna St Vincent Millay)

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, — but the best is lost.

The answers quick & keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.


5 Responses to “I am not resigned”

  1. 1 Thursday October 21, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    I’ve read this a few times and cannot find the words. My words seem clunky, YOUR words are far from clunky.

  2. 2 bokker October 21, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Thankyou very much.
    It’s hard to get the words out sometimes. I appreciate you reading.

  3. 3 Min October 23, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    I am not resigned. I do not approve. Everybody should turn 21. And more.

    I am so sad and angry for for your beautiful sister, H. And for you having to know what it feels like to have your heels clotted with mud walking back from a place you never ever ever imagined her being.

  4. 4 min October 23, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    also- thank you. Your words and the poem have been haunting me all day long. So much ‘grief’ poetry is about finding acceptance, peace or happy memories. Not the raw honesty of how screamingly achingly angry the unfairness of losing someone makes you. This is better than two hundred well meaning but misguided condolence letters.

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