By the grace of the internet, I found this poem during a time of grief some years ago. The only consolation at that moment was the hope that the friend who had died, who had been in a lot of emotional pain, “divested himself of despair and fear” upon moving from life to death, and I was so moved and grateful to Jane Kenyon for having put this hope into words. In Mexico, I heard it said another way: the dead are happy because they have no more worries.

Happy Dia de los Muertos to the living and dead!

Notes from the Other Side
Jane Kenyon

I divested myself of despair
and fear when I came here.

Now there is no more catching
one’s own eye in the mirror,

there are no bad books, no plastic,
no insurance premiums, and of course

no illness. Contrition
does not exist, nor gnashing

of teeth. No one howls as the first
clod of earth hits the casket.

The poor we no longer have with us.
Our calm hearts strike only the hour,

and God, as promised, proves
to be mercy clothed in light.

Advertisements