Grief and Consolation 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1806 – 1861
I tell you, hopeless grief is passionless—
That only men incredulous of despair,
Half-taught in anguish, through the midnight air,
Beat upward to God’s throne in loud access
Of shrieking and reproach. Full desertness
In souls, as countries, lieth silent-bare
Under the blenching, vertical eye-glare
Of the absolute Heavens. Deep-hearted man, express
Grief for thy Dead in silence like to death;
Most like a monumental statue set
In everlasting watch and moveless woe,
Till itself crumble to the dust beneath!
Touch it! the marble eyelids are not wet—
If it could weep, it could arise and go.
Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850 – 1894
Though he, that ever kind and true,
Kept stoutly step by step with you,
Your whole long, gusty lifetime through,
      Be gone a while before,
Be now a moment gone before,
Yet, doubt not, soon the seasons shall restore
      Your friend to you.
He has but turned the corner — still
He pushes on with right good will,
Through mire and marsh, by heugh and hill,
      That self-same arduous way —
That self-same upland, hopeful way,
That you and he through many a doubtful day
      Attempted still.
He is not dead, this friend — not dead,
But in the path we mortals tread
Got some few, trifling steps ahead
      And nearer to the end;
So that you too, once past the bend,
Shall meet again, as face to face, this friend
      You fancy dead.
Push gaily on, strong heart! The while
You travel forward mile by mile,
He loiters with a backward smile
      Till you can overtake,
And strains his eyes to search his wake,
Or whistling, as he sees you through the brake,
      Waits on a stile.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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