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MERI Center Blog

April 29, 2020
SMS Meeting Poems
Grief/Loss

Wondrous
by Sarah Freligh

I’m driving home from school when the radio talk
turns to E.B. White, his birthday, and I exit
the here and now of the freeway at rush hour,

 

travel back into the past, where my mother is reading
to my sister and me the part about Charlotte laying her eggs
and dying, and though this is the fifth time Charlotte

 

has died, my mother is crying again, and we’re laughing
at her because we know nothing of loss and its sad math,
how every subtraction is exponential, how each grief

 

multiplies the one preceding it, how the author tried
seventeen times to record the words She died alone
without crying, seventeen takes and a short walk during

 

which he called himself ridiculous, a grown man crying
for a spider he’d spun out of the silk thread of invention —
wondrous how those words would come back and make

 

him cry, and, yes, wondrous to hear my mother’s voice
ten years after the day she died — the catch, the rasp,
the gathering up before she could say to us, I’m OK.

April 22, 2020
SMS Meeting Poems

Today, I read "Today, When I Could Do Nothing" by Jane Hirshfield at the UCSF Symptom Management Service Meeting:

 

April 15, 2020
SMS Meeting Poems

Today, Dr. Paul Lindenfeld read the English translation of Hanohano Hanalei, The Glory of Hanalei, at the UCSF Symptom Management Service Meeting.  

Hanohano Hanalei/The Glory of Hanalei

Hanohano Hanalei i ka ua nui,          The glory of Hanalei is its heavy rain,

E pakika kahi limu o Manu'akepa.    Slippery seaweed of Manu'akepa.

I laila ho'i au i 'ike iho ai                    There I felt

I ka hana hu'i konikoni i ka 'ili.          Tingling cool sensation of the skin.

Aloha kahi one o pua rose                Greetings, O sand and rose flowers

I ka ho'opē 'ia e ka hunakai.             Drenched by sea spray.

'Akahi ho'i au a 'ike i ka nani.           Never have I seen such splendor.

Hanohano Hanalei i ka ua nui.          The glory of Hanalei is its heavy rain.

Kilakila kahi wai nā Molokama          Majestic streams of Molokama

I ke kau 'ia mai ho'i e ka 'ohu.          Mist-covered.

He 'ohu ho'i 'oe nō ka 'āina              You...

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April 8, 2020
SMS Meeting Poems

 

Love Dogs (by Rumi)

One night a man was crying,
“Allah, Allah!”
His lips grew sweet with the praising,
until a cynic said,
“So! I have heard you
calling out, but have you ever
gotten any response?”
The man had no answer for that.
He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.
He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls,
in a thick, green foliage,
“Why did you stop praising?”
“Because I’ve never heard anything back.”
“This longing you express
is the return message.”
The grief you cry out from
draws you toward union.
Your pure sadness that wants help
is the secret cup.
Listen to the moan of a dog for its master.
That whining is the connection.
There are love dogs no one knows the names of.
Give your life to be one of them.

April 1, 2020
SMS Meeting Poems
Grief/Loss

Your grief for what you’ve lost holds a mirror
up to where you're bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look and instead,
here's the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as birdwings.

Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi