Wednesday, April 1, 2015

solace in words

Several months, rough ones, have passed since my last blog. Some of you know that Chris and I recently went through a miscarriage. It's been a difficult experience, but we're working through it and are hopeful for the future. This post isn't a cry for sympathy, but a chance to reflect on poetry as a processing agent. 

For days after the event, all I could do was replay the realization, and pour that energy into language. Despite all the pain, I'm glad that the experience reminded me of the power poetry has for me, personally, to work through the profound challenges of being human. 

I'm posting this as a dedication to words. Now that I'm teaching creative writing, I'm trying to write more frequently along with my students. Here's effort #1, a messy draft, but a new beginning sprung from a loss.


At the doctor’s office, I see a circle --

symbol of unity, wholeness,

so perfect, its round white skeleton
surprising the black.

Perfectly empty, devoid
of life, movement, heartbeat.


like this poem --
staunchly empty, devoid
of vitality, circular, repetitious.


Creating is hard work.
From nothing, we build circles
within us. We pour strangled hopes
into empty space.

Blood whirs, hearts beat double time,
our godlike ambitions surprise us.


But stilled, we are, by circles
so perfect in potential,
devoid of damage but
damning us with blankness.

How can I cry over nothing,
empty myself
over a geometrical imprint?

Yet I am rent in two when
I see a circle, at the doctor’s office.


  1. Truly sorry to hear your news.
    I feel that poetry is the perfect form to express extremes of emotion and to help the writer come to an understanding - it's what I turn to when the going gets really tough.
    Good luck to both of you as you move on with your journey and keep up the writing - it may not be important, but I like this piece.

    1. Thanks much, Nigel! Poetry really does act as therapy for me. I appreciate your thoughts.

  2. Thanks for sharing your beautiful poem, Mel. It brought tears to my eyes but it is good to see you processing things! We love you and know there is hope and joy to come!

  3. Hi, cousin! I was so sad to hear about your loss in this post, but it sounds like you're handling the grief as well as can be hoped. Aaron and I had a miscarriage with our first pregnancy, too. It was an early one, and I think the hardest part for me was letting go of all the excitement I'd been feeling about telling my parents the good news. I'm 24-weeks pregnant now, and let me tell you, when I reached that same week in this pregnancy that the first one miscarried, I was a nervous wreck! We were cautious about this pregnancy until 12 weeks, telling each other not to get too excited in case "the new tenant doesn't decide to sign the lease." But happily, history doesn't always repeat itself, and I hope that'll prove true for you two, as well.

    Wishing you the best,

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Meghan! It means a lot to hear from family -- and to learn that others have gone through this. Congrats on your pregnancy -- I've enjoyed seeing photos your mom has posted! We're hopeful for the future as well. Hope you're feeling good!