Poetry Speaks to Pain

Early in 2002, I discovered in myself a great reserve of strength and faith. It carried me through an extremely difficult and painful period. The following extract is taken from the poem ‘Mythistorema’ by George Seferis (translation: Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard). It spoke loudly and clearly to me then and even now reminds me that I was, and am, not alone. Reading has always brought me great comfort even, and sometimes especially, while confronting me with my discomfort.

Sleep wrapped you in green leaves like a tree
you breathed like a tree in the quiet light 

in the limpid spring I looked at your face:

eyelids closed, eyelashes brushing the water.

In the soft grass my fingers found your fingers

I held your pulse a moment

and felt elsewhere your heart’s pain.
Under the plane tree, near the water, among laurel

sleep moved you and scattered you

around me, near me, without my being able to touch the whole of you —

one as you were with your silence;

seeing your shadow grow and diminish,

lose itself in the other shadows, in the other

world that let you go yet held you back.

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