Against Grief

It sits on my shoulder,
craving attention; I try to ignore
the surreptitious tears it draws
from my soul’s well,
and snot green bile
so bitter it chokes.

It puts up a fence
around happy memories;
I have to tear it down,
time after time,
posts and nails,
tangled barbed wire.

It rewrites stories;
they’re not true
and it wants me to believe
its lies about you.
But I am learning to ignore it
so I can find you again.

Kim M. Russell, 3rd April 2018

Image result for paintings and artwork of grief
Grief art found on Pinterest

My response to The Poetry School NaPoWriMo prompt Day 3: Against the Grain, shared on Imaginary Garden with Real Toads  Tuesday Platform: NaPoWriMo Style

Today, Ali would like us to write a poem that’s against something: it can be a logical argument, a passionate polemic, or an admission that we don’t actually like, say, The Wire, or the poems of Emily Dickinson. It can be anything we want — but the point is we must state our opposition to something. Our titles should be ‘Against X’ where X represents our objects of loathing, as in today’s example poem, ‘Against Naturism’ by Roddy Lumsden.


43 thoughts on “Against Grief

  1. You convey so much feeling in these stanzas. The second is particularly vivid. The whole conveys a strong message about the way grief can alter a person’s perception of reality.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Kerry. Someone who commented on it at The Poetry School suggested that ‘soul’s well’ is too poetic and I should find a more concrete image – and that the poem needs trimming.


      1. I disagree with your critic. I think “soul’s well” is perfectly fine in this context; in fact don’t see what else you could have said. Nor do I see here you could have trimmed an already spare piece without losing some of the most telling details. That “snot green bile / so bitter it chokes”, for instance, could all be reduced simply to “bile” but would lose so much emotional impact if so.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I totally agree with Rosemary. This piece is not controlled. This poem is not too lengthy. Soul’s well needs to stayy right Where It is. This one of the modt honest poems you have written. I have learned, I don’t always have to be brave or to always keep my emotions inside.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you, Toni, for friendly, honest reassurance ‘soul’s well’ stays. Last night I read another comment about ‘snot green bile’! I think that was the last one. Let’s see what they don;’t like today.


      4. Trust your own ability in any artistic endeavour you embark upon.This is very very important. Sensitive people are easily crushed. Keep on writing no matter what. Too many green Salieris in this world:)
        Your poem evokes the suffering from grief very effectively.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is incredibly evocative Kim!💕 Woe and grief can mess with our head and force us to believe things which are not real. Especially love the tenderness of the image “the surreptitious tears it draws from my soul’s well.”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. So powerful! Captures exactly how powerful grief can be to twist even the best memories. It definitely does leave you feeling trapped in it’s torturous grips.

    Liked by 2 people

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