I live in the borderland of grief and joy. It’s tempting
to fall apart. I have lived on the lip
of insanity. Like a sundial
I paint to the ever changing
light. As a shadow
such is life.
None of the words in the poem above are mine. It’s a combistory, this time combining one sentence each from four written pieces and a clock. The authors, in order of presentation, are:
Valerie Bacharach, Gratitude Journal in Vox Populi
J.I. Kleinberg, in her found poem “It’s a Sullen Year”
Rumi, in a meme by Michael Meade – Mosaic Voices
Artist Jenny Reyneke on Instagram
Valerie Bacharach’s “Gratitude Journal” sparked my New Year’s Eve post which inadvertently unleashed/released a torrent of grief. Writing about her own mother’s journey of decline and death and what she went through supporting her, Bacharach moved me deeply, moved me into that borderland of grief and joy.
Last year brought so many losses I became overwhelmed by grief. In the aftermath, joy was often difficult to access.
The title of Bacharach’s essay refers to the notebook she kept while she was walking her mother home. I didn’t have time to journal when I was on the island with Mom last year, but I took pictures often of moments I wanted to remember.
Her words “Inside were lines about seeing a quarter moon, one goldfinch perched on the birdfeeder,” catapulted me to the morning I sat on my sister’s frosty patio, struck by the moon’s ephemeral presence above the garden shed.
I shortened Bacharach’s sentence so it would work better in the combistory, but it was the whole sentence that captivated me and opened a floodgate of memory:
I live in the borderland of grief and joy, the opposition of them woven into my cells, forming their own double helix that binds them to my every breath.
It’s a beautiful essay. I urge you to read it. Check out all of the linked pieces, if you have time. That’s the whole point of this combinatory play.