Category Archives: The Next Chapter

“On Pain” by Kahlil Gibran

Timeless funeral poem coaches us to meet the lessons of pain with openness

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain. So begins Kahlil Gibran’s poem, “On … Continue reading

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“Death Sets a Thing Significant” by Emily Dickinson

A poem about cherishing what our loved ones leave behind

Even if you’re not a huge fan of poetry, you’ve most likely heard of mid-19th century poet Emily Dickinson. Born in 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts, Dickinson spent most of her life completely isolated from the outside world. Her work was … Continue reading

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“Try to Praise the Mutilated World” by Adam Zagajewski

Funeral poem finds something to celebrate in the hardest of times

“Try to Praise the Mutilated World” (2002) by Polish poet Adam Zagajewski resonates with his characteristic themes of night; dreams; history and time; infinity and eternity; silence and death. By facing the world’s sorrow with clear eyes, yet turning again … Continue reading

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“The Laughing Heart” by Charles Bukowski

Simple acknowledgment of mortality inspires deep clear living

American poet Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) is well-known in the literary world as an irreverent, tell-it-like-it-is kind of writer who spoke his truth — his whole truth — even when it was overtly opinionated, and especially when it would offend the … Continue reading

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“The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe Explores the Characteristics of Grief

A bird that speaks only one word shreds a man's soul

Edgar Allan Poe published “The Raven” to mixed reviews in January of 1845. He was paid only a modest fee for his work, which did not become famous until well after his death five years later. The cause of Poe’s … Continue reading

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Poem Explores Intimacy and Alienation in Grief Journey

Margaret Atwood's "Variation on the Word Sleep" journeys beside and within another's grief

In her poem “Variation on the Word Sleep“, well-loved Canadian poet Margaret Atwood (1939-) uses sleep as a metaphor for the highly personal, often isolating and poorly rehearsed journey of loss and transformation that is generally called grief in the … Continue reading

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