Ways of grieving

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

by Nicholas Tippins

Recorded by Kevin Lay

1. Place a river stone on top of another. Feel the water’s touch, the embrace crafting smoothness. Soft like butter, like cat’s noses.

2. Sit by the stream. Breathe in the smell of watercress, wild mint–teachers whispering secrets to your blood. Feel all you feel. Remember the water, the smooth rock. Now, feel more.

3. You may think of her if you like. Recall the memory of twisted hair unraveled by a comb. The weight almost more than you can bear. 

4. Hold the image like a stone. Allow the cold water to flow around it. 

5. Better to feel her. Heart beating in the molten core of the earth. The threads of her body woven into trees, goldenrod, river. 

6. Go to the supermarket. Love whoever needs loving. Talk to the old man with velcro shoes buying a 24-pack of soda and white bread. 

7. Sit on a park bench. Throw pigeons pieces of white bread. Imagine each is the mouth of the world’s hungry. Imagine all beings at peace.

8. Or, not. Or, let your heart weep. Or, combust into dance. In the park. In the grocery store. In your living room in your underwear.

9. Embrace Her. The one you have sought all your life. 

10. As everything unravels, see Her face behind it all. The supermarket. The pigeons. Your sister. The going away.

11. Remember the stone. The water. That third thing, where they meet.


Recording by Kevin Lay

Nicholas Tippins is a writer, educator, and soul initiation guide. His greatest love is guiding young adults on journeys to mark the passage into adulthood. For more information, join his mailing list at nicholastippins.com. He also teaches courses on sacred poetry for writers of all ages and experience levels. His forthcoming book, “The Mystical Poet’s Journey,” will be released in the fall of 2023. To learn more, visit sacredpoetryworkshop.com.

2 thoughts on “Ways of grieving

  1. This is so devastatingly rich and profound, Nicholas. I’m thankful for your effort—my #9 begins “Embrace him.” My dad, who knew how to “combust” on a dance floor, died while I was holding his hand earlier this year.

    Your poem resonates. Strongly.

    Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.