Love would have been

too much for my shaking

shell of a soul;

give me its shadow,

give me its ghost.

I would visit the grave

of love and read its

weathered tombstone

and that would be my life,

only to understand

the dead ways,

to lay a flower

every day from this day

’til the end of days

on the tousled dirt

over love’s body,

to be its gravekeeper,

to watch over it in sleep

and to plant sweet dreams

under its carvings and

dates of all the times

it died in someone’s heart;

I would love it,

love a dead love,

like the dead cannot love,

enough to fill a pail

and wash the gravestone

with a half-alive kind of love,

wash away all the dirt and

flecks of rain from its crevices;

I will love love,

after it is no longer love,

just as I love you,

child no longer child,

and we can cry together

at a funeral and wear black

for all our dead things of love

that can never come back and

sing themselves again into

our cracked and wretched bones.


20 thoughts on “Gravekeeper

  1. This declaration of timeless love even for dead love brought tears to my eyes. It is exactly the deep real love needed. Your words acknowledge the enormous power of love in all its transformations.

    “child no longer child,” I like the way these few words pull in the full range of the human life cycle.

    This is my own tangent inspired from your four words: This honors the fact that the child is the same person as the old person. We behave (in American culture) as if neither the very young nor the very old have the same intrinsic and loveable human value as the commercially revered young-ish adult.

    Thanks. Your words stirred my thoughts as well as my feelings today.

    If your words touch even a single person, they’re a stone splash in the pond of being. Be the stone and keep tossing yourself in.

    Keep writing.

    1. Alice, this brought tears to my eyes too. As a sixteen-year-old, I can honestly say that being taken seriously is the best feeling in the world.Thank you for being so honest and sincere in all your comments and ways of supporting me. I always look forward to hearing your thoughts boomerang back. This was a lovely thing to come home to after a long day πŸ˜‰

      You find things in my poetry I don’t even realize are there myself. Hearing from you is so refreshing. I am glad this poem was a part (a small one, but a part) of your day. My words could not find a lovelier mind to get tangled in.


      1. Natalie,
        I’m glad there’s happy good for you in my words.

        I have two boys (17 and 12) who are writers and jazz musicians. Others don’t always take them seriously because of their age. But they each dig deeply in their creative soils and are old souls like you.

        I enjoy finding your offerins in my in-box. Thanks. You make nice splashes in my day. Keep it up.

        1. Thank you so much Alice πŸ™‚ I can relate to your sons – I play the violin as well and it is VERY hard to be taken seriously as a teenage poet/musician (actually, the word ‘teenager’ paired with anything usually brings a cringe). Too many comments about ‘you should be doing important things’. These are the important things.

          I’m glad I have people like you to remind me of that.

  2. Oh, wow, Natalie, this gripped me in the first line and didn’t throw me back down until the very last words. The ghost of love, indeed. How many of us live that way daily…

  3. It brought tears to my eyes too. Thank you.

    With each new poem you reinforce my belief that you embody the collective soul of the universe. It’s a privilege to be here as you create these new works.

  4. I could only gasp after reading this brilliant piece. I don’t know where you find these words – channeling gravediggers or heart surgeons or the souls of dead poets, but keep doing it! You’ve a fabulous muse within.

  5. Sombre and beautiful, My eyes are dry, Yet my heart is teary.
    I love the lines “sing themselves again into…our cracked and wretched bones”. I really connect with this! Never contemplated that concept before, a fusing of music/love/poetry. Inspiring! (i am already writing a poem in response)

Thoughts? I love those.

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