Professor J's Place

19 November, 2014

all goes onward and outward, nothing collapses

my dear departed Alice and Dinah--the old guard

Tomorrow will be a week since Alice died. It sometimes surprises me how deeply I feel the loss. It's probably because she was my last old girl--the last dog who knew my mother. But whatever the reason, it is a loss I sometimes experience as a pain in the chest. I first experienced that after Mom died. My therapist at the time said, "Why do you think they call it a broken heart?" And so I will grieve. As long as it takes.

But I know this. There is no death. There is no end to the energy and the love that was my mother, or Dinah, or Alice.

A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands;
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is, any more than he.
I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven.
Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer, designedly dropt,  95
Bearing the owner’s name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark, and say, Whose?
Or I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the vegetation.
Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic;
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones,
Growing among black folks as among white; 100
Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I receive them the same.
And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.
Tenderly will I use you, curling grass;
It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men;
It may be if I had known them I would have loved them; 105
It may be you are from old people, and from women, and from offspring taken soon out of their mothers’ laps;
And here you are the mothers’ laps.
This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old mothers;
Darker than the colorless beards of old men;
Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths. 110
O I perceive after all so many uttering tongues!
And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths for nothing.
I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men and women,
And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken soon out of their laps.
What do you think has become of the young and old men? 115
And what do you think has become of the women and children?
They are alive and well somewhere;
The smallest sprout shows there is really no death;
And if ever there was, it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,
And ceas’d the moment life appear’d. 120
All goes onward and outward—nothing collapses;
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.

"And to die is different from what any one supposed. . ."

It is odd that the more we learn about life--about the universe--about physics--the truer Whitman's words are. I have always known this to be the Truth--with a capital T-- the metaphorical truth-- the spiritual truth. But now we know that the universe continues to expand, that energy never dies, it only changes form. Science, spirituality, and poetry are not mutually exclusive. Thank you, Universe. 


Blogger Minnesota Matron said...

Karen! I didn't know that you lost a beloved. I am so sorry -- this is beautifully done and I believe this too. Sending my own energy out into the field of spirit on your behalf.

November 19, 2014 at 11:09 AM  
Anonymous Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

So beautiful, Karen. I'm a believer, in energy, in love, and in you.

November 19, 2014 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger Karen Jensen said...

Thank you Mary and Cheri. I am so glad the interwebs brought us all together.

November 19, 2014 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger Gary's third pottery blog said...

So sorry about your sweetie. I fully understand your love for dogs and beagles! So much more loyal and true than people. And cute and furry! When my first dog died I couldn't believe anybody would ever get out of bed if they knew how much grief would come after their passing...

November 21, 2014 at 2:59 AM  
Blogger Karen Jensen said...

Gary, yes. And we keep loving them because of all the joy.

November 21, 2014 at 6:58 AM  
Blogger slow panic said...

Grief will have it's way. I think it is best just to be with it. Thank God for dogs, and how they worm their way into our hearts and love us despite ourselves. Missing them is part of loving them. As you already know.

Love this post and thank you for the Whitman.

November 22, 2014 at 7:45 AM  
Blogger Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I am sorry for your loss--yes, all we can do is feel it-even when it hurts. Hoping the good memories take the forefront as time goes on.

November 29, 2014 at 3:50 PM  
Blogger Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

I didn't know about the connection between your old girls and your mom. <3

December 13, 2014 at 8:19 PM  
Blogger Karen Jensen said...

Thank you SP and Jenn and Karen. The glory of life is love. And the hell of it is, too.

December 14, 2014 at 3:16 PM  

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