This is Grief

This is Grief

By Divya Santhanam ’19. Art by Myoung Hyun Lee ’21.


Grief is a universal experience. We are given life at birth, and from then onwards, we experience loss. This loss could be the death of loved ones. Or the end of relationships – both romantic and platonic. And inevitably at some point, we lose ourselves. We mourn the six- year-old who fearlessly climbed the monkey bars, the eighteen-year old filled with a familiar mixture of excitement and dread on the first day of college, the twenty-two year-old in awe of the vast expansiveness of the world, with the freedom to draw on a blank slate. Grief, when experienced, is a complex dance of emotions – it is shock, anger, regret, loneliness, and tranquility all at once.

It is the white curve of an icy wave as it strikes
its sharp tip bending sensuously as it threatens
to drown everything in its path
receding gently after the clamor
leaving only its numbing cold

It is the dangerous blue at the heart of a flame
once cloaked by warm reds and homely yellows
now unleashed as it blisters and burns
turning the flesh raw
until all that is left is ash

It is the ominous grey before a storm
heavy and dark
pregnant with regret and what ifs
as it swirls churning the paths not taken
and the memories never lived

It is a shadow
Long and tall
Narrow enough to fit through the cracks of doors
Yet large enough to be noticed
When looking back

It is a starless night
the silence swallows the horizon itself
I am on a rocky cliff yelling to sea
but there are no boats, no sailors, no lighthouse
just me

It is the orbs of fresh dew on pale green grass
The skin of a newborn babe and freshly printed paper
As soft as newly fallen snow
delicate in its joy
sweet in its sadness