All lives are threaded with the good and the bad, with great joys and deep sorrows. Despite the loss and pain, we continue. We don’t forget, but we go on. No poem reflects this better than Marie Howe’s “What the Living Do.”
I tear up almost every time I read this poem. The details are so perfectly imperfect – what the living do is LIVE – and living is messy and mundane. It is broken grocery bags, spilled coffee, hairbrushes and car doors. It is desire. In our rush to desire more things, more intense experiences, we often forget to cherish every small moment. We do not remember that just being alive is a gift we should not take for granted. When someone we care about leaves the world of the living, we stumble around lost, wondering how we can go on. But we do. And we remember.
If you want to write:
1. Choose imperfect or boring details about an object or a place and make it seem special.
2. Remember someone who is lost to you. Include small details that are not the same since they are gone.
RIP Matt. I will miss you. Hope you have found serenity now.