Rilke’s Stone

A poem By: 
Theme: Places

About the artist

Helen Garrett’s paintings explore the eternal themes of love, fate and transience. ‘It is the mystery of life that inspires me as a painter.’ Find out more

When grief comes to stay
her sisters come too.
When she sits at your table
all the other griefs sit down too,
to make a meal together
and digest its bitter root.

To remind you how you lived with
and beyond all the other griefs.
So that you can sit again in this place
with a stone in your heart,
knowing its weight won’t drown you
as you come up for air
and gasp at how life is always fluid.

How time, indeed, waits for no one
but invites you, entices you
to step back in.
You know you know how to,
because of the way you emerged
from all the other griefs

More generous.
Wise, even.

So let this grief stay and
sit close for a while.
Then, sooner or later, one day with
tenderness, you will open the window,
and let it slip out
to sing its song
of freedom with the yellow bird
in the tree nearby.