archives, poetry

Where Shall We Place the Sorrows? {poetry}


As we navigate the path of life that is inherently our own, we will collect many sorrows. They will cling to us like barnacles. No one will be immune.

Some of our sorrows will nibble gently at the edges of our being, and some will slam us flat and pin us under.

Where shall we place these sorrows?

Shall we fold them up like unlovely luggage and try to heft them along? Shall we drag them behind us like a sled of unwanted things? Shall we pretend they are not part of us and try to bury them with wine and things that help us to forget?

What if the great secret of living with sorrow was to move it deep inside of us and carry it within?

What if our little bodies could be a container for our sorrows and we could seal them up and learn to dance with them?

Maybe the only way to reduce the great lake of sorrow is to honor it as a teacher and love it lighter.

It will seem like a cureless task, many will stagger with the burden and lurch forward before falling. You must understand that every step will lighten the load. Trust your body to hold your sorrows, trust the border of your skin. Nothing is taken from us or done to us that cannot teach us. How we move the flesh vessel of sadness will largely define who we are and what will become of us.

Swallow your mountain of sorrow. Trust that your body has the room. Learn to move with grace.

Nothing can break you.


We shall place the sorrows in our little bodies
the big swamp-like sorrows that pull us under
and the tiny bird-like sorrows that flit
so daintily at the edges of our joy
we must slot them in like gold coins
and learn to live lightly with the weight of them

It will seem like an impossible task
to absorb the immensity of our own sadness
We do not want these things, but they are ours anyway
We can push them away, but they will always shadow us
They are tethered to us by the long cord of experience
we can only lift it bravely and move it deep inside of us
feel the weight of it and live it lighter

For this is the thing,
the sorrows will diminish once we know them
we will learn to dance with them strapped tightly to us
we will jig them awkwardly, like sleeping babies,
knowing they are part of us
and slowly in their plodding way
the shape of them will shift and break
like wandering icebergs in frozen blue

The sorrows are not sent to break us,
though for many they will
You will pass the people with the broken parts
and you will know them, you will feel them
you are not meant to absorb the sorrows of life
only to stagger blindly with the great weight of them
you must hold them with grace
find the lightness in prayer, dance or song
speak of your sorrows with ink, clay or paint
first we accept them
then we bow to them as teacher

Some of you will say No
this mountain of sorrow will never fit inside me
but you are the lock, the key, the prisoner, the master
It is all you, it is all in you
breathe your sorrows small
love them small
live them small

We know it is a big ask
but you must make room for your sorrow
in your little body, right in, deep in
trust that your little body has the room
You must place of all the sorrow in your little body
and you must stand.


Bell Harding is a Rumi-loving painter, late bloomer, and poet from Australia. Her home is a vintage caravan called Lou Lou, which likes to roam but is currently stationed in Fremantle, Western Australia, while she tries her hand at civilian life. Bell has a degree in fine art, and loves to paint barefoot in the dirt. She seeks beauty, wisdom and adventure in the landscape, and looks for the small poetry in daily life. In her expanded moments, Bell loves to paint, cook plant-based food, and write pretty poems with sharp little teeth. You could contact her via Instagram.


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