Donnelly: We will have to find a new way to talk to each other


Sometime, within the week after he and his wife were murdered, they both appeared together to me in a dream. I said, “You’re dead.” He said, “We will just have to find a new way to talk to each other.”

Chris Donnelly on the murder of his brother and sister-in-law in 2005

Originally posted on Reprinted by permission. 

Photo by Arup1981 on Wikimedia Commons

Wyatt: My poor true heart all comfortless


If in the world there be more woe
than I have in my heart,
whereso it is, it doth come fro,
and in my breast there doth it grow,
for to increase my smart.
Alas, I am receipt of every care,
and of my life each sorrow claims his part. 
Who list to live in quietness
by me let him beware,
for I by high disdain
am made without redress,
and unkindness, alas, hath slain

my poor true heart all comfortless.

Thomas Wyatt (1503–1542)

Furniss: That aching, empty space that will never be filled

Young man smiling The Jaan Flickr

“It wasn’t so very long after that picture was taken that he died,” she says. “A year. Maybe two.”

“Oh,” I say, shocked. He looks so alive in the picture. “I’m sorry.”

“Cancer. He smoked like a chimney of course. We all did back then; didn’t know it was bad for you.”

I wonder suddenly if that’s what she cries about. “Does it get easier?” The words are out before I’ve even really thought them.

She looks at me; thinks about it. “When someone you love first dies, they’re all you can see, aren’t they? All you can hear? Blotting everything else out.”

I nod, hardly breathing.

“That changes,” she says. “They get quieter over the years. They still whisper to you sometimes, but the world gets louder. You can see it and hear it again. There’s a gap in it, where they used to be. But you get used to the gap; so used to it that you hardly see it.” She takes my hand in her fragile, old one. “And then some days, out of nowhere, you’re making the tea or hanging out the washing or sitting on the bus and it’s there again: that aching, empty space that will never be filled.”

Clare Furniss, The Year of the Rat, p 135


Photo by The Jaan on Flickr


Poniatowska: the death of a child is "an eternal anguish"

Grief statue x1klima flickr

For a mother, the disappearance of a child signifies a traceless torment, an eternal anguish in which there is no resignation, no consolation, no time for the wound to heal.
Elena Poniatowska (1932–), Silence Is Strong (translated from Fuerte es el silencio; if you know the translator, or have the original quotation in Spanish, please let me know.)
Image from a cemetery in Vienna, by x1klima on Flickr

Tetlapan Quetzanitzin: My heart knows how truly I weep for my friend

Screen Shot 2020-05-02 at 19.59.21


Alas, my friend, I was afflicted, I cried aloud on thy account to God. How much compassion hast thou for thy servant in this world sent here by thee to be thy subject for the space of a day on this earth!

However that may be, mayst thou so dispose my heart, that it may pass through this place of reckoning, without anger, without injury, and live a good life on earth.

My heart knows how truly I weep for my friend, how truly as it lives on earth it cries aloud for thee, my friend, to God....

Tetlapan Quetzanitzin, possibly the king of  Tlacopan, outside what is now Mexico City. He was an associate of Montezuma's, but managed to escape from the Spaniards when they seized Montezuma. From Ancient Nahuatl Poetry, tr. Daniel G. Brinton (1837–1899) (pub. 1890). In his introduction, Brinton writes of the provenance of the poems: "All of them are from a MS. volume in the library of the University of Mexico, entitled Cantares de los Mexicanos y otros opusculos, composed of various pieces in different handwritings, which, from their appearance and the character of the letter, were attributed by the eminent antiquary Don José F. Ramirez, to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries."


Aua nocnihue ninentlamatia zan ninochoquilia in monahuac aya yehuan Dios, quexquich onmitzicnotlamachtia momacehual cemamanahuac ontonitlanililo in ic tontlahuica tontecemilhuitiltia in tlalticpac.

Macazo tleon xoconyoyocoya ti noyollo, yehua cuix ic nepohualoyan in oncan nemohua yehua, in atle tlahuelli in antecocolia huel on yecnemiz in tlalticpac.

In quimati noyollo nichoca yehua huel eza ye nelli in titicnihuan, huellenelli nemoa in tlalticpac in tonicniuh tlatzihuiz yehuan Dios.


Cavafy: That dead café where they used to go together

Screen Shot 2020-05-02 at 20.45.16

...When he went to the café that evening—
he happened to have some vital business there—
to that same café where they used to go together,
it was a knife in his heart,
that dead café where they used to go together.

Constantine Cavafy (1863–1933), Greek from Alexandria, Egypt. Poem "Lovely White Flowers" (Ωραία λουλούδια και άσπρα ως ταίριαζαν πολύ) from C.P. Cavafy: Collected Poems (1975), translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard

Όταν το βράδυ επήγεν — έτυχε μια δουλειά,
μια ανάγκη του ψωμιού του — στο καφενείον όπου
επήγαιναν μαζύ: — μαχαίρι στην καρδιά του
το μαύρο καφενείο — όπου επήγαιναν μαζύ.

Photo by Kimmo Räisänen