There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet. Act 4, Scene 5
Eoin O’Nuanain. !Presente!
Eoin (right) with his brother, Ciaran. In Derry, 2006
Leslie Marie Jones. !Presente!
Leslie (left) with my son, Alex. In Austin, 2008
The Thing is
“to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.”
Ellen Bass, from ‘Mules of Love: Poems’ 2002
Thank you for this, Professor J.