Saturday, August 27, 2011

the laughing heart

Yesterday Leif shared with me a poem by Charles Bukowski.  Seldom does it happen that I come across a piece of writing that strikes me so deeply to the core that I feel like I must memorize it so as to never forget its message.

The Laughing Heart 

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

Over the last two weeks I have felt much of that darkness again, not that it ever entirely left.  Having Clio here has been magical but it has also crystalized for me what exactly was taken away from us when George died and that has been difficult for me to internalize again.  I just miss him so very much and can't really fathom how I will never have him again.

Yet this poem has helped to remind me that I can choose to live out my days in the darkness of circumstance or I can choose to look for the light, wherever it may come from.  The darkness will always be my companion but I choose whether or not to let it consume me.  As Clio grows up I want to share with her the existence of her brother so that from his story and ours she will learn that even in the darkest moments of her life -and surely there will be moments that seem black as night- there will always be at least a small shimmer of light, even when it feels like all of the light in the world has been stolen away.  

And surely there is so much light.
My Leif. 
My Clio.  

My life is my life and I will know it while I have it.


  1. This brought me to tears. I have read every Bukowski novel and some of his poetry, but I had never read this. Thank-you for sharing this, for looking for the light, for not giving up.

    You and Leif have been a light to us.

    With love and admiration,


  2. Amazing.

    "there are ways out.
    there is a light somewhere."

    Thanks for sharing.


  3. An amazing, and appropriate, poem.

    You are all marvellous and long may the gods delight in you and your beautiful family. xo

  4. Thank you for posting this poem. I am grabbing a pen to copy it down.

  5. Thank you for sharing this! So perfect. It reminds me of a book I'm reading right now--Tattoos on the Heart. I needed this today. Love the pic!

  6. Oh, Bukowski is good. Thanks so much for posting this. Sorry to hear the darkness has been creeping in for you - it is a hard thing to mother one child on earth and one elsewhere. Bukowski is right - you really are pretty marvelous.

  7. An amazing poem and an amazing picture.. love to you mamma.

  8. This poem has stuck with me constantly since Josh read it to me. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  9. Wow, that is amazing. I'm going to write it somewhere too, to access often. Thanks for sharing.
    And your own line 'can't really fathom how I will never have him again' - spoken straight to my heart like an arrow.
    The photo is beautiful too. xo