Pulitzer-winning poet Galway Kinnell says the poems he wrote were rarely addressed to anyone in particular. An exception was made, however, when a student of his revealed that he was contemplating taking his own life after the end of a romantic relationship. Kinnell wrote his poem Wait for his student, urging both him and others, to stop, and to wait: to trust time itself to slowly, but inevitably, reveal the richness and texture of life once more.
“Wait, for now.
Distrust everything if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven’t they
carried you everywhere, up to now?
Personal events will become interesting again.
Hair will become interesting.
Pain will become interesting.
Buds that open out of season will become interesting.
Second-hand gloves will become lovely again;
their memories are what give them
the need for other hands. And the desolation
of lovers is the same: that enormous emptiness
carved out of such tiny beings as we are
asks to be filled; the need
for the new love is faithfulness to the old.
Don’t go too early.
You’re tired. But everyone’s tired.
But no one is tired enough.
Only wait a little and listen:
music of hair,
music of pain,
music of looms weaving our loves again.
Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
most of all to hear,
the flute of your whole existence,
rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.”
If you or anyone you know is in distress, please reach out and speak to someone at the following resources:
- Crisis Services Canada
- Association québécoise de prévention du suicide
- Distress Centres of Greater Toronto
- Crisis Line Association of BC
- Alberta’s Mental Health Help Life
- Suicide Action Montreal
- Kids Help Phone
- Wellness Together Canada
Feature Image: Anton H, On Pexels, Creative Commons