Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Springtime, Beauty, and Sorrow

I've been insanely busy with school, and also trying to emotionally process a loss.

On April 5th, one of my poetry workshop students died of a drug overdose, either accidental or intentional. He was wildly intelligent, funny, good looking, and a magnificent writer. He was 22. He had just lost his dad 6 months ago, and he was an only child. I don't even know how you go on if you are his mom.

The final poem that he turned in for class (on March 31st) is below. I've read it so many times I almost have it memorized. Among all the beauty around me, all the purple blossoming trees and all the crazy-bright flowers, I keep hoping that where he is now, is even more beautiful. And that his dad was waiting to embrace him.

Rest in peace, Ryan.


if he or she
or it
is quiet

a few months ago
i knelt beside my bed
and for the first time
in a very long time
began to pray

despite years of
and doubt

i knelt there
at the bottom of the lowest of my worst



my pride a dead horse
and beaten
and beaten

so I folded both hands
and eyes shut
head down
knees to the ground
mumbled a few brief breaths
to who or what I am still unsure

though I may be thought a fool
you know what?

it felt good


  • At 10:38 PM, Blogger Mary Lucille Hays said…

    That's a lovely poem. I'm so sorry.

  • At 11:56 PM, Blogger laurazim said…

    I'm so sorry for your loss...and for his mother's tremendous load of grief. What a lovely poem he wrote. I hope and pray with you for an eternal rest for his soul, bathed in the the perpetal Light of Our Lord.

  • At 9:01 AM, Blogger Jerry said…

    Though we look for revelations, prescriptions,signs and messages in the behavior of others - and we grieve globally for the suffering of mankind in general and for those we know but cannot help...the genesis is clear to me.

    There is always someone to shout if you win...someone to praise your academic accomplishments...someone to admire your beauty...someone to envy your material possessions...

    The politicians and business magnates deceive and poison for money and are admired for their homes in the Hamptons. No one seems to notice the child who is being bullied, the child whose emotional sensitivity, anxiety, depression are thinly camouflaged in the interest of social acceptance.

    It is not any one person's fault; look at our society and ask what is more important - human emotions, or instrumental behavior.

    Where could he turn without feeling like a freak?

  • At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Gail Storey said…

    What a heartrending poem. I'm keeping Ryan and his mother and you and your other students in my heart and meditations.

  • At 2:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I feel I have thought this poem many times, especially recently. I am glad Ryan wrote it down, and better than I or anyone, could have expressed it.

    I remember when you helped me through a very similar situation. I couldn't have made it through that year without your insight.


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