Friday, March 20, 2015

Poetry Friday: Tears

The school counselor told me today that I am known by my colleagues as a person who can cry.  He also said that's not a weakness.  I'm not thrilled with my tendency to burst into tears, or the red eyes and nose I'm left with after I cry, but I'm trying to see my tears the way he said he does.  His words reminded me of a poem I wrote a few weeks ago, based on something my eye doctor said to me.


The optometrist suggested eye drops
Because in people my age,
The eyes make tears less effectively.

This has not been my experience.

My eyes make tears quite effectively still,
And in fact, better than when I was younger
And with less experience of all there is to cry about.

I can cry multitudes.

I could donate tears to others,
Less fortunate people “my age”
Whose eyes have somehow lost the ability to produce liquid
When they wail and sob and mourn.

My tears are a salty ocean,
Spilling down my face.
Tears for loss, for goodbyes too often said,
Tears for suffering, my own and others’,
Tears for commercials, greeting cards,
Tears for onions, chopped and diced.

Like the nine-foot version of Alice,
I too can cry a puddle large enough to host a Wonderland swimming party
Of mouse, lory, duck, dodo, and eaglet,
And several other curious creatures.
In my case, perhaps loggerhead turtles (not mock),
Unicorns, a tiger or two,
All carried off in the torrent of my weeping.

Tears that soak handkerchiefs and pillows and shoulders,
Rivers and cataracts and seas of tears,
Tears flowing freely through the hallways and streets,
Rising to the window,
Where I sit looking out at the passing sailors
With these wet, aging eyes,
Eyes that have seen much, and cried about most of it.

Ruth, from

Here's today's roundup.


Jessica Stock said...

Ruth, the tenderness with which you live life is one of the most beautiful things! I love your poem.

Mary Lee said...

That fourth line...and then your list.

Clearly there are tears (optometrist), and then there are tears (deeply lived life).

Anonymous said...

I love you so very much! Tears and all!

Sarah SSM said...

It is indeed a gift - though I wish you had had fewer opportunities to use it.

Sarah SSM said...

Blessings on your Holy Week, Ruth.