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Poetry and Medicine
October 22/29, 2003

Rondeau on Grief

Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2003;290(16):2100. doi:10.1001/jama.290.16.2100

Get rid of grief. Its appetite won't save
a single golden moment, or bathe
the stinking corpse you're stuck with. Death won't play
according to your script. There is no way—
no step, no stage, no style to blunt the wave,
no Prozac-laden room, nor empty grave.
It's close and dumb. Death always misbehaves—
the wrath, the witch's Mass, dies irae
Get rid of grief.
Grief, the ice-bound coast, the slippery cave,
the twist incision with a blade, it's what they've
called a knot, a mystery—you cannot lay
a boundary to it, nor hinder your decay,
it tears and swallows you, it makes you slave.
Get rid of grief.