Written By:

Sorrow’s Kitchen

A Poem

Gary Phillips

Do you think your troubles belong to you? Think again.

Do not hold them so protectively to your breast. I see you.

Rumi says our sorrows come to us like gifts, pomegranates

Ready to explode into a thousand seeds of joy. Don’t resist.

Ben Robertson’s grandmother gathered all the children

Of her family every Thanksgiving to make a solemn speech

From the high wooden porch of her ancient Alabama house:

Shrink not from sorrow! For that is the voice of God to thee!

Such theatrics. I remember sitting with friends in my twenties

In Appalachia; our host was very old and blind besides, Madge.

But she knew every inch of her little cabin like a treasured text.

We were young, and passed around a question to know each other:

What’s the hardest thing ever happened to you? Madge hung her head

And sighed: When the chestnuts died. They were my best and favorite friends.

Photo by Tnchestnut, CC BY-SA 4, via Wikimedia Commons