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Love Sorrow

By Mary Oliver


Love sorrow. She is yours now, and you must

take care of what has been

given. Brush her hair, help her

into her little coat, hold her hand,

especially when crossing the street. For, think,

what if you should lose her? Then you would be

sorrow yourself; her drawn face, her sleeplessness

would be yours. Take care, touch

her forehead that she feel herself not so

utterly alone. And smile, that she does not

altogether forget the world before the lesson.

Have patience in abundance. And do not

ever lie or ever leave her even for a moment

by herself, which is to say, possibly, again,

abandoned. She is strange, mute, difficult,

sometimes unmanageable but, remember, she is a child.

And amazing things can happen. And you may see,

as the two of you go

walking together in the morning light, how

little by little she relaxes; she looks about her;

she begins to grow.


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