Thursday, November 17, 2011

Notes on Memorable Lines from Kevin Young's "Bereavement"

There's a line in Kevin Young's poem "Bereavement" that really stands out to me: "Their grief is colossal / & forgetful."

In the poem, Young is discussing his father's hunting dogs. They remain at the house after their owner--Young's father--has died. In the poem, the "their" refers to the dogs who seem grief-stricken on the one hand but forgetful at the same time.

We were talking about that line in class today and mentioning how the idea of colossal grief and forgetfulness is hardly limited to hunting dogs. We talked about how there's a certain necessary forgetting involved with moving on from something painful.

But for now, let's even forget the "& forgetful" part and just consider the idea of something or someone who's "grief is colossal." You ever had a moment, I asked the group, when your grief was colossal? A moment when your pain of loss or hurt was the largest...most incredibly large thing in your life?

Young people can be playful. Young people can be protective of feelings like grief. So most folks didn't really deal with the question. But their were a few slow nods from folks that assured me that they had at some point known a grief that was colossal.

"Their grief is colossal," wrote Young. "& forget." Really memorable lines.

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