This is what was bequeathed us

This is what was bequeathed us:
This earth the beloved left
And, leaving,
Left to us.

No other world
But this one:
Willows and the river
And the factory
With its black smokestacks.

No other shore, only this bank
On which the living gather.

No meaning but what we find here.
No purpose but what we make.

That, and the beloved’s clear instructions:
Turn me into song; sing me awake.

“This is what was bequeathed us” from How Beautiful the Beloved by Gregory Orr. Copyright © 2009 by Gregory Orr. Originally published by Copper Canyon Press. Used with the permission of the poet.

This poem was originally read in the On Being episode “Shaping Grief With Language.”

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