The Sorrow Coefficient
St = Nl ( Sd x Dh )
On any given day the total sorrow (St)
of the Earth can be calculated by taking
the sorrow caused by the death
of a loved one (Sd) and multiplying
by the number of all deaths in history (Dh)
and multiplying the result by the number
of those who loved the loved ones (Nl).
Every day this value increases exponentially,
leaving behind lesser values like
Avogadro’s constant or the estimated
number of atoms in the observable universe.
This is the bedrock of sorrow we walk on.
These are the molecules of sorrow we inhale,
that we ingest as part of our every meal.
Sorrow holds us under its cloak, resting
like a germ mantle, permeating every membrane,
as much a part of our environment,
of our fundamental makeup, as carbon,
hydrogen, nitrogen or oxygen. Everybody dies
and our family, our friends, our lovers are
a subset of everybody. The logic is
irrefutable, the conclusion inevitable,
but despite all this we can choose to believe
in life, in hope, in risk, in accepting our
coefficient of sorrow, acknowledging its application
to the variable of our lives and moving forward,
remembering those we’ve lost, carrying them just
as we carry our sorrow, jangling in our pockets like
loose change, fading in our wallets like old receipts,
left in the kitchen by the bananas, in the fridge,
the glovebox, the shed, on the bedside table, part
of our world but only part, no more or less its focus
than money, love, batteries or weather, fear or apples,
coffee cups, resentment, wheelbarrows or regret.
This week’s poem was originally published in Grieve Volume 5, published by the Hunter Writers Centre as part of their Grieve Project. For more of my poems, head to the Books or Other poems and stories sections of this site.
Come back next week for another poem. And to find out what I’m working on and where you can read my latest writings, sign up for Adam’s Occasional Poetry News.