Grief Poetry: A Cathartic and Effective Coping Mechanism

A greyscale photo of people reading a book containing grief poetry.

Photo by Plato Terentev

Grief poetry, or the art form in general, is based on the power of words. It is a process where a combination of words is used, disregarding technicalities for a better mode of expression.

Writing grief poetry is an effective way to cope with the pain and sadness of losing a loved one. Expressing one’s thoughts through artistic words can be painful but simultaneously relieving. How does it help purge what your heart has been carrying all along? Several studies were conducted, showing how therapeutic reading poetry is.

Whether it’s fear, sadness, anger, and grief, nothing’s more compelling than to express them in healthy ways – through art. Fortunately, poetry offers such creative ways, just like any other medium. This healing process isn’t limited to adults. Even children can enjoy listening to poetry to feel joy and comfort.

Writing grief poetry for the mind

It’s challenging to grasp the real grief you’re under. You feel like everything’s shrouded in the dark, leaving you with a void in your heart. That is normal because grief is hard to overcome and can even last a lifetime. You get better at hiding or handling it. Writing poetry has always been part of the known therapeutic journaling process, where jotting away the hurt leads to a slow coping process.

However, only some have the time and dedication to write grief poetry. It takes a sheer commitment to come up with flowery words, and not all are lucky to be gifted with an extensive vocabulary. That’s why picking up a poetry book like When the Rose Fades by Brion K Hanks can be a healthy distraction from stress. Other than that, you get the chance to reflect. His book is an excellent example of dealing with grief and using poetry as a healthy outlet.

The good thing about grief poetry, whether reading or writing, is that strict rules are unnecessary since they restrict rather than set the heart free. Inspiration can take anyone to different places in the mind, and poetry must become a safe place of self-expression, particularly when expressing grief.

Poets who wrote elegies

A poem that touches on death, loss, mourning, and sorrow is called an ‘elegy.’ Those surrounding themes are the core essentials that must be evident in the body of work, regardless of the mood. You might wonder where to start or which poets you can browse grief poetry from. Luckily, there are famous names you can check out. They have written off their pain and grief throughout their lifetime. Here are some of the notable figures in poetry from whom you can derive inspiration or healing:

  • Alfred Tennyson
  • W.H. Auden
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Henry Van Dyke
  • William Shakespeare
  • Brion K. Hanks

Much of their works were mainly about tragedy and loss, and some of their poems were translated into different languages up to the most simplified English; since their original/early works contain old English texts that may be hard to comprehend. Regardless, their poetry style didn’t always take a somber tone, so your brain will most likely be exercised to uncover the pain behind their mask. Some poets are upfront about their grief but remain true to their joyful undertones. With people having different ways to cope, doing it in a healthy and uplifting manner is a good thing.

Grief poetry also serves as a memorialization of the process. It’s enough struggle to put our pain into words, but reading a couple of lines about it makes us feel consoled. It’s as if we’re not alone. You don’t have to be a masterful poet to accomplish such a feat. Writing or reading poems about grief makes for a sufficient catharsis that lets in the pain of loss and stimulates one’s mind to work through our grieving processes.

The creative beauty of pain and grief

Life is full of creative alternatives that let us channel whatever we feel. Poems are one of the outlets for releasing/acknowledging that no one knows the duration of. Perhaps the grief remains with us for as long as we live. Maybe they’ll never see the light of day. When we experience distress, we often forget to consider how we affect those around us, especially when they care about our well-being.

But at most, we are alone in grieving over something. As we pick up a book or a piece of paper containing poetry, the writer is hoping that you are able to reach out to someone who feels the same way about losing what’s valuable in life. The healing journey can be rough since a grieving person would prefer to stay there. Fortunately, there’s an odd bit of redemption and consolation that grief poetry brings to anyone who reads them.

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