A Simple Gift: The Marriage I Couldn’t Keep


This has not been the most painful season of my life so far (I will say this for those few months of crippling, black hole-like depression: they make everything else seem like so many pieces of cake).

It has, however, been the loneliest.

It has been a season of anger, my own and others’. And by anger I really mean hurt, because anger is really just the shell we grow to protect our wounds, isn’t it?

And yet I have been so lucky, overwhelmed by the love and support of both new friends and old. How humbling and lovely that the people we need show up in the strangest ways. Thank you, dear ones.


by Denise Levertov

My wedding-ring lies in a basket
as if at the bottom of a well.
Nothing will come to fish it back up
and onto my finger again.
                                      It lies
among keys to abandoned houses,
nails waiting to be needed and hammered
into some wall,
telephone numbers with no names attached,
idle paperclips.
                      It can’t be given away
for fear of bringing ill-luck
                      It can’t be sold
for the marriage was good in its own
time, though that time is gone.
                      Could some artificer
beat into it bright stones, transform it
into a dazzling circlet no one could take
for solemn betrothal or to make promises
living will not let them keep? Change it
into a simple gift I could give in friendship?

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