Talking to Grief is a poem written by Denise Levertov. The poem uses a combination of imagery to express the general tone of the poem. In this poem, the author uses a combination of imageries such as homeless dog and winter to create the tone of acceptance and letting go. The use of a homeless dog as an image in the poem shows how people have considered grief as an outcast. The poet aims to show that people treat grief as nonexistence and a thing that should not be part of any sad moment. She aims to create the tone of accepting grief when she uses words such as a homeless dog that should be trusted (2, 5). In this way, the poet aims to persuade people to accept grief and allow it to be a part of mourning or any painful process. They should not consider it an outcast and view it from a negative perspective. By accepting grief, people will be able to mourn effectively, feel sad, and even lament over the situation that brought pain into their lives. The poet creates the tone that the person grieving needs to welcome grief and makes it a part of the while the grieving period lasts. For example, she states that she should coax grief into the house, give it its corner, a warm part of the house to lie on and water dish for grief to drink from (6-10) implying that welcoming grief into a person life is the beginning of the healing process.
The author also aims to persuade people to note only welcome grief but also offer it a place in their lives. They should have a place for nurturing grief as they go through the loss until that moment when time is right for grief to leave. Allowing grief into a persons life makes it possible for people to go through the five stages of grief successfully. Research shows that it is not feasible for a person to heal completely if they miss any of the stages. For example, it is important to allow grief into a persons life so that they can quickly pass the denial stage with success. Secondly, when a person embraces grief during sad moments, they will be able to transition to the anger stage smoothly without any hindrance. Thus through grieving, a person can express anger which then leads to the next stage of grieving.
On the same note, embracing grief makes it possible for the person to go through the bargaining process of grief. It will also be possible for the person to experience depression and finally accept the situation that led to grief such as death. Therefore, the poet realizes that every person goes through stages of grief differently. However, for the people to heal, they need to embrace the period of grief and accept grief itself. The message is not only sent to those grieving by also applies to the people surrounding the individuals going through grief. Sometimes the people surrounding the one's grieving can act as negative agents in accepting grief by using terminologies that negatively impact the grieving period. According to the poet, grief is good and natural, embracing grief is the beginning of a long journey to healing.
Using winter as an image in the poem creates need for people to understand that the moments of grief will eventually end. Therefore, the poet uses this imagery to persuade the people going through grief to be able to let go of the grieving situations. According to the poet, winter is the point went all grieving freeze, comes to an end or eventually fades away. People go back to their normal lives as they aim to accept all the situations that brought loss or grief into their lives. They aim t consider grief as good moment that brought something new though not acceptable in their lives. Most people grieve only when a person dies, however, other grieve during moments such as losing a job or something of great importance. If a person does not accept grief in their lives, they will not be able to reach the acceptance stage which allows them to heal and look at grief from a positive perspective. Failing to accept grief will also make it hard for a person to let go of grief. The author uses the term winter to let the grieving know that grief does not last forever.
However, it is a period that ends just like any other and eventually fades away. Accepting and letting go of distress makes people stronger. The author writes that before winter comes, grief needs a name, recognition, a collar and to warn any intruders of its presence (19-22). These lines indicate that as the grieving period moves to a close, the person going through grief must nurture all the feelings that will allow them to transition effectively into the winter stage. Failing to make grief a part of them also leads to the freezing of such emotions which may act to affect the person in a negative way. Similarly, it is important to not let people who can act in interrupting the grieving period close to the mourners. According to the poem, intruders are most likely to interrupt grieving period. Therefore, it is necessary for grief to warn them of its presence that it intention to stay until winter comes.
Letting go is an important part of any grieving period because it shows acceptance of the situation that led to the grieving moments in a persons life. Similarly, letting go also indicates the beginning of healing. No one can let go of grief unless they go through the stages of grief successfully by welcoming grief. Letting go of grief is also important in helping the people to reflect back and recollect their lives before the moments of grieving happened in their lives. Similarly, ability to let go is important in mental health function. People will be able to think positively about the period of mourning, and as they gather these thoughts, they will be able to iron out any problems that erupted at the bargaining stage of grief. This stage is usually accompanied by self-blames. For instance, the person going through grief because of death may blame themselves by stating that if they did things differently may be the person will not have died. Similarly, an occurrence of a negative event may cause people to blame one another. Therefore, winter is a time that requires that the people grief should learn to let go of the grief and start life.
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