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The work of Leaf and Twig.

Catherine Arcolio, the artist-poet behind this American project focuses on images from nature in her extraordinarily beautiful patch – her back yard in country North America.

Her work resonates with the mission of Good Grief! because her eye catching photos capture not just the power of beauty, but the fragility of that beauty, and in doing so remind us of the impermanence of life.

Here are words from Catherine, about her work.

“I lost many, many loved ones in the AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s and 90’s. It’s hard to navigate grief in a death denying culture. I’ve found a lot of solace in the work of Stephen Jenkinson and Mark Nepo.”


“The mico poem that accompanies the image really says what I know about grief…”

Joy and Sorrow

the dark and light
that passes through
our blue days

“I imagine life as a feast banquet and I am seated between joy and sorrow. Part of the work of life is learning how to converse and to hold hands with both of them at the same time.”


“I learned during the AIDS epidemic that death can be abrupt or lingering, full of suffering, full of peace. It impressed upon me the importance of being present – NOW in this very moment. I also learned that grieving is different from the grief that is carried long after the loss. I wrote the poem below to try and capture what active grieving felt like during the first difficult death.”

Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us, Catherine.

Towards Turbulent Waters

In the treacherous waters of mourning

I slip from my raft of comforting memories and

scrape along the rough edges of departure

Weighted by 

recantings and revisionism

nearly drowning in anger

treading the white waters of survival 

daring the dead man’s float as 

breaststroke and butterfly elude me  

when the raft reappears

I cling 

to it

push it downstream

towards turbulent waters

into the breakers 

between rocks and hard places

into the shallows of should

onto my reef of guilt

I push and ride

until I am mercifully parallel 

to the shore of forgiveness

Beyond the grip of the undertow

I mark my place on the horizon

and await the change in current

that will

allow me

to return.  


Leaf and Twig
where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry leafandtwig.wordpress.com

Good Grief!’s mission is to share understanding about death and grief. For another posting, go to:

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