Subtraction of Grief

Yesterday I slipped into a broken space
the wind couldn’t mend. Beside me the reservoir
dazzled in the cold sunshine and larch trees
losing their copper needles in the fleecing gusts
were still, are always, all one in themselves, needing
nothing but wide light and earth and rain.

I know we, too, can be all one in ourselves –
we can walk in the sound of the stone chat
and sense the certainty, the rightness of things –
but a flash of memory out of the blue or the grey
can render us aching and minus –

and we don’t even know what it was
in the water’s light or the rasp of a crow
or the curling edges of a fly agaric, kicked over
in a hiding of grass, that cut through the one
we were, to make the wound smart
as if a salt fingerprint rubbed our past
into the present and we’re raw again
and lonely as only love can make us.



Dorothy Baird lives in Edinburgh where she is a psychotherapist and facilitates writing groups in the community. She has two collections: Leaving the Nest (Two Ravens Press) and Mind the Gap (Indigo Dreams Publishing Ltd). Her website is: