Friday, December 9, 2011

I Wish I'd Written This

Do Not Grieve
by Wendy Poussard

Do not grieve
the Buddha said.
The love of living things
is like the clouds
that meet and drift apart.
Desire is sorrow.
Nothing to keep
nothing to own
dwells in the heart.

Do not mourn
the Buddha said.
The love of living things
is like the leaves
that fall in Autumn’s cold.
The wheel is turning.
Nothing we take
nothing we give
is ours to hold.

Yet when he heard death come,
they say he turned
and took the road
that led towards his home.

From Ground Truth (Melb., Pariah Press, 1987)

Wendy Poussard was one of the founders of the International Women’s Development Agency. Much of her poetry reflects her commitment to human rights and environmental issues — and very fine poetry it is. Her work is deliberately spare, almost minimalist, which leads some people to assume that it’s simple, uncrafted stuff. The apparent simplicity has been worked hard for, and contains subtleties and profundities.

‘Do Not Grieve’ is one of my favourite poems of all time. I never tire of it! I think it is perfectly judged. It needs every word, and not one word more. It is very quiet, yet its message resonates … I want say, forever. I can’t think of a poem I would more wish to have written than this (though Dylan Thomas’s ‘In My Craft or Sullen Art’ would push it close) which perhaps says as much about me as about the poem. Still, I can’t fault it.

Wendy has published two collections of poetry: Ground Truth and Outbreak of Peace. Her ‘A Song for “Water Buffalo”‘, written to accompany a musical performance of a piece by Yuji Takahshi, shows something of how versatile she is.

Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).


  1. Thank you for this introduction, Rosemary. Having written rather too much mediocre poetry lately, I have made a resolution to read more of others' work, and this has set me on the route to find more of Wendy Poussard's poems.

  2. Alas, they are rather hard to find online.

  3. fabulous words-home is where the heart is...always

  4. I LOVE this poem, so much! Thanks for introducing me to this poet, Rosemary. What beautiful and profoundly wise writing.

  5. Awesome choice this week! I wish I'd written this beauty too.

  6. This is truth that touches me deeply. I believe that all things in this life, even people we love dearly, are transitory. I say this as a Christian who honors all paths. The Buddah spoke truth in love. We should all depend less on the "stuff" we gather in the world and more on helping others in tangible ways. Thank you for bringing this poet to our attention! Amy

  7. A wonderful poem choice, Rosemary. I'm really enjoying your series.

  8. It's lovely that you all appreciate this poem too.

    Even in Australia, Wendy's work is too little known, perhaps because her primary focus is on her other work, trying to make the world a better place. She doesn't self-promote, but seeks to use her poetry too for social justice.

  9. WoW...perfect as you said...each word has it's place and meaning.
    Thank you for the introduction to Wendy

    Siggi in Downeast Maine

  10. Beautiful composition ! The underlying philosophy touches somewhere deep within... thanks for sharing.

  11. WONDERFUL poem to share here. Thank you!

  12. Oh, this was beautiful! Thank you for sharing this talent!


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