What Poetry Comes From

And this from Robert Frost:  poetry should come from griefs and not grievances.  This is a line about gratitude.  There is a Yiddish word for grievance – kvetch!  It is what we spend an unfortunate amount of time doing.  Things are not quite the way we would like them to be.  The line at the bank is too long.  There was an inconvenience here, a minor hassle there, and we’ve had a ‘tough day.’  

The truth is, we are some of the luckiest people to have ever lived.  Ever. Period.  Not even close.  Just to have been born after the invention of antibiotics probably puts us into the top 5%.  Then to have lived in the 20th century, with modern technology, vaults us into the top 3 or 4%.  When you combine the 20th century with living in the United States, you are probably in the top 2% of luckiest humans to have ever lived.  Maybe 1%.  And what did we do to earn any of this?  What effort did we expend to come by our good fortune?  None.  Zip, zero, zilch.  It was given to us, handed to us from the moment we were born.

Yes there are people who have real griefs to deal with in life.  Nothing diminishes that, and human tragedy (and the strength, courage, and hope that so often accompany it) are found in every age.  But we would all do well to remember the difference between a grievance and a grief.  And in remembering, to let the grievances slip away, hopefully replaced by gratitude for everything in life that sustains us and enables us to wake in the morning to yet another day.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “What Poetry Comes From

  1. Searching you may find that the original Frost line was ‘poetry comes from griefs, politics from grievances.’ Over time the line was reported as being as I record it in this post. I am not sure if Frost actually said it this way, or if it was attributed to him over time. Either way, the meaning is essentially the same.

  2. Susan Allen

    Thank you for reminding me how lucky I am and how grateful I must be for all that I have. I truly do have everything that I need and more. I have a wonderful husband and wonderful family and friends. I have food, clothing and shelter. What more do I need? I have an outstanding synagogue to attend and I have meaningful things to do with my life. Have a wonderful, healthy New Yearand please let there be peace in the world for everyone..

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