“If There Be Sorrow…”

I’m sharing a poem today that I’ve loved most of my life. It is one of the first poems I scribbled into my inspiration notebook many moons ago. The poem, “If There Be Sorrow,” was written by Mari Evans (1923-2017), a writer-activist and major figure of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s.

I was and am drawn to the wisdom of the short verse, of living a life without regret.

If There Be Sorrow
Mari Evans

If there be sorrow
let it be
for things undone . . .
undreamed
unrealized
unattained
to these add one;
Love withheld . . .
. . . restrained


About the image: This is another photo card from the set  designed by my photographer/art journalist friend Diane W (midteacher on swap-bot). I shared a couple earlier this month with William Wordsworth’s “A Psalm of Life,” a poem with a message similar to Evans’.

11 thoughts on ““If There Be Sorrow…”

  1. Ellen Hawley says:

    Chandra, you are the only person I’ve run into who knows Mari Evans’ poetry–although I admit I don’t know much of it. I ran into a poem of hers in the 70s, in an anthology of women’s poetry, and I’m trying to reassemble the title. Something like “To Mother and [insert man’s name].” It was simple, direct, powerful–the kind of poem that had nothing extra, nothing wasted, and could knock you off your chair.

    I admit, I haven’t gone looking for people who know her work and I don’t spend a lot of time discussing poets with people I know. But when I first saw it I did pass it around a bit and I wondered, “Why isn’t this woman better known?”

    I mean, in addition to the obvious reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I had a copy of “To Mother and Steve” written out from waaay back and it got lost over the years. I couldn’t remember enough of it to do a decent web search (which wasn’t even thought of when I first loved the poem), but recently started searching using fragments I could think of and found it through this! I am so happy to have it again, not just for the beauty of the work itself (it is beautiful despite the agony one feels reading it), but for its ability to take me back to a time in my life when I was going through so many changes and choices. Thank you.

    Like

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