This is what was bequeathed us:
This earth the beloved left
Left to us.
No other world
But this one:
Willows and the river
And the factory
With its black smokestacks.
No other shore, only this bank
On which the living gather.
No meaning but what we find here.
No purpose but what we make.
That, and the beloved's clear instructions:
Turn me into song; sing me awake.
The Stadler Center remembers our friend and poet, Harold Richard Bakst (1953-2013).
Gregory Orr teaches English at the University of Virginia. He has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and many other organizations.
Orr's poem contemplates what we are left with after the death of a loved one. This poem is offered by the Stadler Center in memory of friend and poet Harold Richard Bakst (1953-2013).