Live Virtual Group Session: 6pm EDT May 10th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

Our text for this session was the poem Breakage” by Mary Oliver, posted below.

Our prompt for this session was: “Write about the tattered or the whole.”

More details on this session will be posted, so check back!

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

Also, we would love to learn more about your experience of these sessions, so if you’re able, please take the time to fill out a follow-up survey of one to two quick questions!

Please join us for our next session Wednesday May 12th at 12pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

Breakage” by Mary Oliver,

I go down to the edge of the sea.
How everything shines in the morning light!
The cusp of the whelk,
the broken cupboard of the clam,
the opened, blue mussels,
moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred—
and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split,
dropped by the gulls onto the gray rocks and all the moisture gone.
It's like a schoolhouse
of little words,
thousands of words.
First you figure out what each one means by itself,
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop
       full of moonlight.

Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.

Source: Poetry (Poetry Foundation, 2003)

6 thoughts on “Live Virtual Group Session: 6pm EDT May 10th 2021

  1. About the tattered or the whole~~~

    Life disjointed, interrupted.
    Jagged pieces tossed about in the past, present, and future.
    How to place them into a recognizable form,
    one that is comprehensible,
    one that can be accepted.

    There is no right or wrong way to go about the task,
    the only requirement is that these broken pieces fuse together finally within my heart.
    Acceptance, that although they are imperfect,
    they form a congealed version of life where I can move onward.

    Broken pieces fused together to form an even stronger bond.


    • al3793

      Michele, I was moved by the speaker’s repeated attempts to pull together the jagged, disjointed pieces (a nice alliteration in those two words). No right or wrong, just acceptance and then congealing (there’s the “j” sound again), fusing them back into something recognizable. This is what we do in Narrative Medicine, look carefully, pulling together the pieces, creating some semblance of the whole, telling the story, touching the heart of the other as this narrative did mine. Andre

      Liked by 1 person

  2. al3793

    I think we are all emerging from this whole year, the pandemic year,
    a bit tattered, like the scallop shells and razor clams and mother of pearl
    that have been ground repeatedly by the waves breaking on the edge of the beach.
    If you find just the right line, where the last wave recedes into the one oncoming,
    tumbling the beach detritus, you will see a kaleidoscope of colors,
    dull when dry, but glistening and bright
    when the morning twilight gives rise to dawn
    or just before the sun sets with its pallet of colors
    and the shells lie upon the beach still wet,
    awaiting the pounce of next breaker to come ashore.

    And so, we move forward into another pandemic year
    wondering not so much, when the thing will end,
    but rather what the whole story will look like?
    Who of us will still be standing?
    What tatters will we bear?
    What will it be like standing on the edge of something new?

    afl 05.10.2021


    • Beautifully written! I remember standing on the beaches of Nags Head, most of what I found on the sand there were bits and pieces of various shells that had been beaten up by the ocean currents and tossed ashore. A rare find was the perfectly complete shell that was cast upon the beach. I often wondered how far these creatures of the sea had traveled to find themselves lying at my feet.


    • Patricia D.

      Standing on the edge of something new… gives us hope.
      Beautiful images, I think we will look like Kintsugi pottery.


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