Live Virtual Group Session: 12PM EDT May 5th 2023

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

For this session we read a poem Ending the Estrangement” by Ross Gay, posted below.

Our prompt was: Write about ending an estrangement.

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

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 Monday May 8th at 6pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions.

"Ending the Estrangement" by Ross Gay

from my mother's sadness, which was,
to me, unbearable, until,
it felt to me 
not like what I thought it felt like
to her, and so felt inside myself—like death,
like dying, which I would almost
have rather done, though adding to her sadness
would rather die than do—
but, by sitting still, like what, in fact, it was—
a form of gratitude
which when last it came
drifted like a meadow lit by torches
of cardinal flower, one of whose crimson blooms,
when a hummingbird hovered nearby,
I slipped into my mouth
thereby coaxing the bird
to scrawl on my tongue
its heart's frenzy, its fleet
nectar-questing song,
with whom, with you, dear mother,
I now sing along.

Ross Gay, "Ending the Estrangement" from Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude. Copyright © 2015 by Ross Gay.  Reprinted by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.
Source: Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015)

12 thoughts on “Live Virtual Group Session: 12PM EDT May 5th 2023

  1. About ending an estrangement~~~

    I stood motionless and existed within my compartmentalized life for these past 3 years.
    Masked, separated from the frivolity of living and connection.
    Emotions and feelings are sequestered within the body,
    waiting in reserve for the appropriate time.

    Walls slowly fall down, like layers of an onion peeling away.
    Sunlight flows into the dark corners, as a brilliant red cardinal perches on my window sill…
    he sings his joyous song to begin anew, to rejoice.

    Such an astute bird, as I listen to his life lessons and prepare myself to step out into the world.


    • Andre Lijoi

      I love the simile of the walls falling down and the onion skin and the brilliant red cardinals takes me back into the meadow in the poem.
      Your speaker also moves from motionless to stepping out similar to the sequence of events in the poem.
      The estrangement caused by the pandemic has been ubiquitous and reminds us of the proximity we are hatched into this world for.

      Nice, Andre

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Andre Lijoi

    Write about ending an estrangement…

    I worry about what will happen to you.
    You have been moving away for some time now.
    I noticed when I had trouble recognizing you and now
    it seems irreparable harm has happened to you —

    Am I to blame for not standing up
    to protect you?
    Did I not love you with a love that does not possess and
    permit you to evolve as you would want and watch
    you flourish bring good to others,
    a healing heart?

    There are others who have different ideas for you
    whose intent is not entirely noble.
    They don’t know the good that is in you.
    Yet there are many who speak for you and
    I will stay close, but not possess and
    espouse what is noble in you.



    • Elizabeth

      Andre, there is such a heaviness in this piece for me from many angles. I need to sit with it for a while. Learning to sit with the discomfort is important for all of us. Thanks for sharing your work.


      • Andre Lijoi

        Thank you Elizabeth. Remind me to tell you what it is about after others have had a chance to see it.


    • I’m thinking the narrator is espousing words of support to the “inner self”, giving words of wisdom to seek what is held dear and to know that it has the freedom to follow the callings placed before it. A love that does not “possess” is one that we all should have during this lifetime, but unfortunately, this is not always the case.
      Or I could be totally off in left field 🙂


    • michele348

      Take 2… I believe the narrator’s voice is talking about the healing profession, medicine, for which the narrator has strong feelings. The narrator has viewed the transformations that have been placed on this “sacred” profession, placing it now as one that revolves around commercialization rather than which strengthens the bonds between physician and patient.


  3. Elizabeth

    Sometimes an estrangement is necessary.
    After all, oil and water cannot mix.
    Sometimes it needs to be temporary,
    Then the provisional break can open up a sealed door.
    Sometimes it needs to be longer,
    Surrounding itself for safety with barbed wire.
    Estrangement is in the eye of the beholder.
    Sometimes one party wants it,
    While the other one does not.
    There is no right or wrong about this.
    It boils down to feelings and perspectives.
    In life’s stew,
    Some ingredients belong together,
    While others must be left out of the recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Andre Lijoi

    Elizabeth, your speaker’s use of language has be back in Ross Gay’s poem – so lovely and so practical. The parsing down of estrangement makes such sense. I love, “Estrangement is in the eye of the beholder,” and the metaphor of a recipe for “life’s stew”. Thank you for you contributions on the blog and during the sessions. Andre


  5. rehavia6

    Write About Ending an Estrangement

    To permit that which I love about you to
    that which has wounded me.
    To put aside my perspective
    And look through your eyes
    To walk towards each other and
    In the Middle

    Liked by 1 person

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