My divorce was amicable and pretty straightforward. There was no heated custody battle, no fighting over assets or who would take with them the silver service we both cherished.
Although the divorce was void of conflict it was still a mournful time in my life. I cried. A lot. I yelled. I called lawyers and did research and was far, far more prepared than I needed to be, in the end. I think that’s something we all do.
I can’t tell you that your divorce is going to be easy or whether it will be filled with conflict. I can suggest that in anticipation of gloomy days these poems will help you mourn and give you strength to carry on. Reading the right poem can heal when you’re hurt.
Poems to Read While Going Through a Divorce:
1. “34 Excuses for Why We Failed at Love” by Warsan Shire
- I’m lonely, so I do lonely things
- Loving you was like going to war; I never came back the same.
- You hate women, just like your father and his father, so it runs in your blood.
- I was wandering the derelict car park of your heart looking for a ride home.
- You’re a ghost town I’m too patriotic to leave.
- I stay because you’re the beginning of the dream I want to remember.
- I didn’t call him back because he likes his girls voiceless.
- It’s not that he wants to be a liar; it’s just that he doesn’t know the truth.
- I couldn’t love you, you were a small war.
- We covered the smell of loss with jokes.
- I didn’t want to fail at love like our parents.
- You made the nomad in me build a house and stay.
- I’m not a dog.
- We were trying to prove our blood wrong.
- I was still lonely, so I did even lonelier things.
- Yes, I’m insecure, but so was my mother and her mother.
- No, he loves me he just makes me cry a lot.
- He knows all of my secrets and still wants to kiss me.
- You were too cruel to love for a long time.
- It just didn’t work out.
- My dad walked out one afternoon and never came back.
- I can’t sleep because I can still taste him in my mouth.
- I cut him out at the root, he was my favorite tree, rotting, threatening the foundations of my home.
- The women in my family die waiting.
- Because I didn’t want to die waiting for you.
- I had to leave, I felt lonely when he held me.
- You’re the song I rewind until I know all the words and I feel sick.
- He sent me a text that said “I love you so bad.”
- His heart wasn’t as beautiful as his smile.
- We emotionally manipulated one another until we thought it was love.
- Forgive me, I was lonely, so I chose you.
- I’m a lover without a lover.
- I’m lovely and lonely.
- I belong deeply to myself.
2. “When We Two Parted” by Lord Byron
When we two parted
In silence and tears,
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.
The dew of the morning
Sank chill on my brow–
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame;
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.
They name thee before me,
A knell in mine ear;
A shudder come o’er me–
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee too well–
Long, long shall I rue thee,
Too deeply to tell.
In secret we met–
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?–
With silence and tears.
3. “After Love” by Sara Teasdale
There is no magic any more,
We meet as other people do,
You work no miracle for me
Nor I for you.
You were the wind and I the sea—
There is no splendor any more,
I have grown listless as the pool
Beside the shore.
But though the pool is safe from storm
And from the tide has found surcease,
It grows more bitter than the sea,
For all its peace.
4. “The unbearable weight of staying” by Warsan Shire
I don’t know when love became elusive
What I know, is that no one I know has it.
My father’s arms around my mother’s neck,
Fruit too ripe to eat, a door half way open.
When your name is a just a hand I can never hold,
everything I have ever believed in, becomes magic.
I think of lovers as trees, growing to and
from one another, searching for the same light.
My mother’s laughter in a dark room,
a photograph greying under my touch.
This is all I know how to do, carry loss around until
I begin to resemble every bad memory,
every terrible fear,
every nightmare anyone has ever had.
I ask, did you ever love me?
You say of course, of course so quickly
that you sound like someone else
I ask are you made of steel? are you made of iron?
You cry on the phone, my stomach hurts
I let you leave, I need someone who knows how to stay.
5. “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.