Anticipatory Grief

“My joy is gone, grief is upon me, my heart is sick.” – Jeremiah 8:18

Tell me, Jeremiah, down across the centuries,
just what you knew or thought you knew
when vainly seeking balm in Gilead?

Did you lament Josiah’s sad and foolish death?
Or did you hope that Judah would repent?
Or had you come to grieve disaster still to come?

Anticipatory grief.

Ah, Jeremiah, called so young, who saw
Josiah’s candle snuffed so raw,
whose life was marked by shameful taunts and blows,

Who raged anew at warnings burned,
who urged reform when few would hear,
who languished on a cistern’s sodden floor.

Anticipatory grief.

Your griefs indeed took form, took fire,
your people’s cries rebounded from
the city’s crumbling walls.

And so we hear again your warning to
avoid oppressing those at risk
or risk the consequences of our evil…

Anticipatory grief.

A poem/prayer based on Jeremiah 8:18-9:1, the Revised Common Lectionary First Reading for Year C, Proper 20 (25).

The image is Cry of prophet Jeremiah on the Ruins of Jerusalem by Ilya Repin (1870),, Public Domain,

5 thoughts on “Anticipatory Grief

  1. Anticipatory grief has so often been something I try to get families not to do when loved ones who are passing need them to be in the moment with them, loving, laughing not ahead for the time of loss. Thinking of this in the future shifts it completely.

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