As I’ve been reading The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing, a collection edited by Kevin Young, I’ve considered how this book might have worked as a dynamic text. Two songs that I keep playing in my head while thinking about scoring the book, if you will, are Don Henley’s “The Heart of the Matter” and Mike & the Mechanics’ “The Living Years.” Both songs confront different forms of loss. Henley’s song contemplates the end of a romantic relationship and the Mechanics’ song addresses regret upon the death of a loved one.
Henley asks a question in “The Heart of the Matter” that I find compelling and also apt in its description of history: “How can love survive in such a graceless age?” I’m hard pressed to name an age in U.S. history and culture that wasn’t “graceless;” the contemporary moment certainly fits this description. Rather than despair, as I am wont to do, these images offer some consolation that kindness and compassion are possible: