All the men weeping

tears
running down 
their stubbly cheeks
the plains of their faces

beading on their glasses
soaking their pale blue collars.
for some it’s as familiar as wringing a cloth at a car wash
for others their tears are calibrated drip by drip
and for some it’s a mystery – they look at their hands
like a wilderness of archipelagos and firs.
we’re so broken; we’ve been so broken.
you’ll see them weeping in ones or twos
on benches in parks or train stations
holding their melon in their palms
or head thrown back, mouths taut
a great swan of grief escaping.
an endless gendered tide
has inundated the country:
baffled before the cameras
red-eyed in coffee shops
holding a photo of a daughter
their wearied mother
the letter from you
the words
still


Image: Winter swimming at Bat Yam Beach, Israel c/- Gady Munz via Wikimedia Commons. Posted at Dverse, the poets’ pub.

And since this is a dirgy piece – here’s Kali Malone for you.

28 thoughts on “All the men weeping

  1. ” it’s as familiar as wringing a cloth at a car wash for others their tears are calibrated drip by drip and for some it’s a mystery…”

    This is a splendid observation, and have you noticed that as we age, those tears fall faster and more easily… for both women and men.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The photo has me wondering what the bathers are looking at on the other side of the water. It looks like an explosion. The letter that dropped like a bomb?

    Like

      1. Isn’t it funny where the mind goes sometimes. You know, last year I never went into the lake, even once. This year, hell yes! I’m one of those tiptoe by tiptoe in, until I reach critical mass, then plug my nose and ….. breach!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t tell you how good I think this is, Peter. Well maybe I can…it’s brilliant and very moving…”a great swan of grief”…..it’s got humour, compassion, imagery ..pure poetry…JIM

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As a man unafraid of weeping at a television program, at a movie, at a pitch to save starving dogs, looking at the pile of needles in homeless camps, I can attest that pain, passion, fear and wonder all bring forth the gush and blush. I eat quiche too.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A great read and very relatable, Peter. I’ve seen this in my academic colleagues as well, a lifetime of feeling can be suppressed when one is entirely devoted to anything. Sometimes humanity never appears, or the dam can break, and it can overwhelm. Years ago, a friend of mine who was a genius of a theoretical physicist took his own life. It was a terrible loss and I suspect that all he needed was someone to really talk to.

    Like

  6. I agree with Marilyn about your splendid observation, and hers that as we age, tears fall faster and more easily for women and men. Well done for the immediate surprise of the stubbly cheeks and the tears ‘beading on their glasses’. You’ve gathered the tears of every man and soaked your poem with them, Peter, and I feel them now, pooling in my heart. I especially love how you make the undeniable grief palpable in the lines:
    ‘…for some it’s a mystery – they look at their hands
    like a wilderness of archipelagos and firs’
    and
    ‘…head thrown back, their mouths taut
    a great swan of grief escaping.’

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Men weeping as a tribe, that’s not the official trope on manhood, how unmanning their grief. The poem is like a breezy sheet that surprises us with its vision and force. When did this happen, who are these men, what is this astonishing grief, who wrote the letter? Astonishing how true we realize this dreaming reality flutters before us. So well done Peter – B

    Like

  8. ‘or head thrown back, their mouths taut
    a great swan of grief escaping.’

    I think such a tide of grief needs to be unleashed. A big problem for a lot of men, being indoctrinated into keeping those feelings in. Pressure on men to be ‘manly’ and women to be ‘womanly’ can only lead to desperation…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m split … aussie men truly struggle with grief, never seen many actually cry! I did hospice work for years and think they must hold them back for the shower or shed.

    As for our crying christian what a joke! A rapist investigating an inappropriate judge … really. If you ask someone if they robbed a bank do you really expect an honest answer! If the girl you raped suicided you’d be an absolute idiot to own up but many will believe his tears cos they can’t swallow the truth 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is so hard-hitting and poignant! I admire the way you have addressed the subject of grief here, which I believe should give equal freedom to both genders to express. For ages, men have been conditioned and been told to hold their feelings in, to put up a brave front, but… why does society forget that they at the end of the day are human too? 💝💝

    PS: So sorry I am late to comment, I have been battling sinusitis.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s