Why didn’t someone tell me about crying in the shower?
What a fair fine place to cry.
What a rare place to let go
And know that no one hears--
Let fall your tears which, with the rain that falls,
Appall nobody save yourself, and standing there
You wear your sadness, properly assuaged,
Your head and face massaged by storms of spring
Or, if you think it, autumn rain.
You drain yourself away to naught, the move to joy;
But sadness must come first, it must be bought.
A thirst for melancholy, then, must find a place
To stand in corners and know grief;
The last leaf on the tree may turn you there,
Or just the way the wind, with cats,
Prowls down the garden grass,
Or some boy passing on a bike,
Selling the end of summer with a shout,
Or some toy left like doubt upon a walk,
Or some girl’s smile that, heedless, cracks the heart,
Or that cold moment when each part and place and room
In all your house is empty, still,
Your children gone, their warm rooms chill,
Their summer-oven beds unyeasted, flat,
Waiting for cats to visit some half-remembered ghost
In the long fall.
So, for absolutely no good reason at all
Old oceans rise
One’s eyes are filled with salt;
Something unknown then dies and must be mourned.
Then standing beneath the shower at noon or night
Is right and proper and good--
What was not understood now comes to hand...
One’s interior land is wonderfully nourished by tears:
The years that you brought to harvest
Are properly scythed down and laid,
The games of love you played are ribboned and filed,
A whole life unlocked in your blood is thus let free, unbound.
So freely found then, know it, let it go
From out your eyes and with the sweet rains flow.
But now, good boys, strong gentlemen, take heed:
This stuff is not for women, lost, alone;
The need is yours as well as theirs.
Take women’s wisdom for your own.
Take sorrow’s loan and let your own cares free.
Christ, give it a try!
Not to learn how to weep is, lost fool,
But to learn how to die.
Stand weeping there from midnight until morn,
Then from impacted wisdom shorn, set free,
Leap forth to laugh in freshborn Children’s Hour and shout:
Oh, damn you, maids, that’s what it’s all about?!
Sweet widows with your wisdom, blast you all to hell!
Why, why, God, oh why,
Why wouldn’t someone tell me about crying in the shower?
[Ray Bradbury, 'Why Didn’t Someone Tell Me about Crying in the Shower?', from I Live By the Invisible]