We read The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.
The poem itself needs much more than half an hour to dissect and understand, but we pulled out some interesting themes and questions that resonated and led to a great conversation.
How, and how often, do we think about the people we have lost? And when we think about them, is it happy, sad, inspiring, functional...
The conflict between our desire to forget things and our desire to remember them.
Is there some pleasure in grief? (the narrator begs the raven who has interrupted his quiet grief - “leave my loneliness unbroken!”)
How do we do justice to the dead?
Our conversation ranged from the role we feel lost loved ones play in our decisions and life choices today, to how some cultures treat death as something to manage and minimise, while others treat it as something to celebrate and bring into our daily lives. And at the other end of the spectrum, we even talked about representatives for future generations in policy-making, which is very cool stuff.
My main take-away was the realisation that grief is one of few experiences that all of us share, and yet it’s so lonely.
Does it need to be lonely? Can talking about it more make it a richer, more connected, even positive experience?
Illustration by Drew Frankie Victorie.