“Well-Intentioned Fools”

2 Min read

Poetry for Emergencies

On grief



I came across this poem about the stupid things people say to each other after someone dies.


By D. Adam Boaz

I think that
One of the things we do
When someone we know is
Is say things,
Because we want very much
To fix and support
And make it good.
So we say
“I know what you’re feeling,”

“My dad died three years ago…”
And by doing that,
Because we are well-intentioned fools
We hijack their sadness and pain
And make it ours,
And in an singular selfish act
Place ourselves in the seat
Of importance.

It is an assault on the
Tenderest and softest raw thing
A person has-
The rape of grief with platitude.
Because we don’t know
And we can not feel
The knife-pierce pain
Of another.

No one has walked my steps
Or breathed a single breath of mine-
I carry my sadness in my own
And I will not presume
That I have ever
Tasted the heartbreak
Of another


You ever have a text chat when someone in the group died?

There’s the text before then the text after, when a scroll up meant they were alive. This is a relatively recent phenomenon, at least for me. It does not happen with a personal letter. As a young adult I received a letter after a friend died and that was like a message from the dead, from the beyond.

Boaz calls out well-intentioned fools and the singular, selfish sh*t they say.

The rape of grief with platitude.

We simply don’t know and can not feel the knife-pierce pain / Of another.

Thank you to Adam Boaz for this poem, for a scroll-down-text-after reflection on grief.

No one has walked my steps / Or breathed a single breath of mine- / I carry my sadness in my own / Soul-sack / And I will not presume / That I have ever / Tasted the heartbreak / Of another.


Voices From the Second Life by D. Adam Boaz



*My daughter’s teacher died this year and during the school celebration of his life, students read poems he had written. I purchased this collection and this is the fourth poem in his book, Voices From the Second Life. Description from Amazon:

A person lives a single life. During that life, they inhabit multiple spaces, undergo changes in mindset, and occupy an ever-changing body. Voices From the Second Life details the author’s journey of change through poetry and reflective writings about a life that has included multiple semi-deaths:addiction, racism, anger, and disillusionment. It culminates in the arrival at places of gratitude and peace, and it details the realization that those things were always waiting on the other side of experience.

Jun 4, 2024


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About the Author

Mylinh Shattan is a writer who has lived on three continents, served in the Army, worked in corporate America, and taught in college. She loves adventures, in the world and in the mind. Literature is relevant and learning is a lifelong pursuit, so you might as well have a bit of fun along the way.

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