Voices of the
"At the edge of the mystery of death, we offer the poetry of our truth."
— Ram Dass
When Mike Bernhardt’s wife died in 1991, he turned to writing poetry as a tool of healing. He later solicited the poetry of other people whose loved ones had died and received hundreds of submissions from around the world. The result was Voices of the Grieving Heart. More than just an anthology of poetry, it is a companion on the darkest road many of us will ever have to travel: grieving the death of someone we loved.
30th Anniversary Expanded Edition
This new, expanded edition contains over 160 selected poems, essays, and images by 83 contributors who share their journeys through loss, grief, and transformation, including:
• Deaths due to suicide, miscarriage, COVID-19, and other causes
• Reflections on grief, 30 years later, from first-edition contributors
• Prompts and blank pages for readers to add their own poetry
"Voices of the Grieving Heart is a profoundly compassionate friend of a book—listening, gently responding, sharing the heavy load of sorrow, letting anyone of any age living through any sorrow know, they are not alone. We will never be alone."
“Grief shatters our hearts. These poems vividly convey the compassion and the courage that can bear this brokenness. Let their tender strength heal you.”
“In forty-five years of providing support and intervention to grieving individuals and families, I have found that poetry more accurately describes the nuance and depth of the grief journey than volumes of text. Voices of the Grieving Heart will heal and open your poetic voice to the true gift.”
"Poetry is the song of the soul. Voices of the Grieving Heart captures these soul songs and collects them into a poignant, comforting, and healing volume for those suffering from the loss of a loved one. I was immediately drawn in and am richer for the reading. You will be too."
"I would have loved to find this gem during my early months of grieving. These poems realize, poignantly, the form of witnessing that poems take on, and help to connect us to others like us as we navigate our deep grieving.”
“The voices in Voices of the Grieving Heart are healing voices, voices that reflect the deep sorrow and trajectory of mourning from trying to let go, to holding on, to letting go, again and again. This is an essential book that I plan on gifting time after time to friends and family who have lost loved ones.”
“This beautiful book speaks directly to the heart with moving and powerful poetry from people who generously share their journeys of love, loss, healing, and hope. With a section devoted to grieving in the time of pandemic, and an invitation to experience the healing power of writing, it is as personal as it is universal.”
“In an age where grief is made more complex by pandemic isolation, Voices of the Grieving Heart embraces readers within a healing community, where one hears their own voice emerging from the words of others.”
“Within the lovely pages of Voices of the Grieving Heart, you will find profoundly poignant expressions of unimaginable sorrow. However, companioning the sorrow, you will find hope for healing and a new tomorrow.”
“Here are voices that tell us not what to feel, but how they feel, speaking from the deep places touched by grief and love. Anyone who has lost a loved one will benefit from the honest, courageous, and generous sharing found in these pages.”
“The grieving process following the death of a loved one often defies words to describe our inner feelings. The writings in Voices of the Grieving Heart capture what many of us have felt but have not been able to put into words. Reading this book was a deep, moving and important healing experience for me.”
“These are the articulations of the grieving heart. Each poem is a perfect mirror, an encouragement to heal. This is the poetry of our joy and exhaustion, living and dying with the consequences of love. This is our voice when our heart is broken.”
"Voices of the Grieving Heart is a work of art that speaks directly to the soul, from the real experts—those who have experienced death, grieving and healing. For us who are tired of being told what we’re supposed to feel, Voices of the Grieving Heart offers a refreshing truth about the transformative power of loss and pain.”
“Voices of the Grieving Heart by Mike Bernhardt is a beautiful book. It will touch you deeply, move you to tears and heal you. Read it and awaken to life.”
“Voices of the Grieving Heart will be a benefit in helping counselors better understand the feelings and thoughts of those who grieve. I recommend it to other professionals and volunteers who work with the grieving.”
“Voices of the Grieving Heart repeatedly calls us to face the mystery of life and death. I strongly recommend this work for anyone who is ready to open the deepest realms within.”
“At the edge of the mystery of death, we offer the poetry of our truth into the silence.”
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I’m being interviewed LIVE on Good Grief with Cheryl Jones,