Gabriel NPR coverage of Gabriel by Edward Hirsch. News, author interviews, critics' picks and more.
NPR logo Gabriel

Gabriel

A Poem

by Edward Hirsch

Hardcover, 78 pages, Random House Inc, List Price: $26.95 |

purchase

Buy Featured Book

Title
Gabriel
Subtitle
A Poem
Author
Edward Hirsch

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

NPR Summary

This poignant volume was inspired by the author's son's tragic early death. It reflects on the young man's boisterous youth, his rebellious early adulthood and the author's experience of grief.

Read an excerpt of this book

Genres:

NPR stories about Gabriel

A Poet On Losing His Son: 'Before You Heal, You Have To Mourn'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/345796530/345997500" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Excerpt: Gabriel

I did not know the work of mourning
Is like carrying a bag of cement
Up a mountain at night

The mountaintop is not in sight
Because there is no mountaintop
Poor Sisyphus grief

I did not know I would struggle
Through a ragged underbrush
Without an upward path

Because there is no path
There is only a blunt rock
With a river to fall into

And Time with its medieval chambers
Time with its jagged edges
And blunt instruments

I did not know the work of mourning
Is a labor in the dark
We carry inside ourselves

Excerpted from Gabriel by Edward Hirsch. Copyright 2014 by Edward Hirsch. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.