Thursday, 16 May 2013

Tears and Laughter

Hit with the whole shebang
of lost love
and what it steals
when it vanishes,
she came to my door -
torn and fragile -
and rolled into my arms.

"You're still standing.
Come in, sit down."

She giggled
at my clumsy invitation -
as her eyes welled up
and overflowed
in an escalating chorus
of snorting sobs
of tears and laughter.

I hung on to her
and began to cry:
feeling her pain
sympatico in her pain -
my own heart breaking
upon an aching lump in my throat

two mad women howling
at the meanness of rescinded devotion,

until the wailing chortles lapsed
into gulps of oxygen and - slowly -
into gentle breaths.

She sighed, deeply, then -
and with a wet iffy smile, whispered:

"Oh, well."

note:  I looked into why people laugh and cry at the same time, when they are in extreme emotional distress and found it to be quite an interesting phenomenon – unique to human beings. Laughing and crying are similar psychological reactions. Both occur during states of high emotional arousal, don't stop and start instantly and produce effects that linger.  Also, people do not experience one emotion, wait for it to end and then experience another emotion.  Both laughing and crying can ease a stressful experience, by allowing your “bottled up” inner self to come to the surface. Biological influences of laughter include stress relief and immune system stimulation.  Also it exercises a myriad of many seldom used muscles and promotes human bonding.  Crying influences hormones and chemical proteins in a way that promotes calmness and reduces depression.  The bottom line is:  when it happens, go with it.  It’s a good thing.

photo:  Rocky Point Pier Benches in Port Moody - W. Bourke

© 2013 Wendy Bourke 


  1. you have an authentic, relatable way of writing.

    v. interesting about laughter and tears. p.s. long ago, I wrote my freshman (college) English paper on the benefits of laughter. :)

  2. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, Janet. I really appreciate it. Your poetry (and prose) by the way is lovely. Beautifully sketched with just the lightest touch (at times) of whimsy which, I find very charming and fresh.