The Gift of Poetry (October 2022)
I have spent a lot of time not only reading or listening to people’s stories, but also helping them share those stories with the world. Those who know me well will know that I am passionate about story-telling, and believe wholeheartedly the words of Iyanla Vanzant, who said, “When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else.” But it’s not an easy thing to do, particularly if those stories are about abuse, addiction, or trauma.
The Covid-19 pandemic caused – no, forced – many of us to deal with those traumas, to look at things in our life that we had buried because they were simply too painful to look at. And that’s a good thing, despite the difficulty. There is something very freeing about looking your demons straight in the eye. They lose their power that way … just like the proverbial monster under the bed.
Sometimes, however, putting the entire story down on paper for others to see is too much of a challenge … at least at first. So it’s interesting to me that, during the 2 ½ years of “Covid isolation,” I published more poetry anthologies than ever before.
Poetry can be an easier way to get your feet wet in regard to telling your story and speaking your truth. Just like putting your toes in the water rather than jumping off the dock. While the emotion and the raw truth are still present in the poem, the details can be omitted. And poetry is definitely a powerful means of reaching, and empowering, others.
Following are three examples taken from anthologies I published during the Covid pandemic:
“I’m glad you’re here,” his mother said,
as he lay quietly in the bed.
“You had us scared. I’d miss you so.”
He closed his eyes and wished she’d go.
The pain he felt was at his core.
He’d questioned what this life was for.
Too tired now to lift his head,
no longer hearing what she said.
Thwarted in his attempt to die,
he’d give this life another try.
Finding Meaning: Poetry for Painful Times, by Beverly Nuttall
Small soft grains of sand
To clear individual drops of dew
That lie upon the green shores’ grass.
Neither rhyme nor reason
Wandering I will go, where I want
According to my moods.
Feel me upon your face
You cannot catch me in your hands.
Search and search, playing hide-and-seek
Invisible I am.
Scattered Leaves, by Jaclyn Abrahams
She tried her whole life
To be a rose in the garden.
Until one day she realized
She was a wildflower
And set herself free.
A Wild Hallelujah, by Kelly-Anne Whalen
Do you have a story to tell, but are reluctant to jump off the dock? Perhaps writing a poem or two is the perfect way to get your feet wet!