Monday, July 25, 2016
There is power in poetry. It can tug at our heartstrings, make us laugh, and heal our souls in ways that prose cannot. Speaking in short terms, it allows the space for the reader to fill the gaps based on their own experiences, taking on personal meaning, not unlike the individual's interpretation of works of art.
The following poem was written before Sue B. joined the writing class. As the result of a discussion with her, we concluded that writing an introduction for each poem would provide some background, a setting, or explanation as to why she was moved to write about a particular event.
Recently it was Mother’s Day, and I wished I could have looked forward to it and enjoyed it as many women and men do. Unfortunately, I couldn’t as my mother was an alcoholic and a raging one at that. All thru my childhood and later when I was an adult, and especially after my father died when I was 5, things got rough for myself and my siblings. (As a matter of fact, I do not believe I even met the real person my mother was – or became – until 6 months before her death when she became so incapacitated she was no longer able to obtain alcohol by herself – and thus was dried out by her doctors, and I met this sweet woman I had never met before.)
But especially during my childhood, she was quite the emotional abuser, and her mood swings were vast and her meanness differed widely depending on the time of day and how much she had had to drink. Often she was very harsh in her judgments, “Well, if you have to say you’re sorry for doing it, you wouldn’t have done it in the first place….” Didn’t leave much room for self-acceptance, self-forgiveness, and self-love – much less any of that for others.
And so I do not have any loving poems written to my mother, or for her, rather she was the inspiration for several poems I have written during my continual healing journey toward my own self-love and wholeness.
MY SACRED SPACE
I have a place within me
it is my sacred space
It holds my thoughts, my dreams, my songs
no one else's - it is mine and I like it that way,
in fact - I demand it that way
It holds no one else's hopes or truths or joys - just mine
so why would anyone else want to take it from me?
Oh I speak not of the joy of sharing scared space with
loved ones - the hold circle of communion -
I tell of the opening of the soul without its permission
The incision of a scalpel, so small but sharp, the rendering
of my insides without even my permission
"It is not your right to ask me why or even question how.
Just accept it as my right since I am so big and you
are so small, and obviously don't even know right
But I knew....somehow the little voice inside of me remained and
whispered always...."That is a lie. You have the right to your
insides, your emotions, and the scared space is yours alone
But the knives they did not cease, they sliced thru every day, and
soon my feelings became the playground of the high and
I was taught the games to please and pleasure the giant
(Give her what she wants and maybe I'll get out of this alive!)
But still the abuse went on, year after year, lie after lie,
and a part of me slowly began to believe...
The only good, the only use I have is the playground of this
might giant, I have no right to my own emotions, my
own scared space
My use is to take what she gives me and heal her wounds,
and sing when she is sad, and laugh when she is mad
(to get her out of her ill humor)
And cry when she needs to vent her anger
(so she knows she has hurt someone in her pain)
"Oh God" I cry, "Not again, will this never cease?"
It never did, and so I grew up and moved away, and became the
perfect fool for any and all kings, giants, or anyone with
Yes, I learned my lessons well, keep a smiling face, never let
anyone know how you fell, and above all else never, never
For how could the jester jest if she was in a bad mood or laugh
and sing and play the fool if she is having a bad day.
"No, you do not have the right to your own emotions,
keep them at bay, especially when you are on duty every single day."
"Now be a good jester, people pleaser, whatever, dance and
sing and play, I need my mood uplifted."
And so it went day after day, year after year....
but the little voice within me refused to die
And quietly its message continued to echo within the scarred and
scared passages inside...
"You have the right, the right to your own feelings and emotions.
It is your scared space and mine to share our communion."
And somehow thru the years, thru much giving and loving, and my
accepting, the message is ringing clearer and clearer
Yes, I have the right to my own feelings, my own love, my
own laughter, my own giving
I give to whom I please, I love whom I please
and I know what is you and what is me
There is no blurring of the boundaries
I know who I AM and stronger and stronger
And I know who you are outside my healthier
walls of self-esteem
In fact, I'm okay, I'm growing stronger day by day
and I do what I damn well please
There is no more open door to my insides, my emotions,
to do what you will
I have my own feelings now
to do what I will
And the little voice inside which has always
been my friend....
I have signed a pact of peace, love
And we often sit in communication
laughing, playing, giggling
Safe within our scared space of joyous
Thank you for sharing with us Sue!