Monday, 22 October 2012

Poetry in Motion - my therapy!

Poetry in Motion

Last Monday I was commissioned into Source and I am now a new member of a church family – one without walls or the normal religious traditions but one where I can grow and explore my faith and serve the community as well.  After spending a lot of time wanting to find a church that suited my open minded, simple and liberal views of my faith I am so glad to be a member of such super group of people.  

While having breast cancer treatment my faith deepened and I believe that sometimes in our hardest moments faith does that as we reach out for hope. Now in recovery, I have a deep need in myself to serve others but not sure of the direction I want to go in.  I am  currently exploring becoming a hospital visitor through hospital chaplaincy where I think that some of my experiences, skills and gifts can be used to comfort others through hard times.  Faith is such a personal thing and for me it has been very much a movable intangible part of my life, it’s withered, it’s blossomed, it’s been put on a dusty shelf forgotten, but it has never died.  As with everything in my life at the moment I also reached out at this time and wrote a poem which was my witness to faith.

“Poetry is, above all, an approach to the truth of feeling . . .. A fine poem will seize your imagination intellectually—that is, when you reach it, you will reach it intellectually too— but the way is through emotion, through what we call feeling.” Muriel Rukeyser

I have always written poetry throughout my life but usually when I am depressed and only for myself - and got writers block through the good times.  Now, however, I find that the more I write the more the creative juices are flowing and because I am sharing my poetry it has led me into some unexpected situations, directions and meeting some very interesting, varied and diverse people. Life is an adventure once more. 

“Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.”  T.S. Eliot

My poetry is like therapy, almost like a counselling session with myself listening to what my inner heart is saying. Putting the words on paper is taking the feelings out of my system and performing the poem in a public forum is the final releasing of those feelings. I have written poems on my depression, my breast cancer journey, abuse, and death of a loved one, some of the nightmare scenarios I have been in, events and funny situations, my family all with a little part of me in them.  Sometimes it is letting go of such hidden, primitive,  painful, and negative feelings so personal to me that I can breathe again.

“Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.” Thomas Gray

I have just found a poetry site called and I have started to publish some of poems there.  Some of the poems I research - recently I did one on the “Los 33” from a mistress' point of view for the 2 year anniversary which was in this month of October.   It was a good feeling to go back in time and be reminded of the elation of the world when the Chilean miners were rescued and the fact that the world seemed united together in their plight.  It really proved that the world can come together and miracles do happen when we work together.  I did find though that the poem is meant to read and not performed as it is a bit long!

“Poetry comes nearer to vital truth than history.” Plato

 I also performed two poems I especially wrote for National Anglican Autism. I published these on my last blog because I did tweet about attending this event a lot and thought I should share the poems!  Again I did a little bit of research on autism so my poetry was factually correct and mirrored some feelings that those who actually have autism, but it is general exploring the spectrum of Autism and accepting the differences in all of us that make up the tapestry of life.

“Reality only reveals itself when it is illuminated by a ray of poetry.” Georges Brague

I do think though the poems that are slightly divorced from my reality are not as good as the ones that are true experiences and I put my emotions into.

“Poetry is important. No less than science, it seeks a hold upon reality, and the closeness of its approach is the test of its success.” Babette Deutsch

The other poem was for my for my nephew who has Asperger’s.  At the time of writing it, It made me realize just as a parent how difficult at times it must have been for my sister to cope with my nephew, and that in many ways I have never recognized this fact – he is a fine young man, who has come through particularly hard times recently but is now regaining his confidence.  So writing my poetry, and listening to others poetry, has also given me insight and grown my own compassion and empathy.

“The poem . . . is a little myth of man's capacity of making life meaningful. And in the end, the poem is not a thing we see—it is, rather, a light by which we may see—and what we see is life.” Robert Penn Warren

A lot of my friends say I have a way with words, but I don’t really think so – my poetry is raw and literal compared to others, and I most realize this when I am with all the talented poets around me at both the poetry groups I attend  - those that take my breath away in awe.  I so admire those poets that can take a subject like their favorite book, artist, character and twist and construct a poem about them with their own feelings binding and twining them into the poem they have written. It’s not something I have really tried to do yet. I also admire those rapping poets who can get their emotion across through the rhythm of words.  And then there are those poets that take you on a journey as a storyteller, and those who just give you at tingle and reaction through laughter and emotion. There are so many aspects of my poetry I have started to experiment with and seeing other people styles I can play with these incorporating some of it into my own poetry – although I think that perhaps rapping is not one of them.  

“The essentials of poetry are rhythm, dance, and the human voice.”  Earle Birney

Through joining two poetry groups and performing at different local events I have met so many different people, from different walks of life, ages and with their own style, their own story and surprising insights that really does prove the adage “don’t judge a book by its cover”!  Although, I’m not going to meet my soul mate (although that would be nice but not high on my expectations!), I know that my conversations of late have become much more interesting, have gained knowledge, insight into others emotions, grown as a person and more importantly now writing much better poetry!

“Poetry is like making a joke. If you get one word wrong at the end of a joke, you've lost the whole thing.”  W.S. Merwin

Contrary to some of my friend’s opinion I don’t think poetry is actually that hard to write – it doesn't need to rhyme, you do not have to use lots of describing words, and although the rhythm of the poem is important if you are going to be perform it, what really matters is that you put a part of yourself, some of your own emotion into the poetry and it will then connect with other people when they read or hear it.  Poetry is after all just a snapshot of a moment in time like a photograph and reflection of ourselves.

“Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.” Audre Lorde

Do have a go at writing poetry, just write down some random thoughts, one liners may be a few quotes and then try and weave those words together into something magical and you never know where you may end up! 

“Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.”  Kahlil Gibran

For those who may be interested and live near or in Colchester - SKOPT (Some kind of poetry thing) meets on the first Wednesday of each month at Slackspace and Colchester Poetry meet on the first Tuesday of the month at 15 Queen Street.  - bit of a shame twice in the same week but there again it does get the poetry out of your system all at once!


Put your feet up and relax
Take a chair
Put your feet up
Have a cup of tea
And relax
Switch on your computer
Change your screensaver picture
And put on your Facebook
Play some inane games
And your let your mind disconnect
Go on twitter
Make a funny remark
After dinner start to settle back
Dirty dishes still in the sink
Cat litter beginning to stink
The sound of the TV in the background
Glancing over screen now and again
As you sort out your email
The devil is in the detail
You miss
Replies, responses and online chat
Still you haven’t spoken
No mixed up emotion
No physical reaction
Everything coming with a caveat
As you access my space
And Google for the rest of the night
You think you unwind
With an overloaded mind
And when it’s time to sleep
You have bubbles popping in your head
Worry about everything undone
All that's been unsaid


  1. My daughter actually heard me for what seemed like the first time.  I also started listening to my daughter through different ears and was able to step into her reality and have an understanding for what she was feeling. So don't make any mistake for your guidance about to Connect With Your Teen Daughter we are in online for 24/7 in a week..........

  2. I will have a look - is it much different to how to connect to your teen son?