Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Poem Power!

Yesterday, I felt so sad. Just sad, heavy in spirit, out-and-out depressed. Part of the cause of that depression was my writing, as well as the fact that I gave up an amazing job (and a wonderful work community) in March. I am now working from home as a freelance writer, and I have a larger project that's also in the works.

However, "in the works" turned into "gathering virtual dust on my hard drive." I'm not sure why, exactly, but I know it has something to do with insecurity, fear of not being good enough, fear of failing, fear of not making an impact on the world before I die. Maybe I'm getting hit with an early mid-life crisis. I'll be turning 30 uncomfortably soon (within the next year or two), and I've been wondering lately -- what have I got to show for the past three decades?

Depression would lead me to say nothing. But I know that's not true. I have God, I have hope, I have my health, I have sanity (or a far better hold on it than I did just a few years ago), and an able body that can do many things, from hug to hoop to run races. I have an amazing husband, super in-laws, parents/blood relatives who love me, and friends who think about me (even when I've locked myself away in insecurity or busy-ness).

I've had life experiences I never would have imagined I'd get to participate in (like working on a ranch for disabled animals, traveling to Malaysia on a missions trip, working with troubled and often violent kids who taught me a great deal, and so on). I have this blog which, as I mentioned yesterday, is a huge blessing in my life, I have the freedom and ability to read and write and think and be creative without censure.

I have food and shelter, clothing and coffee and clean water, and a washer and dryer in our basement so I don't have to visit the laundromat. I have mountains to hike with the zaniest, cuddliest, silliest, wonderful-est dogs in the world, and I have time to snuggle with them and the Best Husband Ever. I've been allowed to make an impact in others' lives through my jobs, and I hope that will continue to be more and more true as I grow older.

So the notion that I have nothing is a lie. Maybe it's the fearful side of my self that perpetuates the lie, or an exterior influence like the devil (depending on your beliefs -- I do believe that there is a force that's anti-God and anti-joy, love, connection, and blessing) or culture or others' perceived criticisms. Regardless of its origin, however, it remains untrue.

Yesterday, when I could not grasp any of the many blessings in my life, I shook off some of the sadness with a trip to the gym and some good words on writing, life, and God. I realized that writing can hurt, but in a good kind of way, just like life hurts, too, at times -- and it's okay. This morning, with the help of lingering endorphins and encouragement and the return of the sunshine, I felt much more at ease and peaceful. When I read the following poem by Jack Kerouac, it resonated deeply. That's what I love about art, and about the Beat poets in particular -- the poem puts into words what my soul could not phrase and helps me to heal. I hope it will encourage, entertain, or speak to you, too.
Sept. 16, 1961, Poem

How awfully sad i felt thinking of my sleeping mother in her bed
that she’ll die someday
tho she herself always says “death is nothing to worry about,
from this life we start to another”
How awfully sad I felt anyway –
That have no wine to make me forget my rotting teeth is bad enough
but that my whole body is rotting and my mother’s body is rotting
towards death, it’s all so insanely sad.
I went outside in the pure dawn: but why should I be glad about
a dawn
that dawns on another rumor of war,
and why should I be sad: isnt the air at least pure and fresh?
I looked at the flowers on the bush: one of them had fallen:
another was just bloomed open: neither of them were sad or glad.
I suddenly realized all things just come and go
including any feeling of sadness: that too will go:
sad today glad tomorrow: somber today drunk tomorrow:
why fret
so much?

Everybody in the world has flaws just like me.
Why should I put myself down? Which is a feeling just coming to go.
Everything comes and goes. How good it is!
Evil wars wont stay forever!
Pleasant forms also go.
Since everything just comes and goes O why be sad? or glad?
Sick today healthy tomorrow. But O I’m so sad just the same!
Just coming and going all over the place,
the place itself coming and going.
We’ll all end up in heaven anyway, together
in that golden eternal bliss I saw.
O how damned sad I cant write about it well.
This is an attempt at the easy lightness of Ciardian poetry.
I should really use my own way.
But that too will go, worries about style. About sadness.
My little happy purring cat hates doors!
And sometimes he’s sad and silent, hot nose, sighs,
and a little heartbroken mew.
There go the birds, flying west a moment.
Who’s going to ever know the world before it goes?

[1962, Jack Kerouac]

The formatting was lost in the translation to this blog-able state, so I encourage you to seek it out in a copy of Kerouac's book, Scattered Poems.


  1. Alycia @ Fit n FreshJune 22, 2010 at 7:57 PM

    I love Jack Kerouac. I will definitely need to check out that book. I hope you feel better tomorrow babe (:

  2. I heart you. Have a good day today, be blessed, and love life! Thanks for sharing the poem too. It was gorgeous. [hahahaha my word verification is SANER!!! How funny is that?]


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King