November 29

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Healing Through Poetry

By Odyssa

November 29, 2022


Poetry and Mary Oliver. Source.

I cannot recount the times I turned to written words to save me from despair. 

The words of poets who have walked the steps I'm walking now is like a warm embrace after a long journey. Life may be bad at times but it's not always a catastrophe. 

In the face of adversity, I recall Viktor Frankl in "Man's Search for Meaning" whose entire family perished in concentration camps. Though the thought of suicide crossed his mind, he promised himself he will never 'run into the wire' or touch the electrically-charged barbed-wire fence. 

How does one remain collected when you are standing too close to death?

Under the spell of lasting love, there is "Decade" by Amy Lowell, a poem that speaks of a decision a lover or a partner makes repeatedly to be with the same person:

When you came, you were like red wine and honey,
And the taste of you burnt my mouth with its sweetness. 

Now you are like morning bread,
Smooth and pleasant.

I hardly taste you at all for I know your savour,
But I am completely nourished.


Pablo Neruda wrote about an intense love for someone far away in "Tonight I Can Write":

My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.

My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.


In the face of adversity, there is "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley:

It matters not how strait the gate,  
  How charged with punishments the scroll,   
I am the master of my fate:
  I am the captain of my soul.

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In "This Is A Poem That Heals Fish", the character, Lolo, shares his short and sweet interpretation of poetry, "A poem, Arthur, is when you are in love and have the sky in your mouth."

For writer Gretchen Schmelzer, poems were like "echoes of the language I needed, glimpses of a story, and a reminder that when our heart hurts, there can be real beauty."

---

They say that poets and philosophers have different jobs to do, but both have a deep understanding of humanity's struggles, limits, and possibilities.

Both write. Both write of the mundane and give a wiser, timeless explanation. 

Poetry is written from the core of the poet's heart. There is nothing I have seen to be more genuine, raw, and eloquent than a poem. 

It's no wonder poetry has the power to heal our brokenness. A few lines from a poem can speak loudly to our souls because it, after all, come from the same space. 

---

I have written poems about letting go and having breakfast. Here's a blog post compiling some timeless poems about love


Odyssa

About the author

Odyssa is a writer from the Philippines. She is the author of Like A New Sun Rising: A Collection of Poems on Love. When not working or writing at home, she's out walking their dogs. She enjoys traveling, practices yoga, gets lost in books and Korean drama. To her, making time for a daily practice or ritual is the best gift to one's self.

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