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Saturday, September 22, 2012

On poeming the painfully personal: reflections on a prompt


On poeming the painfully personal : reflections on a prompt


What can one say? why share the “worst things?” I am not quite sure – of what benefit is it to rip at,  what is at best after all these years, a diaphanous veil, exposing to the air and to all – those closed away and shuttered remembrances - visceral soul piercing "mementos" that always do flow like a running river or beat like a pulsing heart beneath our words? 

Why? Certainly not only for the acknowledgment of the awe-inspiring capacity of humans to not only survive but to thrive – to continue to love when denigrated and abused, to continue to hope, having had hope cruelly snatched away – to simply... continue?  Although perhaps, that is a good enough reason in itself. I am not certain.

Why write of this?  As some "vehicle" through we may ride through each other's pain ending each journey with a deeper and more authentic knowledge of the person behind the poet?   

All these reflections are possibly viable, powerful reasons for a prompt that invited personal, painful disclosure.  possible testamonials, in favor of this prompt and for nobility of pain that pours through “The Street.”  Certainly the balm of individual and collective embrace and the agreement to walk naked at one's worst moment is   evidence of a profound trust formed over time among those who have shared their words…  And so, perhaps all of these provide a worthy rationale for a prompt that at first glance resulted in my own retreat and immediate decision to decline.  A decision which after finding it impossible not to read the writings of my compatriots, I found unfair and impossible not to share as well.

It then became apparent (although penned poorly here and embarrassingly rawly at the site) ...

The worst thing has not happened to any of us yet – as one poet poignantly penned.   After some reflection, appropriate for many at this time of the year, .....   

The worst thing, I believe would be turning away.  The worst thing would be the absence of compassion and the lack of either ability or desire to respond to a fellow sufferer – to have no words ,or thoughts, remembered, expressed, and yes, shared,   Beyond all else, the worst thing would be to not feel the searing pain of another's pain, followed by the passionate, if impossible, desire to bring comfort or at least ease to the other.

No, we, in my humble opinion have not experienced the worst thing, which would be the inhumanity of unrelenting indifference to self and for each other. It is a privilege to live and a promise of possibility to continue to feel and to hope for peace of mind for oneself and others on this “Street” and on the spinning blue, albeit, at times crying in- personal- and- collective - pain marble which we all poetically share,

12 comments:

  1. Pearl, this seems to me to be exactly right. At the point where we cannot share our hopes and fears, we are at risk of not being able to feel for the Other as well as for ourselves. I, unlike you, didn't end up writing for this prompt (I often write but don't post, but this one I didn't try). I wonder if I should reconsider that decision.

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    1. always enjoy your opinions - I thought that this invitation for personal disclosure (in clinical terms ACH! for a discriminating analyst ) deserved some reflection and discussion. I think , as with all things so very personal, it comes down to individual choice - never group think, no matter how well-intentioned .... I shared a "tough " moment, but by no means my "worst."

      thanks again for reading and responding.
      sweet dreams and a happy weekend...

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  2. Well done, Pearl. You put together a piece of lyric prose that could quality for a well-placed stab at defining why this prompt was so difficult for each of us.

    I know that I have survived several of "worst" events in my life. I know that others await ma, skulking in the wings. I also know that we have not imagination enough to accurately comprehend what constitutes "the worst thing that could ever happen to us."

    Good for you, Pearl, for reminding us of "could-be's."

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  3. Aw thank you Claudsy - I must say that this prompt hit me hard as I know it did others - not only in its content but in wondering about the intent - I had a difficult time finding a "life lesson" in this one that could be positive :)

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  4. Thanks for the reflective post, Pearl. I see your point. I also understand those who feel the internet is not the place to share truly personal (private) information. I chose to share, but with the full knowledge that my children would give me their blessing to do so. And even with that, I wonder if it was the wise thing to do.

    I also must say, your "place all wrong" piece is truly an extraordinary write. Extraordinary.

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    1. Marie - I absolutely understand your viewpoint and as I've mentioned elsewhere I think that we all disclose and do not disclose what we feel is comfortable for us ... The experience I shared although, long ago and very painful, was not by far the "worst" and so I suppose after all is said and done I did not comply as fully with the prompt as others such as yourself. You have shared bits and pieces of your life history throughout the years in comments about your poems and in your heart-felt responses to others - Over the years I have not only admired your work, your joyful poems, your empathic responses but your kindness and absolute authenticity. It would be difficult for you, with your personal essence to do anything but the "wise thing." You are a very special person in your absolute sense of kindness and lack of judgment - it is perfectly fitting that you would be able to be comfortable being open about your own life and to permit people to see that beneath the "sunny' Marie there is pain and many 'worst' moments that you have not allowed to become obstacles to living the joy that you find and share in life. I always enjoy dialoguing with you and thank you for your response to my "place all wrong" piece, with love and appreciation.

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    2. Thank you for your kindness, Pearl. For me, it is a wonderful thing to be able to know people from all around the globe ... and I don't use "know" lightly. I realize we can all place out here only what we wish, but I also think that after as many years as some of us have shared ouselves in our poetry and otherwise, we surely would have a difficult time "hiding" any large part of our spirit. I can honestly say I agree with both you and "Misky," each in a different way.

      Thank you again. Your kind and generous words are so appreciated, Pearl.

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    3. Marie - I absolutely agree that the "friendships" shared on the Internet are far from "virtual" ...I've written a little more about this here and there - but certainly it is a privilege to get to know and trust and, for me have validated, our essential human connectedness and commonality on this "spinning blue marble" we ALL share. :))).

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  5. A well-written piece. I respect your views and heartfelt wish to reach out to those in pain. I would hope that everyone shares this basic human response, Pearl. I will however preserve and reserve my personal and private life for friends and family on a face-to-face basis, across the table with a cup tea, on the telephone/Skype, so that I’m sharing not only text but real-time interaction. My nonparticipation in this prompt in no way insinuates that people in Poetic Asides aren’t my friends or that I don’t care about them. I prefer to keep what I think should be private, private.

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    1. Dear Misky ... Of course I agree with you in terms of personal choice in what and with whom we share and that in no way implies any judgement whatsoever! Just for the record although this was "a" painful moment in no way did it truly respond to the prompt's request for a "worst" moment :)

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  6. I think it does some good to share our human experiences. But that's not why I write poetry. I make poems because I can't help it. Whatever triggers it, a poem WILL keep forming itself in my mind - which is obviously what happened for you after reading others' 'worst moments'. I think it's OK to honour the poems by writing them. After that other questions arise, including in some cases whether to share a piece at all. But I am gad you shared your poem to this prompt, as although it was tragic I am richer for reading it.

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    1. I too write poetry because it "I just can't help it"... the poems that are more intentional are invariably written for someone as a form of communication that is of a less linear sort. Other poems just come from, who knows where.... In this case I did feel that it would have been voyeuristic and somehow 'grandiose" and distancing to simply read of the others pain (whether they knew I read them or not - I KNEW) and not disclose. In order to be true to myself - I needed to either skip the prompt altogether, which was my first inclination and explain my rationale - not that there are hoards of folks waiting with bated breath for my offerings... but I felt it was only 'fair' to skip the prompt and not read others or once I had read and felt the pain of others to share a bit of the pain that has colored my life as well. Rosemary, I respect your words and thank you again for commenting - I am humbled by feeling that I in any way enriched a life I consider spilling with jewels of wisdom. Thank you.

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