Normally I am Little Miss Hopeful, relentlessly optimistic about humanity and our future. Some days, days like the day I wrote the first “movement” of this poem, drops of despair and confusion trickle through and for a while it becomes that much harder to find the light.
I wrote Wake after reading my morning news, carefully curated by the ever helpful Google, helpfully reminding me of every instance of darkness working its way through our collective lives: hedge funds betting on the devaluation of the pound after the UK referendum which in real terms meant betting on increasing pain, loss, misery; any and every time the word migrants is used to try and convince us the human souls attached to that definition are less than; the both subtle and obvious forms of authoritarianism wrapping their tendrils around our political centres; and for me, most importantly, our society’s avoidance of mental anguish and regardless of well-meaning charities and awareness days, the realisation that we still exist in a world where talking about our pain is not welcomed, where we still have to be a consistent standard job description in our workplace rather than a complicated, messy, unpredictable being of flesh and bones, and where the icky insides that we live and struggle with everyday is kept behind closed doors and fake smiles.
For a while it didn’t appear there was much to be hopeful about. I shared Wake with a few friends who have and continue to support me on my creative journey. One friend, a coach, asked me “what do you want to do with the closed doors” I responded by saying “pull them off their hinges”. This led to the next “movement” of this poem, Arise. However, Little Miss Hopeful is not back, rather this is the response from my spirit. The fundamental struggle we face is not without but within. When we tend to our inner storms we can better weather the outer ones.
There may be more to come as this feels like a conversation with my spirit and I don’t feel the poem is yet done. I have however chosen to publish it as it develops. I hope you find it useful and maybe it will provoke insights for you to explore.
Love and light
Addendum: 3rd July 2018
The poem is indeed developing. The first and second movement when shared with others has created further insights the main one being that nothing we create is our own, it is all a collaboration, a collective expression.
A friend of mine asked after reading the second movement whether I felt responsible in some way to remind others to share their pain. I reflected on this as this did not feel quite right, rather that it was about giving people space to share their pain too openly through sharing my own. And with that, the next movement was triggered.
Often the messages we receive when we follow an intentional spiritual path are about going within, letting go, finding the joy, the middle way and some days those states of being feel very far away. One glance at the media, one phone call from a friend that has a loved one diagnosed with cancer, one message about stabbings, shootings, violations and the darkness tightens its grip. The next movement is my frustration coming to the surface, and the conflict that we can experience with trying to find another way, in my case through creative expression.
Addendum: 9th July 2018
It took longer than expected and it’s almost been a week. Spirit was silent for a while after my third moment but finally today I could hear her clearly enough to catch the words.
The fourth and final movement has been added below. This piece is once again a collective expression, brought into being with the help my very dear friend, poet and writer Sam Shieber. We have been walking side by side during this poetic expression. Parallel paths and strong voices. It seems fitting to conclude this piece with my gratitude to her enduring friendship.
I woke this morning in a world full of pain unsounded
Where doors remain sealed to cries that implode and seep;
With veneer on teeth and skin
Putting best foot forward,
Fresh lips and smooth faces
I walked out into this world where illusion had become currency
Without compassion, memory and sacrifice
Shining metal in pockets,
Shares claimed and staked
Save for more, squander at will
I cried out in this world, all backwards, distorted
Every message opposite to the truth I feel:
Share your fortune, there is plenty
Care, hold up your home high.
Those messages seem lost; their voices a sigh in the thunder of
– buy, take, smile, shout, laugh, deride
Make fun of misery,
Profit from our downfall
I try to survive in this world where success is imprinted;
Where to aim, how to jostle and vie
Through flat starry icons.
Victims of fakery and melted coin
I sleep. Grasping for my world
made of wisps and whispers.
Til I wake, far away from here.
Claw the doors off its hinges
Wash your body in all its sin
Ring a roses with the rawness
Bake mud pies with every whim
Find your silence through the hedges
Greet your soul in reverie
Accept the stillness as it passes
Shine bright your brazen history
Walk slowly through your centre
Careful movement, conscious thought
Dance together opened hearted
Spark the flame within, without
Listen deeply to each others noises
Meet the storm with rooted feet
Wake your soul from its slumber
Live your life reformed, complete
Arise again, my peaceful warrior
Your war within you now undone
Your journey forward, steps enlightened. Love is with you,
But really, is there any point to this?
Singers, artists, writers, poets- we have been shouting out loud for
Passing the flame from one to another, huddling around its light for warmth
Agh, this call and response, is anyone even listening?
Up there? Down here? Anywhere…?
Because I can’t see it. Not clearly enough
The glimpses are teases, then back to that familiar dark
Movements, counter movements, protest and submission
Since we dragged ourselves onto our feet — the same old game
And I am tired. So tired that my bones creak and my lungs rattle
from forming the same patterns of these obvious ages
Yes, the battle inside is without, as above so below
I receive my reminders each day, an alarm screeching in my core
I try to live, like this, I expose and confront, I. Sit.
Yet still I get up and dance to the usual score
I rhyme, then I don’t, creating
spaces where there shouldn’t be any
To express, to digress; to dig and poke
To shake loose: something…
N e w
But back I scramble to the rhythm past-established
Like a good little soldier
And hope I am heard, so the flame carries on
and finds a new heart to hold.
Hear Her calling to you
The Mother of us all
Stand up now and walk with me…
Press down your soles onto her earth
Feel her simple strength. Hear her infinite drum.
Sense the life beneath you, moving, squirming, living, dying. And rebirth
You are part of the great Cycle.
Your breath is my breath, her breath, every breath.
You are the Universe unfolding. Ceaselessly. Patiently. Knowingly.
In perfect time.
Your time is one of peace, in all its aspects.
Hope. Hate. Love. Compassion. Conflict.
She will know the fullness of peace and your part in it.
That is All.
Walk tall amongst the folds. Of enduring time.
Walk true. With a straight back and silent feet.
Sing. Your song and no-one elses.
Open. Live. And Love.