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Forster, A Room with a View. Poets were strong, stronger than warriors or kings — stronger than old hapless gods. And they will be strong once again. When great trees fall in forests, small things recoil into silence, their senses eroded beyond fear. When great souls die, the air around us becomes light, rare, sterile. Our eyes, briefly, see with a hurtful clarity. Our memory, suddenly sharpened, examines, gnaws on kind words unsaid, promised walks never taken.

Great souls die and our reality, bound to them, takes leave of us. Our souls, dependent upon their nurture, now shrink, wizened. Our minds, formed and informed by their radiance, fall away. We are not so much maddened as reduced to the unutterable ignorance of dark, cold caves.

Finding the Words to Say It: The Healing Power of Poetry

And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. Be and be better. This list of words below would largely be used in writing that was intentionally seeking a literary tone. That might be a poem, or if you are writing fiction in the dialogue of a literary character - or even a pretentious one. On the other hand, you may simply want new words for language games, or hope to impress friends and family!

Whatever the reason, the list below will offer literary equivalents for everyday words behold for see ; lightsome for nimble ; dulcify for sweeten , terms relating to Greek mythology Rhadamanthine , Stygian , and words with unexpected meanings crapulent , for example. Archaic words have a charm that never fades away, from French sounding to wondrously mysterious ones.

We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. If you didn't read this poem aloud, do so now. What is your experience of reading this poem? How is it relevant to you? Do you identify with the woman or, perhaps, the husband or the guides or even the gorillas? Can you visualize the images, see the people trekking along, then lying down in the grass? What sounds can you hear? What is the smell of the jungle? What physical sensations do you feel in your body as the poem unfolds? What happens to your breathing when you read the last lines?

How did the transformation that happened at the end of the poem affect you?

Did you have any associations to the poem about a situation in your own life? Whatever your experiences of reading this poem, they are examples of the ways that poetry works. In other words poetry has ways of working that get under our skin, which is to say it has ways to get in. All of my professional life, I have used language embodied in voice as part of my medicine. Whether it was an attempt to talk someone through a traumatic experience or to help them understand the implications of their diagnosis or to aid them in finding the words to write their own stories and poetry, I have encouraged patients to speak and write their truths.

At the same time, I have learned from them. One of the privileges of being clinicians is that we have a place in our patients' lives as they live through experiences that we may have yet to face ourselves. It is becoming more and more common for people dealing with serious illnesses to write and publish their stories and poems as their own healing practice 3 — Many physicians and other health care providers have joined in writing their own personal experiences with illness, death and dying 12 — In my private practice of family psychiatry, I often ask whether my patients do any writing and for what purpose.


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In my work with them, I support their writing and encourage its use whether it is through poetry, journals or personal letters. I encourage bringing the writing in as material for discussion, and I may make suggestions. For example, Writing in the third person gives distance to your voice, so try writing in the first person. I also sometimes gives assignments.

For example, write what you are having difficulty saying, or bring in a poem which is particularly meaningful to you. This can then become a springboard for discussion and exploration. I can't do it all. I can't be all things to all people At all times and under all circumstances. I can't be the one to always change my plans to suit another's. I can't be the one to pick up after others all the time. I can't work all day and stop at the grocery and cook dinner And have it ready by 6: I can't carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.

I need some support, too, and a rest. I can't; can't, can't cantaloupe, can't canticle, can't cantilever, Cantina, cantata, cantankerous, cannon, Canape, canard, candelabra, can… can…, Can I? Can I just do it? Can I do it all? Can I ration my time to allow for my priorities? Can I ask others to share the burdens? Can I refuse this role of superwoman?

I can just say no. Did you experience the change that Carlene went through? Poetry therapy is not only used with individuals. It is frequently used in groups. Shahin Sakhi, a psychiatrist who attended a poetry therapy seminar, told me he had never previously written a poem or any other type of expressive writing. The first words he wrote were I have died so many times in so many ways. I am tired of dying, dying again and again…. It was the first time he had shared this experience. Finding the words to express it was a deeply healing experience for Shahin, and his relief was palpable.

If the group's focus is on a particular theme, for example, cancer, I might use poems that relate directly to the illness. Eileen has breast cancer. The lump was removed last year. It was chemotherapy and radiation for the next six months. She vomited every day. Her hair fell out— First wisps, then tufts, then clumps.

50 Powerful Quotes about Poetry

Her daughter couldn't stand it— She was only thirteen— Seeing her mother pull out her hair. So she grabbed another and another then a clump and out it came. Then they put on music and danced and grabbed hair. They played Chaplin and burlesque. Hitler had a funny moustache. They put sideburns on Jews. Eileen became a billy-goat. They bayed at the moon. When Eileen became bald, they laughed, then they wept. Then the daughter pasted patches in her armpits and a tuft between her legs. I'm a woman now! Up and down the women jumped and screamed until they were exhausted and Eileen's scalp turned red.

Then they laughed and hugged and went to bed. Could you see the images and feel the experience of witnessing the transformation? I want to be the stone and tell how she held me in the palm of her hand rolled me between her fingers slipped me into her mouth tasted my salt tumbled me around. The poems need not be about illness specifically, but might otherwise embody themes that confronts the patients. Twelve years ago, I myself was going through personally difficult times. One of my patients, a 32 year-old woman who was a wife and mother of a 2-year old daughter, died.

At the same time my father was beginning his terminal decline from diabetic multisystem failure, and a friend of mine was dying from a cancer that had metastasized to her brain. In addition, I had recently had reconstructive knee surgery to repair torn ligaments, following which I was disabled for months. I had never written much before except a few poems in earlier times of crisis. I developed ways of writing as my own healing practice, and I listened to the voices of other poets and writers doing the same Our voices are saturated with who we are, embodied in the rhythms, tonal variations, associations, images and other somato-sensory metaphors in addition to the content meaning of the words.

Our voices are embodiments of ourselves, whether written or spoken. It is in times of extremity that we long to find words or hear another human voice letting us know we are not alone. They represent a progression of my experience: I rose in his wake. A dream crossed my eyes— My father lying still in his tub.

I throw my arms around him yelling Daddy, wake up!

50 Powerful Quotes about Poetry | Words Dance Publishing

Bubbles are bursting everywhere. We sit on the bench in the hospital corridor next to the cafeteria, and we wait. You know what waiting is. If you know anything, you know what waiting is. It's not about you. This is about illness and hospitals and life and death.

Learning through Creative Expression of Science Involves Synergy

This is about the smell of the disinfectant that hits you in the head. In the bathroom you look in the mirror. What do you see? Your father's sad face? You catch the water cupped in your thickened hands, splash it on your face, and hope against hope you can wash it away— the aging brown spots, the bags, the swelling truth of waiting— So you go back to that bench. Maybe your mother is there or your wife who is waiting for your father who is waiting for the news from the surgeon or the morphine for the pain or the nurse who cleans bedpans who is waiting for her shift to change while another man's hand clamps white as a claw to a clutch of bed sheets, and you wait.

So you hear the news, and you take the long trip back from LA or Detroit— wherever you're from— and you see the faces of the drivers as they approach you out of the fog, and you see this one: Then, out of the corner of your eye, you see your father's face in the driver's seat of a '49 powder blue Pontiac sedan. The thin sliver of his moonlit profile's smiling, but the nose is too long and it's not really him, and besides he'd never understand anyway— this impatience, this anger, this rage, this love, this fog on the windshield, this never even knowing if it's inside or out— because his whole life was waiting, and what does a fish know of the water or a bird of the air?

So you push the leaden accelerator down and act like you're headed to some small emergency, and you don't give a damn about the cop waiting behind the billboard or death over your left shoulder, and you think you might want to pray, and you do pray, but you don't know what for, and, anyway, you're driving, so you go back to the endless lines of headlights and traffic and exit signs until you get home to see the light flash on your answering machine, but you don't pick it up.

Instead, you go to the bathroom, take a shower, take a piss, pull out a carton of leftover food—anything— but you can't swallow it. So you push the button, and it's your sister's voice, but it's choked, and she can't speak. That's how I learned that the waiting was over, that my life changed forever, that this end was a beginning, but I didn't know for what. I used to think it was death I was waiting for, but that's not what this is. So you show up and do the work and love who you love, and you learn to wait, and if you're lucky, you learn what waiting is and what you have to give.

I dig the earth with my hands, claw stones with my nails, sift ash through my fingers— bone and tooth fragments burned out by morning spread on the ground. The rain washes down the smoldering mass below. Our human flesh the caustic ash now together turn to soap. When I was asked by the minister of a local congregation if I would read my poetry on illness, death and dying as part of their Sunday service, I viewed it as an opportunity to facilitate a community's healing. The congregation had recently sustained a number of deaths, and the minister wanted to facilitate a dialogue among the congregants who were having difficulty talking about the losses.


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After the reading, twenty stayed. A woman in a navy-blue suit spoke first: It was six months after we first found the lump. Between the breast surgeries and the metastases and the strokes, she was gone. My Dad was in coma for weeks.

Introduction

He got agitated and made sounds, but he couldn't talk. The doctors said there wasn't much they could do. I sat on the edge of the bed and held his hand. I couldn't do him any good like that. Then, when I was out of the room, his heart stopped, and I wasn't there. Nine years it's been. I don't think I'll ever forgive myself. He's in a wheelchair…a gunshot wound when he was sixteen.

He takes care of our Mom. He does it all. He washes for her. He's a blessing, he is. I just can't do it. He blames me, but what can I do? Some people just aren't cut out for it. When they're gone, they're gone… nothing more. I work in the movie business. People come and go. We can be close for six months, work together every day, then it's on to the next project. I may never see them again. That's what it was like when my friend Ernie died… like he's out there somewhere, too involved with another project to call.

That's nothing unusual for Ernie.


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  4. People say there's something wrong with me. In the end, she's still gone, no matter how I work it out. I've got children now. I love my wife, but my sister… She was all of our heroes… tall with dark red hair. She drowned going after a ball. I saw her go out, and I heard her yell. When she went under, I saw her. My cancer was removed ten years ago. Between the surgeries and the chemo and the complications, it was all I could do to live day-to-day.