Begin Again

Poetry laid back and played dead until this morning. I wasn’t sad or anything, only restless. ~ Alice Walker

A funny thing happened during my hiatus at the beginning of the year. I began to question my need for written poetry–for words and writing in general–until I had convinced myself that I truly didn’t need it, that it was a luxury . . . a fluffy, cloud-chasing time-consumer that distracted me from living a three-dimensional life. Poetry was to be found in the natural world around me, I rationalized, in the act of living itself. I wanted to see if I could live without the words and, instead, focus on the experience.

I say it was funny, but in reality it was rather sad. What I found–and I see this now in retrospect–was that I grew flatter and more isolated; I was living in “3-D”, but without an outlet, I was left living in my own head, trying to process my own thoughts . . .  I wasn’t reading poetry, so I wasn’t reminded that those feelings I had floating around were part of the human condition, and I wasn’t writing, so my feelings remained stuck and repressed, until, I’m convinced, they manifested themselves as illness. I grew ill–physically and mentally–and, ironically, I couldn’t even live the three-dimensional life I had so craved. I was the untethered elephant Stafford had warned us about. I had gotten “lost in the dark,” and I did not “recognize the fact” until much later.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break.

Poetry had laid back and played dead, I thought, but perhaps it was I who had betrayed it by shrugging away. So it was one evening in the midst of a sleepless slumber that I turned once again to poetry–not just any poetry, the very poetry I had shared here. I went back to the beginning, and I began reading, again. And perhaps here’s the funny thing . . . I began to feel better. Some things we can’t explain, they must be taken on faith, but I am convinced that some people simply need poetry–need words–to survive. Or maybe not to survive, but definitely to thrive. I shared with a friend this morning (regarding technical versus creative writing), “It’s like eating rice and beans every single day. It will sustain you, but it won’t fulfill you.” The things I had turned to in lieu of written poetry had kept me alive, but hadn’t kept me healthy. I was surviving, but I certainly wasn’t thriving. But as with anything, balance is key, and that’s what my life had been missing all along.

I know many of you found strength and solace here in these daily poetry and words posts. I know I led you to believe that I would be back sooner than now. I know many of you must have wondered what happened. I imagine one or two of you may have even felt let down by my unexplained absence. I apologize, I hope you can forgive me. I wasn’t well, but I have returned, and I am healing. I have missed poetry. I have missed you.

I may struggle to find that elusive balance for a bit. Posts may be intermittent and unpredictable, but perhaps that can be a good thing. A little spontaneity, a little surprise; I hear they can be chicken soup for the soul.

So what say you?
Shall we begin again?

Let’s.

And where exactly does one begin?

Well at the beginning, of course.

Of course.

And so it is that we return to the beginning. To the very first poem I posted here, to the very poem that first saved my life, to the very poem that saves it again.

*************

“Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

“Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver, Dream Work.

************

I was just guessing
At numbers and figures
Pulling the puzzles apart
Questions of science
Science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart

I’m going back to the start

19 thoughts on “Begin Again

  1. Alvira

    Welcome, as ever. Welcome back. Welcome home. I have missed you. I’m glad you tested your needs and that they tested you in return. Clarification is always a good thing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your words are so accurate. I sought to determine “want” versus “need” and learned, in fact, ”twas both.
      And now we know.
      I’m grateful for the lesson, and grateful to have returned. Much love to you Alvira.

      Like

  2. Just when I was thinking WordPress is a waste of time, you so happily return. I sometimes take long breaks from poetry, but never from literature. I don’t know if I “need” to write, as Rilke suggested, but I’m lost without a book to read. I don’t know what you plan for this site, but just do it at your own pace. Weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly? Only do what’s right for you. Glad to hear from you again!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. “Begin at the beginning – it’s a very fine start. ”
    The sound of music really rings in your words. Thank you for being here – I was needing something other than beans and rice ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. William A. Grimes

    Dear Christina,

    I am delighted by your return. I’m glad you are taking the time you need to find your path. I trust your illnesses give way and you find yourself restored to full health. (Btw, I had a really, really, really miserable cold that lasted forever during your hiatus. I wondered if it would ever go away. Finally it did, but not without much speculation about why it lingered for so long.) So far as I am concerned you owe no apologies.

    For whatever reason, something th

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The human mind can be a treasure or it can be a prison. It’s up to us to take heed of Mary Oliver’s words, and to see the every day as a gift rather than a task.

    To fill each day with the people and places and things that we love is the key. To KNOW love in these people and places and things. . that’s everything.

    Welcome back. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  6. mishedup

    Despair…..
    I know that feeling lately, it’s new and confounding
    and
    “Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.”

    i need to understand that…

    this could not have come at a better time or me.
    i’m glad you’re back

    xooxoox

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I have missed poetry and I have very much missed you. Cayman’s whole comment, just that.

    And this:

    “Words are our hope
    when the darkness sets in

    They bring in the light
    to see again

    Words – create empathic
    connection; weaves songs
    that strike cords – poetic
    verse that fills need – voices
    that wish peace – Words –
    help heal
    uplift
    soothe
    remove doubt”

    ❤ I love you

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Judith Lane

    I missed you very much. I am happy that you are back….and healing. I send you positive energy and thank you for bringing poetry into my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for writing again. Thank you for bringing words back again. Thank you for the beginning, and Thank you for coming back. Thank you for Wild Geese, it saves my life every now and then. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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