“Why Bother” by Sean Thomas Dougherty

Because right now there is someone

Out there with

a wound in the exact shape

 of your words.

 

“Why Bother” by Sean Thomas Dougherty from The Second O of Sorrow (BOA Editions Ltd. 2018).


Lisel Mueller wrote:

Still, love is the impulse from which poetry springs. Even dark poems, Especially dark poems. To know the worst and write in spite of that, that must be love. To celebrate what’s on the other side of the darkness. Truly great poetry always sprung from love-in-spite-of, like love for a deeply flawed person.

And if it’s true as [William Carlos] Williams wrote, that people die from lack of what is found in poems, then poetry must not be trivial, peripheral, ivory-towerism as it is often accused of being; then we have a responsibility to speak to and for others. Certainly that means acknowledging suffering. But it also means to heal, to bring delight and hope; It implies consolation. How to console without being false, shallow or sentimental. I find that the hardest challenge.

Words for the Year is returning, at least for now … at least until we get to “the other side of the darkness.” Why bother? Because I cannot get Sean Thomas Dougherty’s words out of my mind. Because you or someone out there has “a wound in the exact shape / of (these) words.” Because right now it’s what I can do.

* Poets and publishers, I ask your lenience if in my haste to publish I may not immediately link to your websites and/or source material. Many of my posts will be from my phone where it is difficult to insert forwarding links; triage, if you will, in my rush to heal and console. I promise to edit posts in the near future to add book and/or bio links.

* Friends, I may be slow to reply to comments and emails. I’ll share more personal thoughts in the days ahead. But for now, please know how much I’ve missed you and how I desperately hope you are safe and healthy. Why bother? Because of you, gentle reader.


“If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.” ~ Barry Lopez, Crow and Weasel

 

 

“The Phoenix Again” by May Sarton (on “Simply Beginning Again” by Christy)

On the ashes of this nest
Love wove with deathly fire
The phoenix takes its rest
Forgetting all desire.

After the flame, a pause,
After the pain, rebirth.
Obeying nature’s laws
The phoenix goes to earth.

You cannot call it old
You cannot call it young.
No phoenix can be told,
This is the end of the song.

It struggles now alone
Against death and self-doubt,
But underneath the bone
The wings are pushing out.

And one cold starry night
Whatever your belief
The phoenix will take flight
Over the seas of grief

To sing her thrilling song
To stars and waves and sky
For neither old nor young
The phoenix does not die.

~ May Sarton via Poetry (December 1987)


It struggles now alone
Against death and self-doubt,
But underneath the bone
The wings are pushing out.

 

I’ve had this poem saved for quite some time. This concept of death and rebirth, of flying above grief, of returning to ground–burned and naked and alone, of nature’s laws, of beginning again . . . even when you know what inevitably lies ahead. The cycle and natural order of everything. Nothing is permanent, yet everything is cyclical, everything returns again, just not exactly the same as it was in the past. The warm nest of inertia, yet the tingling tickling of wings prickling and pushing out.

It was never a question of if I would return. I knew I would. But who would I be when I came back? Exactly who I am supposed to be, right? I knew from my past extended break that I needed poetry in my life, but I also knew that I couldn’t force it or feel guilted into it. It would happen when it was supposed to happen.

I got some bad news in April 2018 and it was enough to snuff my candle for a while. I tried to keep the poetry coming, and I did until July, but I had lost the spark. My heart just wasn’t in it. So I chose to refocus my energy. And then as I settled into a new normal of sorts, my old mistress Poetry came calling… I told her I was done with her, and she said . . . . well, you know. So here we go again, always we begin again.

And one cold starry night
Whatever your belief
The phoenix will take flight
Over the seas of grief

Here’s to taking flight.
Here’s to simply beginning again.
With love, Christy


“Fledgling” by Blues Traveler from Save His Soul 

The earth
Is far below you
Once its prisoner now do you fly
Once just a fledgling now
Do you fly