Writing Poetry: A Healing Practice
Have you ever tried writing poetry when struggling as a patient or the caregiver of a loved one? Writing a poem can feel like a meditative practice. You slow down, consider your thoughts, and ponder topics for your poem. Your mind can wander over territories well-known and those unknown. You explore questions like: Why am I in this place? How will I move from denial to acceptance? Or, will I ever reclaim my life? Along the way you may uncover thoughts previously unknown. Poetry opens a door to vast possibilities for self-expression.
After my daughter Elizabeth died from a rare bone cancer at the age of fourteen, poetry sprang forth from me. Unplanned, unrehearsed, unnerving at times. As I read my journal entries written during Elizabeth’s yearlong illness, I knew that somehow, I had to process my pain, my anger, my devastation.
With pen in hand, I delved deep into foreign lands. Overtime, I discovered that drawing metaphors with the natural world allowed me to open up but not feel too vulnerable, to take risks, and to unfurl tightly held emotions.
I’d like to share a poem that I wrote. I hope that after reading my poem, you might consider picking up your pen and writing one, too.
Waves of Life
Snow follows a day of sun;
Cold follows a day of warmth;
Pain follows a day of joy.
I have learned that I will never know
what the next day will hold,
but I am no longer afraid of this uncertainty.
Changes are the waves of life—
we will not know their strength,
or how hard the waves will hit the beach,
but they will flow in each day and night,
ever changing, ever free.
If we can learn one vital truth,
we will be set free:
Life constantly changes but we are never alone,
the earth is under us,
the waves break before us,
the moon shines upon us,
family and friends comfort us,
and the one who has left us,
encircles us with love.
© Facing Into the Wind by Faith Fuller Wilcox