I have written poetry now for almost two years, since sitting in a chapel on a retreat for Women Survivors of Abuse. With tears long deserting desire, wounds isolated by a fortress of anger, and love abandoning an empty heart, I, by some miracle, found a piece of myself. I have no explanation for what happened there. All I know is in that chapel, on my knees, with my hands extended to whatever or whoever may desire to help me — words created space within my soul.
Poetry gently placed within this opening a realization: the past can only briefly drain us of all tears, violate the flesh that covers us, and empty our hearts of longing because what lies within, waiting, is a soul that does not belong to time nor being — but to the Lord. It is why I continue to write; it is nourishment; it is the song of my soul. How quickly I can become willing to fill this space with other things — anything to forbid the invasion of vulnerability. And every time I forget to pick up the pen; allowing the Lord to furnish me with a sensible explanation for madness, He sends me this:
Every piece of art, be it religious or secular, be it a painting, a sculpture, a poem or any form of handicraft made by loving skill, is a sign, a symbol, of the inscrutable secret of human existence, of man’s origin and destiny, of the meaning of his life … –an excerpt of the Address at Clonmacnoise, Ireland in 1979 by St. John Paul II.
The above excerpt was a piece of one of my devotionals last night. Here is another:
A poem will focus our attention on a detail of our human experience and delve into its meaning. Imagery and careful choice of words and rhythms give poetry its power to uncover the beauty and significance of every nuance of the human condition. It creates space in the soul for the truth and beauty of God to shine on our minds and hearts … –Seeking First the Kingdom, Father John Bartunek
Does the Lord ever permit us to lose faith, to give up? I think not, if only we allow the sustenance He so willingly provides to nourish us. I have been asked and often criticized for the way I write, what I write, and why I write. Allow me to answer — the way I write (the rhythm) provides a steady cadence to the sporadic beating of a troubled young heart, easing its searching and desire for such a sound.
The words I write, for me, are the tears that never fell. I suppose poetry permits me to write the hidden without actually revealing it — it is the graceful whisper falling upon plagued ears — the beauty in memory’s reality. And, why I write, even when I briefly cannot detect its beauty, is to remind us all that truth lies within because the Lord lives within.
The continued flow of poetry empties into me, and I become once again full. I hope that whatever you find in this poem, be it a meaningful word, a needed rhythm, or a hidden truth, provides comfort. One day, may all the words that I write encompass the beautiful song a soul sings, the words that live beyond circumstance and have but one keeper who breathes life into them — The Lord. May we never cease gasping for His air.
The Song of a Soul
Her body is broken, bruised, and torn;
although he’s careful with the placement of scorn.
Her heart now emptied of love, desire, and hope;
what remains is four chambers tightly closed.
Her tears no longer fall upon a face long stained;
in drought, water only satisfies a gluttonous man.
Oh, misery, you do not know I lie and wait,
for she will soon seek me when leaves this hate.
I sing, within, songs of beauty, devotion, and faith;
I will cleanse her of all when in words she bathes.
Hear me as I sigh for memory’s control;
I am here, and I forever sing the tune of her soul.
Some thirty years later, brokenness bent over a pew.
“Don’t worry,” I sing. “I am here for you.”
“Why,” she asks over and over again.
“I am the piece of you that never belonged to men.”
“I want to be healed,” she cries out loud.
“Yes, I know,” I sing. “Let me be your sound.”
Copyright 2017 Kimberly Nettuno