Monday, February 15, 2010

Sending Loving Kindness to Myself... Circa 1992

Moonday.  Just after the new moon, the start of the year of the Tiger, Valentine's and V day.

I feel the pull to turn inward, retreat.  After some powerful healing work this week with my Dancemeditation community, I'm standing very close to a young me.  Fifteen.  She is full of self-hatred worn like thick dragon-scaled armor.  She loves Rilke and the Bronte's.  She likes to sit on the jagged brown outcroppings and stare at the roiling river, especially because she's not supposed to be there.  Her chest is sunken.  Suicide seems romantic.  There are bars in her eyes.  Her voice sounds shrill and brittle in her head.

Books are rafts.  Dogs are guardian angels.  Nature is Mother. Those things haven't changed.  This is a poem she loves. Today I send her my love, laughter, and I'm listening.

The night is darkening round me
The wild winds coldly blow
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot cannot go

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow
And the storm is fast descending
And yet I cannot go

Clouds beyond clouds above me
Wastes beyond wastes below
But nothing drear can move me
I will not cannot go

O mother I am not regretting
To leave this wretched world below
If there be nothing but forgetting
In that dark land to which I go

Yet though tis wretched now to languish
Deceived and tired and hopeless here
No heart can quite repress the anguish
Of leaving things that once were dear

--Emily Bronte

(It goes on and on like that.)

If you have a poem, song lyrics, an image, or a thought that a younger self who could use a little TLC might enjoy, I'd love it if you'd share it in the comments, or any other Moonday artistry.


Sandi Longhurst said...

Beautiful idea... to personal to post only though it has been bubbling in me today. Thank you.

rutherv said...

Hi Kate,
I think your younger self and my younger self would have been friends :)
My favorite poem at 15 was Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade," - reading it again now, all these years later, I realize, it's actually not that great of a poem - kind of cliched and highly melodramatic - but at 15, it gave me a shiver up my spine every time I recited it. It's a very "teenage" poem, I think - about courage, courage in the face of gross injustice, violence and nihilism.
Those were such painful years. Poetry is what got me through them, I think. I empathized so much back then with those soldiers in Tennyson's poem; so many days of high school felt like being
"stormed at with shot and shell
...Into the jaws of death
into the mouth of hell..."
I didn't understand why any of it was happening, what these years of my life were for?
"...Theirs was not to make reply
Theirs was not to question why
Theirs was but to do and die
Into the Valley of Death
Rode the six hundred."
I wish my 15 year old self could have seen my self now, and known that actually everything was going to turn out ok. I wish I could give that scared 15 year old a hug.
And I wonder what my future self, 11 years down the road age 37, would say to me now?

P.S I'm still going strong with the Poetry Challenge - 15 Days, 15 Poems!
I totally related to your Saturday post about "bad" poems - having to write a poem a day, it's almost a guarantee that some of them (all of them?) will be "bad" in the eyes of the inner critic.
Letting myself gleefully write "badly" has been one of the most liberating things I've done in a while. Speaking of bad poems, the latter one I'm posting here seems like it was written by a 15 year old! I think the point of this "challenge" is that, if you write enough, eventually the inner critic shuts up. So here are my "bad poems" - two, very different, Valentine's Day poems. (I think you'll recognize the first one :)
In homage to my 15 year old self:

The Love Spell

Six witches, and a merry old man
gather around a coffee table
It brims with bags of coco powder, raw honey,
pumpkin seeds and powdered rose,
maca and ashwaganda
These are our eyes of newt
Our tongues of frog.
I massage the contents of my small plastic cauldron
Kneeding the coconut butter
Like adult Play-doh
my fingers sensuously sticky
Licking drips of succulence
All the way down my arm.

So this is love, eh?
There's no recipe to follow.
You don't know how it's going
to turn out.
It's sticky
And it's messy
And it's delicious.

Lilith's Love Song

I slither through the keyhole
of the bedroom door
Winding up the post
Of the four post bed
Lying on my belly
On the monk's hard pallet
He pulls the coverlet over his head
But still he can feel my wolf-blue eyes
Starring him down, even in sleep.

He tells himself I was but a dream
And then he feels the warm place
Left beside him on the bed
In the shape of my coiled body
The sequins strewn by my tail
Gleaming darkly among his sheets
And the bite mark pink on his neck
Like the mark left behind by the thrush
It itches him through his prayers

I am the kind of love
from which maidens pray to be saved
Give me your candy hearts
Your heart-shaped doilies
Your Hallmark cards
I'll set them ablaze
In my uncontrollable bonfire
My heart is real, blue, bloody
And thumping with life.

Kate T.W. said...

Ruth... love your poems. Not even remotely can they be put in the category of bad, unless your inner critic has very bad eyesight, which I think she must. Yup, the poem a day challenge for me is about getting past that inner critic, or to paraphrase Anne Lamott, to slip the papers under the door of the prison.

Our teenage selves would have had some seriously melodramatic fun.
I happen to love Charge of the Light Brigade, coming from a British military background. Its one of my mother's most quoted poems.

Sandi... I love your bubbling...