Kundalini Splendor

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Dealing with the Shadow through Poetry 

When I published my book of poetry a few years ago, I included poems of sorrow and pain and well as those of illumination. I was surprised to learn that for some readers, the poems of suffering were among their favorites, for these verses spoke to their own states of feeling.
Certain Tibetan teachings say that one should not skirt around pain, nor deny its existence, but rather one should simply go through it and thereby overcome it.
One of the major advantages of art is that it allows us to do just that--to express our encounters with "the shadow" as well as our moments of exaltation. All of us have times when we feel a bit down, when bliss and delight seem to have vanished from our lives. Some use painting, some music, and some of us release our feelings into poetry. Distinguished poets such as Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath wrote constantly of their pain, their inner emotional distress.
So, recently, when I was feeling a bit "down," I decided to let my thoughts come forth as poetry. The poems which follow are, in part, a reflection of my own feelings at that time, but, since this is after all poetry, I used a bit of poetic license to embroider the images somewhat. And the little period of depression soon vanished (along with the cold which likely brought it on) and I am in good spirits once more.
(I hesitated to put this up at all, since many look to poetry for inspiration and encouragement, and these are, frankly, more down draft than uplift.)
Maiden, Stranger, Mother, Death

you are the dew and the bells of matins,
maiden, stranger, mother, death.


You were the maiden,
just as you had always wanted.
You discovered all of it,
the needy tongue,
the caressing and being caressed,
everywhere was a blessing.

Then your heart got torn out
while you were still alive,
not once,
but many times over.
You never ceased to wonder.


Always you went in
as a stranger.
You found no one
to talk to,
to uncover your secrets.

Even when they seemed
to be listening,
to understand,
their minds wandered,
to some still unexplored topic,
some lost memory or
new fascination.

Finally, you gave up
trying, and succumbed to silence.


You never desired
a child of flesh,
so you crafted one
of the spirit.

Sometimes she seemed to form
in front of you,
like a phantasm
of the imagination,
or else offered herself
as an illusory body,
someone you could
hold and be held by,
someone real.


You didn’t want to delve too deeply
into this cave
of timeless dark
where the unfathomable waited.

There were no reports
from those who returned
from final visits.

The others--the brighter account--
you mistrusted
as being incomplete,
aborted journeys.

And so you waited
in the half light
of your life
till the cycle
came round again.

Dorothy Walters/January 1, 2007

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