Poetry, My Salvation

Der Mönch am Meer (The Monk by the Sea) (1808–10) by Caspar David Friedrich
The Monk by the Sea by Caspar David Friedrich

I have, throughout my adult life, found myself in the grip of a darkness: a persistent sense of dread and sadness caused by emotional neglect in childhood1. Its devastating effect has been the conviction that I am, at the core of my being, shameful and inadequate, leaving me yearning and striving for a perfection that would prove me worthy.

Whilst I have been labouring desperately and diligently under this self-imposed condemnation, I am at last recognising its destructive power and have, over the past few weeks, begun in earnest to dissect the beliefs that constrain me.

To distance oneself from familiar lies and become acquainted with daunting truths is an emotionally taxing exercise, one that only Art can make bearable, wherefore amidst this ordeal, I continue to work on poetry. Writing verses for this collection is a balm of joy beyond comprehension, dispelling my sorrows, giving me the courage to endure.

  1. “General lack of bonding with children, including disregard, dismissiveness, distancing, misattunement, disassociation, heedlessness, carelessness, oversight, inadvertence, inattention, unconcern, inconsideration or indifference. Ignoring or not communicating with children during periods of separation from them.” – “The Impact of Emotionally Neglecting Children”, Recovery Direct

You know something is central to a poem when you are prepared to rework or sacrifice any other part of the composition to preserve it—when it appears in every variation and has survived every revision.

This, at first, seems an impossible task, for I consider them all to be promising; but over time the shortcomings of each become apparent, and one by one they are discarded until the most succinct variation remains.