chapter  4
26 Pages

Tearing the Darkness Down: Poetry As Therapy

From the time we are conceived in our mother’s womb, we are born to the rhythm of the heart, the movement of step. We grow in the fluid darkness taking nourishment from the placenta, stretching and kicking until one day we work our way into light, a fully formed human being ready to take on life. Already the makings of poetry are part of our nature. With our first cry we make our first poem, with one breath and the next, a sound that reverberates in our mother’s heart and when she cries in response, we hear our first poem. And so it continues, the voices of those who care for us convey all the emotions we will come to know as our own, words that if written down would be

poetry. It is that simple. Poetry is giving sound and rhythm to silence, to darkness, giving it a shape, turning it to light. When we read a poem that can be related with our experiences, there is a shift, a click within. Someone has understood our darkness by naming their own. We feel less alone. When we harness emotion to the page, we understand ourselves better, and eventually others. Therapeutically, the “I” gathers energy and insight. Our world expands (Longo, 2006).