In the last year or so I have regained a love of poetry – I used to love reading and writing poems when I was a child and an adolescent, but it has taken the menopause for me to rediscover this quiet love…. As a child I used to love reading the poems at school that we were asked to learn and as an adolescent I used to like writing poetry as a way of addressing mental health issues, although I didn’t know that was what I was doing at the time, I just knew it worked.
The psychologist and researcher Pennebaker devoted most of his working life to researching how writing down our emotions not only helps our mental health, but also our physical health too! And I am not the only middle-aged woman to find nurture in this type of literature. My friend Tracey also started writing moems on Facebook and Instagram recently, which are poems which can include a bit of moaning about the recent crisis. However I have most recently found solace in a poet called Gideon Heugh who works for Tearfund. Here is one of his recent ones:
We’d been locked down
for as long as we could remember,
trapped behind the bars of our
ambition, our busyness,
our need to be productive.
We’d been driven mad
by the isolation,
stuck in the cells of our selves,
emaciated by comfort,
powerless against the claustrophobia
of a world obsessed with more.
Who knew it would take an outbreak
to break us out?
Who knew it would take keeping our distance
for us to see how closely we’re connected?
Who knew it would take having nothing to do
for us to know the importance of doing nothing?
Who knew that it would take a tragedy
for us to rediscover joy?
Who knew it would take all this despair
for us to hold more tightly to hope?
Who knew it would take being so close to death
for us to come back to life?
Who knew it would take the loss of our freedom
for love to be set free?