On Joy and Sorrow


I heard this poem today at a funeral I was attending today, and it struck a chord with me.

On Joy and Sorrow
Kahlil Gibran

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

 

lonely-sparrow

I hadn’t thought of it before, but when we feel sorrow it is because we have loved. We cannot experience love and not expect to feel sorrow, and what is life without love?

Please drop me a line in the comments and let me know what you think of this poem.

(PS – more about my four-funerals-in-two-days tomorrow!)

 

 

Memory and Nostalgia Poem


As some of you may already know, I am doing a module of Creative Writing this year with the Open University. I have been writing lots of stuff, but because I will be using some of it in my assignments I can’t publish it on here yet. However, I have also been doing lots of writing for exercise and I have the result of one of those exercises for you today.

The exercise was around memories, and how they can easily become very nostalgic if we’re not careful. We were asked to either write a 250 word prose piece, or a 16 line poem on things that we associate with our personal memories and cultural memories from a particular time in our past. As the point of this module for me is to learn new skills and techniques I deliberately chose to do poetry rather than prose to see how I fared.¬†I did the exercise twice, and my second attempt is better than my first (in my opinion) but I’d like to hear what you have to say if you don’t mind dropping me a line with your feedback please.

I must point out first that “Honey Monster” in the first line refers to a PE teacher at my school, who earned his name because of his physique and his voice. He was a professional water polo player who represented the country for many years, so his arms and shoulders were powerfully built up, whilst his waist and hips remained normal. If you remember the advert for Sugar Puffs then you’ll know what I mean! I hope you get the remaining cultural references too, they point to a particular time and era.

Anyhow, here’s my attempt at “proper” poetry:

Honey Monster bawling at the boys in the yard,
Desperately trying to relive his glory days
Out in the lives of the skinny rats from Blackley,
Cut more from Grange Hill cloth
Than the velvet seed-beds of Footlights Prep.
Girls in mis-matched neon socks
Drooling over George and Andrew.
Who knew they could be so, so wrong
About men with better hair and skin than they?
“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” belting out in June
Feeding kids in Africa became the first bandwaggon
To which to hitch a fading star.
Swear words on the BBC, never heard before.
A tear-stained Michael Buerk, yet another first.
Snogging in the Music Room, a million miles away
From dying kids in Africa: hunger, malaria, thirst.

Please let me know what you think! Thank you.

The Mountain and the Squirrel


A poem for you:

mountain and squirrel

 

 

I love this poem.

It is a life lesson in itself isn’t it? It just proves that everyone has a gift and a talent and everyone has a contribution to make. Thank you Mr Emerson for such a wonderful insight!