A gaping void
In the beginning
there was before–
now there is after–
A jagged rift
runs through me
marking me for life
despite all things beautiful
that whisper of something better
No path however enticing
takes me back to before
Nor can my fingers find
to mourn the loss
or soothe my aching soul
fade in dying light
longing to shed this dusty self
and be born—
About 4:15 this morning I couldn’t get back to sleep. I wasn’t restless; I was sad about the distance that lies between my life before and after trauma.
I began this blog nearly 4 years ago. It was my first attempt to write openly about my childhood trauma. As a preacher’s daughter, oldest of four daughters, I always put on my happy face.
After beginning the blog, I discovered Emily Dickinson’s poetry. I love reading it, puzzling over it, making connections between her cryptic words and images, and life as I know it.
Yesterday I read an article sent by a friend who follows this blog. The author, a medical doctor who understands trauma, confirms and gives evidence for the strong possibility that Emily was a survivor of childhood trauma. I found her convincing. If you’d like to read the article, here’s a link.
I don’t know all the secrets hidden within Emily’s cryptic poetry. Yet I understand the need to cloak my language so that truth is told slant. Told in ways that don’t implicate others or me, yet invite us to think about ourselves and the worlds in which we live.
The author of the article suggests that writing poetry was Emily’s way of talking about the unspeakable—whatever it was. A way to stay connected to herself when there was no one around to help her, and possibly, no other way out.
The trauma done to me began before I have memories of it. I don’t remember life without it. Writing poetry has become a lifeline to creative sanity instead of depression. It helps me know and accept myself, just the way I am. Hence the poem above, jotted down in its first version at 4:30am this morning.
Thanks, as always, for reading and listening.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 30 September 2017
Photo found at pixabay.com