The Healing Powers of Poetry
Luiza L Furtado / DivaState
Why do I write poetry?
2017 was a difficult, yet transformative year. I fell into a deep depression. I suffered from emotional and professional burnout. As a result, I experienced a loss of meaning, feeling dead inside. I saw no reason to live. Yet, I did not care enough to do anything about it. I did try to find enjoyment in life, but…nothing. I learned, for the first time, what the term “anhedonia” meant: “lack of pleasure or of the capacity to experience it.”, according to dictionary.com.
I first came into contact with poetry, when I was a teenager. I read and wrote for a few years, before turning into an adult and neglecting my artistic side in favour – or not – of ordinary responsibilities.
Someone very dear to me, who came into my life and left, so swiftly, introduced me to the poetry of Ted Hughes, specifically O’Littleblood. Dealing with this loss, sparked something within and I started writing poetry as a form of therapy, journaling and transcendence.
Poetry enables me to communicate with both sides of my brain. I utilise the rational and emotional side, when writing. I get my most messed up thoughts and put it on paper and when I finish, the feeling experienced is always positive. That is when self-therapy occurs. How can a bad situation turn into such soothing rhymes? Only through poetry and music. At least, that is how it is for me. Poetry enables you to access part of your unconscious, through imageries and metaphors. Many times, I write intuitively, I have no idea where the lines will lead me. One line propels another and sometimes I am surprised by what comes. More often than not, rhymes come as I walk or cycle, which prompts me to pull out my phone and write them down, before they slip out of sight.
Poetry has not only become a tool for individual healing but, likewise, on the social level. It helps others relate and better understand what they are going through. It aids, both the author and reader in feeling less lonely and ostracised in their suffering. Such a magical encounter, resulting from feeling understood, can be transformative.
As humans, we create stories in our heads. Being able to write them down, gives space for new, more positive stories to be formed in my head, then. It allows for self-reflection, self-awareness and it has become my favourite pass time. Now, I gladly spend time with myself, trying to find the right words that fit the meaning to be conveyed on the lines that I create.
I find myself amazed, that in the age of social media, while some people wish to portray their “perfect” life and their “perfect” airbrushed face, many of us are relating through poetry and storytelling, by sharing our sorrows and struggles and by supporting one other in this road. We chose to show our dark, hidden, but human side. Yes, social media may have changed the way we establish relationships but it can be used in our favour. I have made many deep connections online. It does not matter how does one look, how much money is in their wallet, where do they come from. Through poetry we speak from our souls, thus, achieving a more compassionate way of living. Poetry is, then, also a breeding ground for the acceptance of our true selves, leading me to think, it is possible to dream of a place where, through the expression of our darkness and authentic connections we promote peace, while illuminating the world.
A poem I wrote about how poetry helps you work through your pain:
Birth of Words, Death of Pain
Poetry, oh poetry, please come to be
Speak my sorrows of desperation
Because I can’t stop grinding my teeth.
Take my pain and mould it
Stain it, like blood on paper,
Don’t let me hold it.
How come no one thinks it’s ironic
That such devastation and bluntness
Can sound so darn harmonic?!
Who knew, an ugly duckling
Into beautiful art
Could end up turning.
Fly wingless bird, don’t you return!
Whisper these words in The King’s ear
Even despite his unconcern.
Art is the language we use when we want to share
That is why no one’s language can compare
We produce our pitfalls and dreams
We talk mystically…
….and we connect
Luiza, died Brazilian — born again Irish Poet. Writes dark poetry, confessional poetry and existential poetry.
Luiza can be followed at:
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