At its best, poetry has a power to speak from heart to heart. I was reminded of this a while ago in an email from a friend, Ronald Nugent.
Ron, a Christian pastor who has struggled with depression, made the following comment (which I share with his permission) about one of my poems:
I was deeply touched a few days ago by the poem “Healing”. Not only is it superbly constructed, but it describes so beautifully my own experience of depression. When I read the words, “With the gold of his blood he spins / fine silk, weaves a mantle for the faint to wear,” I was moved to tears. Thank you.
The poem Ron refers to is a set of three, interlocking sonnets I wrote in a time of sorrow and aching. I offer it here in the hope that it might either heal an ache or awaken one.
There comes a time when longing fills the soul.
Shapes lose their power on the mind
and to the bright of colour the eye is blind.
Strangely, without warning, we are no longer whole
and all things are gone beyond our control.
In the subtlety of sound the ear can find
no euphony; and the heart, inclined
to sadness, in everything finds nothing to extol.
It is as if too long and too far from home
we have journeyed without thinking
of arrival—and standing finally alone
at the water’s edge with the last light winking,
we find all things tinged with tragedy,
like the sun sinking down to the sea.
The sun sinking down to the sea,
magenta and majestic in his splendour,
appears powerless to prevent the plunder
of night. Rise up! Look on us and let us see!
But he is gone. Will he ever again be free?
He stood for a moment on the water
then was swallowed up, seemingly forever.
Who are we to have seen this? Oh, who are we?
Yet still we stand in the darkness waiting
for something to happen, for something more.
The moon is ill and the stars fall fainting
while the waves wash muted on our shore.
The brush of night tars the troubled air
and the heart’s longing turns to despair.
The heart’s longing turns to despair
and all seems dark and death within.
Yet in the din of defeat the voice of victory rings,
peals out the promise of our Creator’s care.
There begins in our being the flare
of dawn: the Sun rising with healing in his wings.
With the gold of his blood he spins
fine silk, weaves a mantle for the faint to wear.
All things again are new and bright,
from the great to the least, the comely to the plain,
each in its own way is clothed with light.
In passing loss is permanent gain.
Hence, that if it will it might be whole,
there comes a time when longing fills the soul.