How Poetry Saved My Life

Editor’s note: this is a guest post by “83 October” of 83 October.

“A story is a letter the author writes to himself, to tell himself things that he would be unable to discover otherwise”

– Nuria Monfort (The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon)

Poetry

It comes to me as a sound

Sometimes soft as a whisper

Sometimes loud as a scream

Each bearing the weight

of life in its joys and tragedies

Decoded in words, rhythm

Rhyme underneath the ink-stained

Fingers of a poet.

Its meaning

unfolding

As the words fit the invisible

shapes of the incessant speaking

haunting the ears

of its writer—

tirelessly ridding herself

Of the sound

by laying lines

unto paper.

In the string of words,

Bent into the curves

Of an unknown joy

(and sometimes sorrow)

The poet finds herself

Thrown into the being of

These words—

Mirroring a depth

Only revealed to her in its

Final stroke,

In its final line

In the quietness

Of the sound.

For the sound are her muses

Resurfacing from the innermost

Recesses of her soul,

Marrying concrete words

With intangible

Unarticulated abstractions

Laying still

In some forgotten memory,

In some forgotten lifetime,

Waiting

Waiting to be

Remembered and

Called forth into art,

Into the completion of

The poet’s self—

Her truths

Her being

Her poetry.

It comes to me as a sound

Gliding through

The universe,

To the depths of a

Writer’s soul

And to the world

She lives in

Filling in the gaps

Of a story

Long before

Written, buried

Beneath the earth

Buried beneath

Humanity.

In the many pages of Zafon’s book, the quote I mentioned at the beginning was the only quote I pulled out of it. This quote echoed a truth I’ve come to believe in as a writer. In the 15 years I’ve been immersed in poetry, I’ve discovered more about myself and life. Often, I feel my poetry is a marriage of my being and a wisdom that I am fortunate enough to solidify in writing.  Had I not discovered poetry, its magic and mystery 15 years ago, I might not be here. I might not be the person that I am today. Poetry gave me a voice that I may be able to grapple with the abyss that has taken hold of my life.  It allowed me to see the details beyond the monotonous darkness. Through poetry, I discovered beauty. I discovered the satisfaction in creation, and the catharsis of words. Poetry allowed me to confront my life and all the troubles that came with it. Poetry brought me here, to this blog, and to you.

Poetry saved me, and it continues to do so with love and insight. As poetry’s writer, I can only show up each day ready to transcribe her words and share her wisdom to those who might find their story within her.

Thank You, Ollin, for having me here. It’s been a memorable experience.

83 October is a Manila-based blogger who works in marketing during the day, studies psychology in graduate school at night, and blogs in the in-betweens. Sometimes, 83 writes poetry.

Do you feel that poetry or writing saved your life? How? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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15 comments on “How Poetry Saved My Life

  1. Ollin says:

    Thank you 83! I know that my novel has really brought meaning, joy and purpose into my life. And in that way it has saved my life. I’m happy you found poetry and that it can bring you so much joy. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us today.

    • 83October says:

      Hi Ollin,
      Thanks for the opportunity to be able to share my experience with poetry to your readers. Every time I tell people about my experience with poetry, i find that they too share my sentiments. It’s always reassuring.

  2. “Rhyme underneath the ink-stained / Fingers of a poet.” This is a beautiful poem, beautiful post. Thank you for sharing!

    • 83October says:

      Thanks Annie. I was very nervous about writing this post. It was my first time to write as a guest blogger and to a bigger audience. But I’m glad I did. It’s always great to meet people who can relate to your experience and enjoy your poetry.

  3. Conor Ebbs says:

    Hey 83,

    What a striking quote. I can relate. I’ve had a relationship with poems since I was very young; it has been a lantern for me in many labyrinths.

    I love how you say “show up to transcribe her words”. It really does feel that way sometimes; that all you need to do is sit down, breathe deeply, and let her do the writing.

    Thank you for sharing your words.

    Conor

    • 83October says:

      Hi Conor,
      Yes, it does feel that a poem is separate from us, doesn’t it? Like it simply comes to you. I find that those moments of poetry are very intimate.

      What a nice way to put it “a lantern for me in many labyrinths.” I always say, poetry was a gift to me. It came at a perfect time.

    • Tammy McLeod says:

      I really like Conor’s comment about just showing up and letting her do the work. Thanks for writing this and thanks for sharing yourself in such an authentic fashion.

      • 83October says:

        The best thing about being able to share ones experience is to find people who could relate to it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.🙂

  4. fats :) says:

    This is yet another beautiful poem, 83! As I read each word and move from one line to another, I could feel how poetry had shaped your being throughout the years. Testament to the idea that poets are MADE, not born. Yet, it still feels as if you’ve always been born with that gift. =)

    • 83October says:

      Thanks Fats. It had undeniably shaped me into the person that I am today. Partly because it allowed me to be in touch with my inner thoughts and feelings. It’s a gift…whether or not it was given in my conception or when i was older is debatable.😀

  5. Mollie says:

    “the catharsis of words”. So true. Not only is is why I write but is why I read. Thank you 83 for this post. And thank you Ollin for your blog. It has encouraged me tremendously!

    My son is a published writer, if I may brag a little. :-)He loves poetry as well and I’m forwarding this post to him. Here are three of his poems:

    http://www.wordriot.org/template_2.php?ID=1746

    • 83October says:

      HI Mollie,
      Yes, the catharsis in words is an experience of both writer and reader. I am most glad that somehow my experience with poetry is something people could relate to. While there is always hesitation on my part to share my experience with writing, every time i get to do it i discover how the beauty in it.

      I’ve read your son’s poetry. Thanks for sharing.

  6. clarbojahn says:

    As a journal writer since I was fifteen almost forty years ago, I can definitely say writing has saved my life. I write first thing in the morning and often again at night. It’s not for any one but me. It is my best friend and how I process my life. I am in the middle of finding a way to make some of that writing public for the world to see in a memoir or in personal essays.
    I have recently begun to enjoy poetry and this is a good testament to it. Thank you.

    • 83October says:

      Sorry for replying just now. It’s amazing how something seemingly mundane has the power to save us. When i tell some people about writing saving my life they don’t get it. It’s always a wonderful thing to find people who know exactly how this is possible. Thank you for sharing your own experience with writing and i do hope your appreciation for poetry grows.🙂

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