O Me! O Life! – A Moment of Reflection

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I keep thinking about this poem, today. Robin Williams’ character, John Keating, read it in one of my favorite movies, Dead Poets Society.

I also keep thinking about all of the great artists we’ve lost recently. Writers and actors. Some to depression, some not. All huge losses that have left a profound silence behind.

I’ve explored the relationship between the artist and depression a few times in my blog postings (The Creative Soul and Depression, What Music is Supposed to Do, and With a Little Help from my Friends), trying to better understand this disease that seems more prevalent among our creative communities. I’ve struggled with depression and I know many other writers who’ve voiced the same struggle.

This year, depression left its mark on some loved ones very close and very dear to me. The only thing I know to do for them is to listen.

And listen some more.

Maybe throw in a few dozen hugs just for the hell of it. Anything to tell them that I know this sucks, that I love them, appreciate them, and that I’m in this with them for the long haul. I hope if you’re struggling with depression that you find someone to listen to you. Please don’t stop until you do.

I leave you with the words of Walt Whitman, which, if you’re anything like me, you’ll hear in your head read in the voice of  John Keating.

O Captain, my Captain! We will all miss you, dearly.

O Me! O Life!

O me! O life! of the questions of these recurring,

Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,

Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I,

            and who more faithless?)

Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle

             ever renew’d,

Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and the sordid crowds I see

            around me,

Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me inter-

           twined,

The question, O me! so sad, recurring – What good amid these, O me,

             O life?

                                                  Answer

That you were here – that life exists and identity,

That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

– Walt Whitman

We Interrupt This Silence for a Moment of Silence…

I lost one of my mother figures recently and it has been a slow process of mourning to regain my footing. I say one of my mother figures because my own mother isn’t in the picture; I need as many positive mother figures in my life to fill that vast and empty void as I can get. One is now missing and it has thrown my planets out of alignment. Everything is still rotating and revolving in my universe, just more wobbly than normal, trying to compensate for the hole, the empty space.

I promise to get back to regular posting soon, but for now I leave you with a poem that breaks my heart every time I read it.

There Are Four Wounds, Miguel

by E.A. Mares

The sand hill cranes rise, wheel

and turn above the Rio Grande. Their wings

flash in the sun and their wavering V

floats north and then is gone.

There is a fourth wound, Miguel,

the silence these birds leave in their wake.

The tree house in my father’s cottonwood

warps into something like a photograph

left too long in the sun.

all children having grown and gone.

There is a fourth wound, Miguel,

the silence of the tree house planks.

Once I saw a guitar burnt and blackened by fire.

The strings were gone, the bridge destroyed,

the neck and body only dark shadows.

There is a fourth wound, Miguel,

a silence where once there was music.

One by one the days slip into history,

and where there was a voice

there are only documents, evidence

that my daughter once walked this land.

Now she leaves footprints only in memory.

There are fours wounds, Miguel,

the wound of life,

the wound of love,

the wound of death,

the wound of silence.