Who Speaks? A Valentine Shadow Side

These words were not easy to write. None of us like to be the “kill joy” to others bliss. But as with Mother’s and Father’s Days, Christmas, New Year and so on, Valentine’s Day can be a day of pain for some whom we know. As with those other days, on Valentine’s Day, I’m reminded of the tristesse of those who are widowed, divorced, abused, single and feel isolated and alone. That brings me to the second reason why these words were hard to write. To write them means to see the faces and feel something of the pain of those whom I know and some whom, in my own way, I do actually love. So for them… for those you know…. and for others too… Who speaks?

Who Speaks? A Valentine Shadow Side

Who speaks for

Them who

Visit their valentine in

A sunny graveyard

With memories, sweet memories

Wafting in on the breeze

Across their tear-lined cheeks?

Who speaks for

Those whose valentine

Bolted

Beat or

Cheated

Or still do and

As valentine’s day comes

May feel blue

In heart and flesh?

Who fills the void for

Those who don’t have

A valentine

Didn’t and may not

Feel the presence

Of one

Tomorrow?

Who are their company

On this

Loneliest

Day for them?

Who fills?

Who heals?

Who meets?

The shadow

Of a loving presence

Darkens

Those in absence.

Whence comes the lantern?

Whom shall bear it?

Simon C.J. Falk                   15 February 2021


Another Side of Loneliness or ‘On Living Life to the Full’

Another Side of Loneliness or ‘On Living Life to the Full’

 

Paul Murray, who is a poet, scholar of Christian Spirituality and a Dominican Friar, writes in his book, Scars: Essays, Poems and Meditations on Affliction (Bloomsbury: 2014), on both the gift of our uniqueness and the loneliness that can be felt along with it.  Part of our lives are unique to us alone and others cannot perceive, think and feel exactly the same way that we each do. By the way, I’m fine at the moment.  I just recognise having had this experience before and wondered if others may identify with this in some way.

 

‘On Living Life to the Full’

 

When you heart is empty

And your hands are empty

 

You can take into your hands

The gift of the present

 

You can experience in your heart

The moment in its fullness.

 

***

 

And this you will know,

Though perhaps you may not yet

Understand it,

 

And this you will know:

 

That nothing

Of all you have longed for

Or have sought to hold fast

Can relieve you of your thirst,

Your loneliness,

 

Until you learn

To take in your hands

And raise to your lips

This cup of solitude

This chalice of the void

 

And drain it to the dregs.

 

(All rights to Paul Murray, OP and Bloomsbury Press 2014)

 

Interesting that I had read this, as, in recent times, the author Hannah Kent tweeted on her @HannahFKent account “My favourite new word: Waldeinsamkeit (German, noun). The feeling of being alone in the woods, an easy solitude, connectedness to nature.”

 

I partly covered what Murray is talking about in a closing section to one of my previous posts, “The Great Alone

How do we hold them,

Their damp, dark spirits,

In the fog,

When they realise

That we each

have an alone

that is unique to ourself,

and no other human

can truly dwell

with us

in that beautiful

yet alone

place?

 

Simon C.J. Falk 10 June 2016

Out on the Pier

We all know people who feel alone in the plight of their pain. Some are beset by tragedy.  Some tortured by their own struggle within.  This is dedicated to those people we all know.  It is particularly for those who feel they ‘must keep it together’.  Or, for those who, because of their role, struggle to find the forum where their vulnerability is allowed to be tended.  May they find someone to sit with them ‘on the pier’ and listen to their voice with the honesty of accepting them as they are. 

Out on the Pier

Out

On the pier

Sitting,

Hunched over knees,

Hugging the shins,

As windy rain seethes

Upon the skin,

Smarting, like the rasp of wet sandpaper.

Bottom,

Tensely perched

On the damp, weathered timbers.

The fading light

Of dusk slowly settles

As if taunting a small hope

But washed to a slow fade.

The painful alone,

The unreachable

It wears down

Who can listen?

Who can companion?

On this bleak verge,

This precipice above the foaming frenzy

Of ever blackening waters.

Driven from the inner sanctum,

Away from the competent,

The cocky and the compliant.

Weakness is not appropriate

Except in clinical mode

To designated ‘professional ears’.

Watched by the umm-ing and arrh-ing of superiors.

Can peers perch with us

On this perilous pier?

Logic and decency says they could

But existentially

Can we let them in?

Do we risk weakening them more?

Letting the side down?

Not ‘taking one for the team’?

So,

We sit upon the pier,

Waiting for the weather to change,

Willing the weather to change.

The sun will rise tomorrow.

 

Simon C.J. Falk 11 April 2014