The Soul of a Poet

Anyone who has known me since elementary school would say I fancy myself a poet. I was published in a couple of anthologies as a teen. I wrote everywhere: in class, at the dinner on napkins, at the bar, in my car and quietly in my room. I have hundreds of poems. Now, I did not say they are the best poems. But it was a means for me to express the mercurial landscape of my inner self. Writing poetry was my soul reaching out to others as I covered the rest of myself with a hard candy shell. We are talking jawbreaker here. Sometimes, my poetry was the only vulnerability I showed to others. It takes work to gain the nickname Ice Queen.

In my mid twenties, I experienced what I can only call a softening. I became a mother and a wife. I lost my husband to another woman and became a single mother. I was broken and open and constantly vulnerable. I did write a little bit during this period, but not nearly as much as I thought I would. I went from being a jawbreaker to that sour cherry candy, soft and chewy with a hint of sour.

Over the years, I have picked up the pen but not consistently. I use to create at least 2 or 3 poems a day, now I am lucky if I do that in a year. I realized I have changed drastically from that hard shelled person. I am happy and content. I love myself, my family and my friends. I feel blessed and actually share my thoughts and feelings with others. As my wonderful 2nd husband says, “You are comfortable in your own skin.” Therefore, poetry does not work in my life anymore, right?

Oh, how wrong I have been all this time. Poetry is the creative blood which makes my soul sing. I have been happy with all these areas of my life, but my creative self has been hidden away. I have not felt completely whole. At first, it just started as a restlessness and was easy to ignore with the hectic life I have lead. I have two boys, a teenagers and a toddler. I was working so hard in Higher Education as the bread winner of the family. I just did not have time to investigate the restlessness. Than a miracle happened. I lost my job.

Now, not many people would say losing my job was a miracle. It was very scary for me. My identity was my work-self. I was a strong capable provider for my family. I was a hard working innovative administrator. I was lost for at least the first 6 to 8 months being unemployed. I desperately looked for work and was devastated after each failed interview. I needed something. I needed a life saver and was recommended a book, the Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss. What an amazing read! It started me on a bit of a spiritual journey. I still look for work, even a year and a half later. Yet, I feel good about who I am and where I am going; most of the time.

A couple of months ago, I realized after all this spiritual growth and meditation I still felt restless. I still did not feel complete, comfortable but not complete. One night when I was drifting off to sleep, I asked for inspiration as to why I was restless and how to fix it. I went to sleep at 10:30 p.m. I was awoken with words flowing through my brain that needed to be written down. I stayed up until 1 a.m. writing, which is really late when you have a toddler. And than I finally knew why I have been restless for the last decade of my live. If I had been working the daily grind, I would of barely noticed this restlessness or just replaced it with something else. I would not of had the time or energy to try and fix it or wander on my spiritual journey. Being a stay-at-home mom this last year has afforded me an opportunity to figure out me. What a glorious gift.

I want to share with you what I wrote that fateful night. It is deeply personal but also helped me realize what part of me I was ignoring and how to integrate it back into myself. Enjoy:

I don’t remember when I wrote the words. I was 8 years old and wrote a poem for my Great Grandma, 2 Grandmas. It was a poem full of love and adoration that only a small child can write with clear abandon. I do not remember giving it to my great grandma. I do not remember seeing her smile and kissing me in thanks. Was it a school assignment? Did I learn to rhyme and want to show off my new skill? I don’t think so. Legend has it that I just wrote it one day sitting at the table. I believe being 8 and writing for fun is a bit strange, maybe even worthy of a family myth.

I do remember when it came back to me. It was a several months after 2 Grandma’s death. I was 16 and her death hit me hard. I did not speak for days, scared of what might come out. My family whispered that I might need “professional” help. I just stared at the soon to be family matriarchs in the funeral home’s restroom with a cigarette dangling from my fingers. No one yelled at me for smoking. Was I really that scary?

The funeral was an entire week after 2 Grandmas’ passing. She was 86 years old and had six children, many grandchildren and a good number of great grandchildren. The funeral became a reunion of sorts. And I would not speak a word. Well, until they lowered her casket in the ground. It was so quiet, everyone obeying the decorum of the moment and I begin to scream. Not the hysterical sobbing one would expect at a moment of great grief. A primal “Nooooooo!!!” burst from me as if I was watching a horrific traffic accident in the making. I ran to the grave looking as if I was to throw myself in the hole. Someone restrained me. My father took me to the car and left me to sob. The next thing I remember, my sister punched me in the arm, “punch bug yellow”.  Mom looked over at me, smiled and said gently,” well, now we know you can speak.”  I laughed. I laughed so hard I believe I was shaking the van and my father, mother and sister joined in, grief fueling the insanity of the moment.

The luncheon was just plain weird. My Great Uncle Kenneth accused me of being a funeral crasher. Numbed from my earlier outburst, I called him blind. Someone else at the table tapped his shoulder, “Ken, this is Linda’s eldest Heather”. “She does look just like her mother.” He responded. And all I can think of is that this family dissolved me into whispers, glares and half hearted smiles while hiding the youngest behind their skirts. I was not a monster. I was pure concentrated grief and not the kind that was contagious.

Several months later, my Great Grandma’s things were divvied out. So and so got this, so and so got that. My Grandmother found something saved with all of 2 Grandma’s very important papers. She handed me this well worn sheet of loose leaf paper with green ink. The title simply said “2 Grandmas”. It sang the virtues of my now departed favorite person in the world through the eyes of an adolescent, signed very carefully, Heather age 8. My world swam. It was my very first poem, the poem of legend. She had kept it all these years. She always understood me the most. I have the soul of a poet.

This late night burst of grief and understanding has lead to this blog. At first I thought I would write a book about my poetry and what was going on in my life when I wrote a particular poem. But now I know this rediscovery of my poetic soul is a journey rather than a destination and blogging is the perfect medium for the journey. I invite you to share this journey with me. Hopefully, I can offer up some inspiration and understanding along the way. I will share my poetry; some from the past and hopefully new stuff. I am planning on sharing the joys and struggles of finding one’s self on a soul level. Let the journey begin.

In Love and Light,



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