All posts by When Poetry Heals

Hello, I'm a Suicide Prevention Advocate utilizing poetry and personal experience of overcoming postpartum depression to inspire beauty from pain. I'm available to talk at schools, hospitals, churches, etc. -wherever someone needs to hear the message, I am more than willing to share.

Love Is…

Love is …my father’s hug

My mother’s kiss on the forehead

My brothers’ teasing  

My sisters’ laughing

My nephews’ playing ball

My nieces’ dancing

My daughter’s tiny ‘lil hands

Love is …memories

Of Sunday morning worship

At the ‘lil gray church

The house we grew up in  

Family dinners at Thanksgiving

Christmas wrapping all over  

The living room floor

Love is …moments

Moments that are simply unforgettable

Like graduation and weddings

The birth of a new addition

Like Charms declaring she’s pregnant with twins

And Ian strutting 28th Street in ‘50s clothing

Moments!

When I recall

I realize I’ve been truly blessed  

My journey is yet complete  

But with God on my side

And the love of family

I will overcome, one trial at a time

Love is …the strength to face tomorrow.


Life lesson learned through personal experience: No family is perfect. We disagree, have miscommunications, don’t speak on a daily basis but when one falls ill the whole gang pulls together and for that I’m grateful. They are the annoying individuals that give you criticism and support all in one sentence. BLESSED.

My Words

Through poetry, I can let my voice be heard

Like an echo from the shade

Or like a drink of lemonade

Quenching the thirst  

Of a hot summer’s day

But it’s only words or is it?

You see, words can kill or give birth

With words …God created the world

In Genesis 1 He said,  

“Let there be light,”

And there was light

So, with words…

With my poetry…

I can preach a sermon that’s never been heard

Speak healing to the body of a sick little girl

I can unveil my destiny

Build a castle out of sand

Turn an egotistic little boy

Into a well-built man

I can say to my mountains,

“Be thou cast into the sea.”

I can imprison…

Or set somebody free

So, Lord let the words of my mouth

And the meditation of my heart

Be acceptable in the sight

For words can cut

And pierce a heart like a knife.

Before I open my mouth,

Enable me to phrase my words right.

That when I speak my words  

Echo

Echo

Love.


Life lesson learned through personal experience: It is possible to create the atmosphere you desire through the words you speak; positive words breathes positive environment.

I Cry

They say, “No woman nuh cry”

Hmmm, …that’s a lie!

So, let me tell you the truth, my dear

Many a night I’ve soaked my pillow with tears

There was a time all I wanted to do was die

So, I gotta stop and testify…

I was trapped in suicidal despair

And those forbidden tears were always there

So yes, women do cry!

There was a time I walked the streets

Looking a home for my child and me

There was no peace when I laid my head

For I turned my back on the grace of heaven  

I walked alone!

Chose to walk alone

Chose to walk away from God’s holy throne

So yes, I cried

I cried life’s bitter tears

Drank from life’s bitter sea

Deception had taken a hold of me…

But when I couldn’t take it anymore  

And all I tried had failed

I got on my knees and repented in prayer

Especially then, my tears were there

I cry!

I cry when dark nights tarry on

And I yearn to glimpse the break of dawn

I cry for the Potter is molding me!

Stretching me!

Refining me!

“No woman nuh cry”

That’s a lie …cause I’m a woman,

And still, I cry.

Life lesson learned through personal experience: regardless of how
dark and dismal the present may appear,  night hours eventually yield and give way to the morning’s dawn. Therefore, don’t succumb to the fear and doubts of today for the very thing you’re afraid of today, you might be grateful for tomorrow.

Mental Health; My Bout with Postpartum Depression

While it is true 70 – 80 percent of women experience what is called “baby blues” only 15 percent of that experience a more severe longer-lasting form of depression called Postpartum or Perinatal Depression; a sadness often symptomized as fear, anxiety and a sense of hopeless. It is this gnawing sense of hopelessness that incurs suicidal and homicidal ideations. I, to my chagrin at the time, was among that  15 percent.

You see, I was of the mindset that such illness was either faked or for the weak of heart. How could I, a strong independent black woman, and Postpartum depression possibly be associated in any way? Yet, as I grew to realize, it was indeed real and we did indeed make acquaintance.

In 2003, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl —not to be overly boastful but she really was beautiful; my 9’2 light-skinned chubby bundle of joy with a head full of hair looked like the kind of baby you’d find on the pages of a “Cute Kids Magazine”. In fact, in January 2009, at the age of six, she wasn’t just on the pages of a magazine; she was gracing the cover of the “The Parent Paper” with a three-page spread on the inside entitled, “Career Counselling For Kids”. Today, she is a Sophmore in high school with a GPA of 3.87 and a leader among her peers. I now have much to be proud of as a mom. However, I wasn’t always proud. There was a time I smiled to hide the void inside me and the tears I cried every moment I thought no one was looking.

I remember the day I felt all the fight in me go out and I decided to end it all for good. I was putting into action my strategy for permanent peace for both my daughter and me by filling the bathtub with water when the phone began ringing incessantly. I remember being completely aggravated at the phone and then,  when I finally picked it up, my response not being the nicest. However, the caller –my sister –was completely unaware. She was too busy crying and informing me of her friend’s desire to attempt suicide. My sister was completely dumbfounded at how a God-fearing woman would be battling with such notions AND I was completely dumbfounded she chose that specific moment to call me and make me aware; after all, I’m the youngest of her seven sisters. She could have called any of us! Yet, she called me.

That call made me realize I was not alone. I wasn’t the only individual in God’s vast universe who felt unworthy of the air expelling from my lungs or like I was completely failing at life. There was someone else feeling the void that was threatening to consume me. That call gave me hope and the inclination to turn off the pipe.  As a suicide prevention advocate, it’s that hope I strive to share with others.

Regardless of how dismal your situation may appear, you are NOT ALONE!

The Legacy for My life

I’m standing her listening to the drip, drip, dropping of the rain

Agonized by planned achievements I’ve yet to attain

Sadly, I acknowledge the feeling of life passing me by

And I question within myself, “What men will say of me when I die?”

Will my biography read:

        Yet to live her dreams,

        Yet to soar to the sky,

        Here upon white satin

        Forever silent visions lie?!

So what’s my legacy? What will I leave behind?

I look deep inside but the answer I still cannot find

Yet somehow, I know

I must leave an impact

Make my life worthwhile

Prove the naysayers wrong

And leave a legacy of pride

But how can I do this?

How can I establish my worth?

How can I let the world know…

There’s divine reason for my birth?

The only talent I’m aware of is manipulation of paper and pen

Putting rhyme to rhythm, can this be the means to my end?

Can I one day write the songs that make the world cry?

Can I one day write an ode to turn a tear to a smile?

Can I one day impact the nation with the lyrics that I write?

Can I one day establish the legacy of my life?

Peace After the Storm

(A dedication to the memory of my father)

With forehead pressed against yours

I focused on your breath,

The rise and fall of your chest.

I inhaled the man that you were  

Will always be…

Dad,

Granddad,

Hero.

We stood there at your bed

Hearts mingled with joy and sorrow

Faces damp with unending tears

Knowing today

the angels would take you away

We listened, Pandora played

An oh so fitting tune,

                    “The storm is over now.

                      No more sickness.

                      The storm is over now.”

And as the song faded

So did your pulse

As the music ended

A miracle took place

You transitioned  

Right before our eyes

So with forehead pressed against yours

I focused on your breath

The rise and fall of your chest

I inhaled the man that you were  

Will always be…

Dad,  

Granddad,

Hero.

                    “The storm is over now”

And there is peace.

Bishop Clarence G. Collins

Clarence G. Collins

1944 – 2012

Called To Kingdom Things

I know you feel I’ve left you

And your world is crashing in

There is a wall before

And a wall behind

Seems your enemy

Has trapped you in

You’re giving up hope

You’re losing ground

You’re tired of waiting for the dawn

But my spirit that lives inside you

Urges you to carry on

I see your tears

I hear your prayers

I feel the pain you feel

But look inside dear

try and see what I see…

For there’s a promise awaiting you

A dream to be fulfilled

You’re a chosen one

You’re called son

Called to Kingdom things

So, though you feel I’ve left you

Hold to my hands

Your sorrow will soon be over

Your joy will soon begin

You’re a chosen one

You’re called son

Called to Kingdom things