She said I need space to weep,
peace of mind I must keep –
because upon me does grief creep.
And so away to sleep.
In dreams driving to space deep;
climbing mountains of Mars steep;
wanting to reach the stars but my jeep
can’t push to start, won’t give e peep.
So I leap.

I wake up in a heap
counting sheep, bleep;
visions into reality still seep.

What do you do with feelings of grief and longing?

I joined a writing group about 5 weeks ago that was started by a friend. She’d been feeling locked up inside her head during lockdown and so had started writing poetry for the first time in a long time. She found it really helped and wanted to share that with others, so she started a weekly Zoom meeting with various people she knew from various places, but focused around learning new writing techniques and creating words with meaning together.

The poem above was from a session where in part of it we learned about the ‘monorhyme’ style! Clearly, where every line rhymes with just one word. You can skip to below to read the analysis of questions raised by this poem.

To be honest – it’s not my favourite kind of poem. Too… repetitive… But I enjoyed writing it, and I still enjoy reading it, like a whole week later!

I think we all know this feeling of grief creeping in on us, slowly but surely. And so we try to find space, sometimes try to get some sleep. Because we know sleep is good for us, right? And then we’re doing all the things we couldn’t do when we were awake, only to find that even in our dreams we couldn’t reach the eternity we longed for. Then we wake, in that inbetween stage where the grief can’t quite catch back up to us yet, but we know nothing has changed.

A bit of a dismal poem, really. Either that or an unfinished story (I like to believe the latter)! But each one of us has those moments. I guess the questions it leaves us with is where do we go from here? What do we do with the visions we’ve had? Who do we share them with? How do we live differently now knowing what it is we yearn for? Where does our focus now need to lie?

Stay safe, and take care!

RM

You can join the Weighted Words Writing group, or find out more, by contacting the group leader through the Instagram profile @theweightedwordswritinggroup

Poetry Analysis

She said I need space to weep,

“She said” makes it feel like someone is contradicting the need to weep that the person feels. Like, who is she having to say this to? Do they not believe her? Do you feel this way? – that people don’t understand or accept what you need to do. Do you tell them? Do you say it? Or do you just try to forget about it and not feel that need any more?

peace of mind I must keep –

Is peace something we can hold on to? And how do we do that? It it things like the classic ‘self-care’ things: getting good rest, good food, good exercise, being grateful for what we have, taking time to reflect on what is happening around you? What else would you add to this list?

because upon me does grief creep.

The personification of grief here paints an image that in my mind has grief as a cloaked figure, leaning over the protagonist of the poem. Or leaning over me, as I place myself into the story of the poem. If you were to depict grief as a person what would they look like? What mannerisms would they have? What would they do?

And so away to sleep.

This line reads like escape. Have you ever felt the need to escape? What from?

In dreams driving to space deep;

Where do you go in your dreams and how do you get there? For me, driving around, on long roads with fields either side, has been a place of escapeful rest, always. I remember even when I was in school, those moments when I was in the car with my dad, or my family, just resting into my imagination, unable to do homework, or chores, or grand schemes and plans I’d come up with – just space. Maybe that is the idea here. Or maybe it makes you think of something entirely different. That’s ok.

climbing mountains of Mars steep;

Climbing implies effort. Mountains offer new perspectives. Steep reaches high, above other things, closer to the heavens, closer to God. Have you ever been up a mountain? What was it like?

wanting to reach the stars but my jeep
can’t push to start, won’t give a peep.

Even in this dream, even in the imagination, the protagonist (me?) can’t reach what she wants to. Sometimes I feel like this is one of the effects of grief and the products of escapism. When we are just escaping something, we are still unable to reach the heights of what we long for. From experiences I’ve had, I am a strong believer in the idea that we have to really see what it as the core of our difficulty before we can move beyond it. Perhaps like the protagonist in this poem, our dreams reveal to us the true thing we long for. And when we know that, we can reflect on it, dwell on it, and hope in it. As Christians, we can pray for God to guide us there and to show us what it the barrier blocking us from getting there. Do you listen to the reality you dream of? Or the one inside your imagination?

So I leap.

A leap of faith. A leap towards the thing we long for, even though we know we can’t reach it. What do we learn through leaping? Do we get closer? Do we get depressed because we didn’t make it? Do we gain passion to keep trying?

I wake up in a heap
counting sheep, bleep;

These lines start the second stanza. There is a break after leaping. A moment of pause, of closeness, of longing revealed.
Then there is the fall, the descent, the landing in a heap. How do you feel when you’re knocked down? Or when you don’t make it to something you longed for? When the woman is now counting sheep, we’re back in the ordinary. ‘Bleep,’ goes the alarm? The mind clicking back into normal? The noise of a car down the street, or someone’s phone next door? Does it hurt when we’re fall back into the plain old ordinary reality after seeing what it is we truly long for?

visions into reality still seep.

Waking up doesn’t undo the dreams we’ve had. It doesn’t take away the things we’ve seen – at least in this poem. It alludes to those dreams that we rememeber: the longings, the visions, the hopes and aspirations. What vision seeps into your reality still? What can’t you shake? What do you truly long for?

Why not bring your answers to God. God knows grief, and God promises to be the answers to our longings. You can trust and have hope in a God who will never let you down: ask about it. What have you got to lose?