POETRY AS GRIEF THERAPY

 

by Cay Randall-May, Ph.D., the Healer Who Creates

    On May l, 2010, I attended a Survivors of Suicide (SOS) conference held in Phoenix, Arizona, facilitated by Stuart Smith of The Link Counseling Center in Atlanta, Georgia.  As part of his all-day presentation, Smith led the group of approximately 100 participants in an exercise intended to help us process our grief through poetry. 

    He directed us to write down words at random while listening to a brief selection of semi-classical music.  When the music stopped and each person had a list of words, he suggested that we form them together into a poem. 

    Several people volunteered to read their poems to the group.  They presented a range of  iambic pentameter, free verse, loose association prose poems.  Each poet had heard the same music but responded from their depths to craft a uniquely healing composition. 

    Here is mine created in that very brief period.  It’s a fragment, not polished, but an example of how the ‘creative response’ which I describe in my book, “Healing and the Creative Response” (Brooks Goldmann Publ., 2010) can be used.

Through window framed

by frosty moonlight

silver sails seek safe harbor

against restless surf.

Over a kaleidoscope of  slick stones

I stumble through shimmering dunes

With shredded maroon velvet hem

Cascading through memories’ dream prism.

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