The Pathos of the Pen

Power of Words

To be a poet doesn’t mean to wallow in misery or to live a cursed life
To never know love or joy or hope, but rather it is to acknowledge and see
Those parts of our lives that give meaning to the height and width and depth
Of the human experience, paying attention to the highs and the lows
Being willing to enter into the swampland of the soul and pitch a tent
Not to live there forever, but to paint a picture with words of the topography
To leave behind a map that others may encounter and to know that they are not alone
Other times it means paying attention to the thin air of the mountaintop experiences
Where tears of joy may blur our vision and exuberance makes it hard to breathe
And for those moments we can look down from above the clouds
Marveling at the world  below us, impervious to others dwelling in the valleys
Being vulnerable enough to open up their lives and their eyes
To allow the pathos of the moment to pour through the pen
Painting with words the emotions and experiences of life
Sometimes the words themselves take on a life of their own
Transforming desolation and despondency into the unyielding flame of hope
Looking back to the experiences of joy, belonging, love and security
Recasting the future through the hopes and dreams long abandoned
And letting it form in the kiln of the moment seen through the eyes of imagination
Perhaps this future will be shattered when it confronts a reality harder than itself
Or perhaps it will be the masterwork that will be admired for generations to come
Yet, either way it was crafted from the same lump of clay that others would pass by
That blue or black medium that is used in the service of day to day communication
Yet, it is in the combination of the pen and paper, pathos and hope and imagination
That the words invite others into the world of the poet’s mind
And in their invocation a portal to another world opens for the reader

 Neil White, 2014

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