September 12, 2008

Poetry Friday: A Crooked Kind of Healing

" I can't tell you how many times my whole self has been saved by one moment of beauty. One string of words. One image. One thing created by another human being that says: you are not alone. I stand with you." - Sara Lewis Holmes

One of the better reasons for blogging is that sometimes you throw out your thoughts into an echoing universe, and behold -- somewhere there's a wall, and something comes back to you -- changed, smarter, and more coherent than anything you might have thought yourself.

This is what happened to me yesterday. I was reminded of something that I already knew, and now I'm holding on to a tiny thread of ...purpose.

When Yeats wrote this poem (which I discovered in a 1927 edition of The Oxford Book of English Verses, which was on the shelf at this lovely B&B where I am taking a mental health break), he wasn't exactly talking about art making the world heal, necessarily, but that's how I'm taking it. I have been reminded why I write, and that's good enough for me.

Where My Books Go, by William Butler Yeats

All the words that I utter,
     And all the words that I write,

Must spread out their wings untiring,
     And never rest in their flight,

Till they come where your sad, sad heart is,
     And sing to you in the night,

Beyond where the waters are moving,
     Storm-darken'd, or starry bright.

Mille graize, Sara.

Poetry Friday is hosted today at the Biblio File, who is reviewing Nikki Giovanni's hip hop poetry book.


Sara said...

As it happens, I've been struggling to find my tiny thread of purpose, too. Is it the time of year that brings out this angst? Or the natural cycle of the writing life? I don't know. But all our tiny threads together weave something that I gratefully grab onto.

jama said...

Thank you so much for this beautiful post, Tanita. Both Sara's quote and the Yeats poem really touched me today.

Anonymous said...

I love this. Thank you.

Tricia said...

We are kindred spirits today, both thinking Yeats, though I'll admit to being more inspired by your selection.

Thanks for sharing his words and yours.

Anonymous said...

Love both the quote and the poem. I'm going to have to copy and keep this poem.

Anonymous said...


I must print that out.

divatobe said...

Gorgeous--I've never read this Yeats before, but it's perfect for this week.

eisha said...

Count me amongst those who, like Sara and like Yeats's sad-hearted reader, have been saved by the right words read at the right time too many times to count. Thanks to you, and to all the writers, who give us the beauty, or the hope, or the reflection of ourselves that we need to keep us going.

Elaine Magliaro said...


Thanks for this Poetry Friday selection. Like Kelly, I think I'll print it off, too.

I have often found comfort and solace in poetry at difficult times in my life.

Karen Edmisten said...

Oh, it's so easy to fall in love with Yeats all over again.

Thanks for a beautiful post and that achingly beautiful poem.

tanita✿davis said...

Sara, I don't know -- I think the strain of this looong election process and the feeling -- for whichever candidate -- that so much hangs on so little -- and does it really matter if I write this novel now, does anything so frivolous matter, in the face of war, storms, floods, death...?

Yet, it does; the world still spins, and young people look outward and grow upward and hope someone understands them.

...maybe not even just young people. I really appreciate everyone's words this week.