I always find myself running to poetry whenever I have some sort of deep hurt. Novels fail me because they are too drawn out and I want a quick remedy. Poetry gets to the point and I have to concentrate on the words to pick out meaning and meter. In this way, it’s a small respite for my sore heart. O how poetic of me.
|Alfred, Lord Tennyson|
So off the book shelf flew T.S. Eliot, Robert Browning, and Victorian poetry. I scrounged through Eliot, but found that although masterful at his craft and a favorite, he was not what the doctor ordered. I then turned to Browning and although he has many poems that would work, I did not feel like scrounging through the dense volume to find something. So onto my Victorian poetry anthology. And it was Tennyson who caught my eye. His ‘In Memoriam’ is a series of poems about his dear friend who passed away. Actually it’s one very long poem made up of 133 cantos. The poem tracks Tennyson’s grief for over a decade. It took him a while to write. It is a beautiful requiem to his friend and one can see the stages of grief he goes through by reading some of the cantos.
I found solace in the cantos. The questioning of fate and God, the acceptance of loss, the anger at loss, the sorrow and hurt all encapsulated in these verses is so lyrical and beautiful that one cannot help but feel they've never known pain in the way Tennyson felt the loss of his friend. Basically, the poem was just the punch I needed to realize my hurt is not great, my pain is not uncommon, but loss is loss and all suffer it in one form or another.
Poetry can be tedious and hard to understand, but poetry is like a shot of alcohol. You don’t pussy foot around; you just get straight to the damned point. The difference being that you have to be able to pick out the meaning of a poem, whereas a shot is pretty self-explanatory.