Living as I do now in this ‘Writer’s World’ has changed my life irrevocably. Until now, I had never really paid much attention to the way I used to write when I was younger, how the need to furiously scribble down words would overcome me at the most unusual times and when I least expected it. How, when this happened, I was utterly compelled to write these words down, I had no choice in the matter.
It all seemed so natural to me but I kept it quiet.
This was something I did quite prolifically as a teenager into my early twenties and then I was immersed into the world of full-time motherhood, my joy, and although there were times over the following twenty years or so when I felt this same urge to write, they became fewer and fewer.
Back then, my writing consisted mainly of keeping journals (although these would have huge gaps in them, sometimes years at a time never mind a day or two) and, when I lived away from my family in America, of pouring my heart out in letters written to my mum on great reams of delicate, pale-blue airmail paper. I still have many of these letters and the letters my mum wrote back to me.
In later years, these letters turned into rambling emails, but I never thought to print them off…
In writing my posts and sharing memories from my own childhood as well as those of my children and the different experiences we have shared, I have recently been thinking even more about my early life. My childhood seemed good to me for the first ten years of my life when my family was happy, to me at least, with my mum, dad and brother.
Then it was all ripped away.
However, this isn’t about blame or bitterness or recrimination. Goodness knows, it was a long time ago and I am truly thankful that I have my wonderful family’s blessing to write about these things because they know that I write about them only to work out some kind of inner turmoil that raises its ugly head from deep within me from time to time and which I need to share.
By sharing these things, by laying my heart bare here, I realise that I am finding my way back to the person that I once thought was so very lost.
That proverbial rug has been pulled out from under me so many times in life that I wonder if this is why I have always felt that I never really belonged, or that I fit in, or that I was part of the crowd. Always on the outside looking in and wondering why I felt so different and alone.
This surprises those who know me because I love nothing better than a great party, being with family and friends and enjoying the world around me. A childlike wonderment of the simple beauty of life has never left me so that I think that perhaps a part of me never really grew up. I am still that little girl who likes to write my name in the sky with sparklers on Bonfire Night and make up silly dances given half the chance.
Yet, there is a darkness about me that lives quietly by my side, walking in my shadow, saying nothing yet whispering constantly. It compels me, draws me, ushers me into its familiar and strangely comforting world.
It is there that I find the key to my writing.
It is there that I am able to unlock the dam so that the torrent of words are at last set free to tumble over my walls of doubt, soaking everything in its wake yet giving rise to what has, until now, laid silent and still, buried in the silt, hidden but not forgotten.
It is by entering this dark world that I can find my way out again, back to the light, back to the goodness of life, of God, of you.
An old friend has returned to me – the compulsion to write poetry once again. It might be rubbish for all I know, but it is what I need to write and because of you, dear friends, reading this, for whom I am ever thankful, that I feel confident to share it. There are rules, how-tos, how-not-tos, how to be successful, or not, as the case may be.
All I know is that sometimes, when you take everything else away, all you can do is follow your heart and let the words flow.
This is how writing has changed me.
I wrote this poem, which I called ‘The Power’, one night last week right before going to bed when I had a few things on my mind but I was certainly not thinking about my childhood when I wrote it. That old feeling of being compelled to write wouldn’t let me go. Besides, my husband urged me to publish it here, so you can blame him.
Thank you so much for allowing me the freedom to be the real me, the writer who now resides in this new ‘Writer’s World’ with you.
So then, here we go.
This is not what we wanted after all.
In a moment of madness
When I loved you in a smile
Desperation killed the hour,
Stole the dream.
Ran a mile.
What was it you really wanted?
Did you mean for me to die?
Better, my dear,
That you pull the trigger
Than hang me out to dry.
Curse the growing darkness
When I awake in black of grief.
In but one moment of madness
When I believed you were my all
As you lay so still beside me,
Wrapped up in lies.
A mocking thief.
Can the second tick into
A single minute of my time
When you stole the very essence
Of the life you said was mine?
As you ripped me bare and laid me
Naked, on your cross
sacrificing the very trust,
Never pausing to count the cost.
Shred me on your altar
Of a self-deluded dream
Plunge your knife in deep and good
Cast me out into the hard, cold night
Don the executioner’s hood.
Pass the sentence.
Wield the axe.
Send me to solitary and melt the key.
Strip me of all I am
Do all you want.
Then bury me.
Yet remember this, my love,
When you dream your witch’s spell;
As you enter the abyss,
When you walk into your Hell.
Put on your shallow make-up
To paint away your face.
Enshroud your pretty body
As you burn my long embrace
In the flames of your desire,
Yet not for me, but they –
They who bow down and worship you
In all your glory-be.
Yes, remember this, my love,
In your final worship hour –
You will never see my face again
For it is I who owns your power.
For it is I who owns your power.
(c) Sherri Matthews 2013