Guest aoife

Healing Poetry

59 posts in this topic

Hey all

A new thread for healing poems. Thanks Cookie for the suggestion.



(Edited by aoife at 3:35 pm on Feb. 15, 2002)

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Aoife.. great idea :biggrin:

i have several 'poem-type-things i'd love to share, so sorry if i inundate this thread for a while..... ((huggles))

                To a Wounded Angel

You're so brave, so strong, so beautiful, and you can fly so high. I'm so often in awe of you, did you know that? And believe me when I say to you now that I value you every bit as much when you're stooping as when you soar. Right now, settled on the ground, with your wings folded down around you, I think I love you even more.

Everything happens for a reason good people have told you, and you've done your very best to believe them. This philosophy offers such comfort and peace. And in retrospect, when looking back upon my own life, for the most part, it rings true. So much that was painful or disappointing later proved to serve me. And I know with all of my heart that your own hurt will serve you. But I can't offer up that everything happens for a reason to you. My throat closes around those words the moment they occur to me, and bitterness rises up to meet them.

How can there possibly be a reason for women to be tortured physically, sexually, emotionally or spiritually? There is no reason. And I've long since given up my quest to acquire one. I refuse to tell you that the devastation that you suffered happened for a reason. What acceptable reason could there possibly be?

As an advocate, I've looked into too many pain filled eyes. Eyes that reflect a tortured experience, eyes that ask why? WHY? And you know what? There never was a why that I found acceptable. Not a single explanation that was ever good enough for me.

And so my tired angel, I come to you emptied of answers. I can't take away your WHY and replace it with an explanation. I wish I could. I want so very much to take your pain away.

Because I cannot take away, I come to you with a modest offering. One so small, that I'm humbled as I hold it out to you. It's a small stone with one word engraved upon its surface. The word is AND.

You were hurt very badly AND yet in spite of the hurt, you've grown. You were deeply wounded AND still you survived. You were exposed to the worst in human behavior AND yet you've always tried to give your best. Your voice was silenced AND still you've heard and responded to the pain of others. You were touched by evil AND you've chosen to embrace goodness. You were betrayed AND still you seek to trust. You've been vulnerable and exposed AND still you've sheltered lost souls with your wings. Your agony can't be denied, but neither my precious friend can all of the AND's that are contained within you. They too have shaped you, and even as your pain has left you grounded, they surely make up the magic that will lead you once again to fly. Take them with you.

Tammie Fowles, LISW, Ph.D.

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OK, sorry.. here's for #2  :biggrin:

                           When You Feel You Can't Go On

I'm sorry that you're hurting so desperately right now. I know how painful the seconds, and minutes, and days can be, how long the nights are. I understand how very hard hanging on is, and how much courage it takes.

I ask though that you hold onto one day at a time. Just one day, and slowly this despair will pass. The feelings you fear you're trapped in will serve their purpose, and then fade away. Difficult to imagine isn't it? Almost impossible to believe when every cell in your body it seems cries out in agony, desperately in need of comfort. When it feels like the only thing in the whole world that can touch your pain and banish it is beyond your grasp. And after all this time, the assurance that you will heal has become an empty, broken promise.

Just let one tiny cell in your body continue to believe in the promise of healing. Just one. You can surrender every other cell to your despair. Just that one little cell of faith that you can heal and be whole again is enough to keep you going, is enough to lead you through the darkness. Although it can't banish your suffering, it can sustain you until the time comes for you to let your pain go. And the letting go can only occur in it's own time, as much as we would like to push the pain away forever.

Hold on. Hold on to appreciate the beauty of the earth, to feel the songs of the birds in your heart, to learn and to teach, to laugh a genuine laugh, to dance on the beach, to rest peacefully, to experience contentment, to want to be no other place but in the here and now, to trust in yourself, and to trust your life.

Hold on because it's worth the terrible waiting. Hold on because you are worthy. Hold on because the wisdom that will follow you out of this darkness will be a tremendous gift. Hold on because you have so much love and joy waiting to be experienced. Hold on because life is precious, even though it can bring terrible losses. Hold on because there is so much that you can't now imagine waiting ahead on your journey - a destiny that only you can fulfill. Hold on although your exhausted and your grasp is shaky, and you want more than anything to let go sometimes, hold on even though. Please hold on.

So much in life can be difficult, even impossible to understand. I know, I know... So many of us have cried in despair, why? why? why? and still the answers and the comfort failed to show. Survival can be a long and lonely road, in spite of all those who've stumbled down the path before you. And it can be a treacherous, torturous journey - so easy to get lost, and yet impossible to avoid even one painful step.

And the light, the light at the end of the dark tunnel for so long cannot be seen, although eventually you'll begin to feel its' warmth as you move forward. And forward you must move in order to get through the #### of remembering, of despair, of rage, of grief. Keep looking forward please. Rest if you must, doubt your ability to survive the journey if you have to, but never let go of the guide ropes, although when you close your fingers around them, your hands feel empty, they are there. Please trust me, they are there.

When you're exhausted, when all you have to count on is a weakened, weary faith, hold on. When you think you want to die, hold on until you recognize that it's not death you seek, but for the pain to go away. Hold on, because this darkness will surely fade away. Hold on. Please hold on.

Tammie Byram Fowles, LISW, Ph.D

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OK, just *one* last one, then i'll leave you all alone!! lol This is my favourite one....... (((more huggles))

                 MY DECLARATION OF SELF-ESTEEM - Virginia Satir  

I am me.

In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. There are persons who have some parts like me, but no one adds up exactly like me. Therefore, everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone choose it.

I own everything about me - my body, including everything it does; my mind, including all my thoughts and ideas; my eyes, including the images of all they behold; my feelings, whatever they might be anger, joy, frustration, love, disappointment, excitement; my mouth, and all the words that come out of it, polite, sweet or rough, correct or incorrect; my voice, loud or soft; and all my actions, whether they be to others or myself.

I own my own fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears.

I own all my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes.

Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with me in all my parts. I can then make it possible for all of me to work in my best interests.

I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know. But as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for the solutions to the puzzles and for ways to find out more about me.

However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is me.

This is authentic and represents where I am at that moment in time.

When I review later how I looked and sounded, what I said and did, and how I thought and felt, some parts may turn out to be unfitting. I can discard that which is unfitting, and keep that which proved fitting, and invent something new for that which I discarded.

I can see, hear, feel, think, say and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me.

I own me, and therefore I can engineer me.

I am me and

                                 I AM OKAY !!!!!!

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This is a poem that I keep with me in my planner at all times and that I have stuck to my bulletin board next to my computer.  

The Friend in your Mirror

Speak Gently to youself.

    Speak Freely

in praise of all you are.

    Speak Clearly

with pride in all you've been.

    Speak Bravely

with hope for all you may become.

    Find in yourself

the powers that only you possess,

    the pains

that only you can oversome,

    the promises

that only you can keep.

    Look Deeply

into the mirror of your life

 and discover the very special person

    that only you can be.

Edward Cunningham

This poem was writen by a very close friend of mine.  It just came out in the end of an online conversation.

I am with you tonight

willing your peaceful sleep,

lulling your tired spirit into rest,

relaxing every muscle.

Release worry nightmare and darkness.

Breathe in calm and peace.

Let tonight be the beginning of sound sleep.

Remember this as you drift off.

Give away you dreams to me.

I will hold them for you.


They both mean alot to me and remind me of a lot of my friends here.

Take Care all


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dunno if this fits...or if its healing...if not im sorry ....

Survivor's Poem # 1 by Jennifer Lisa Vest

Who will deliver me

of this hateful birth;

This suddenly remembered

Child's terror,

This misty recollection

Forming a cloud

Raining on my


That was sanity



Who will take from

My weary arms

This burden too heavy

To hold?

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sorry..have to add another an english major and i love poetry....

Alone by Edgar Allan Poe

From childhoods hour I have not been

As others were-- I have not sseen

As others saw-- I could not bring

My passions from a comman spring-

From the same source I have not taken

My sorrow-- I could not awaken

My heart to joy at the same tone--

And all I lov'd -- I lov'd alone--

Then -- in my childhood -- in the dawn

Of a most stormy life -- was drawn

From ev'ry depth of good and ill

The mystery which binds me still--

From the torrent, or the fountain--

From the red cliff of the mountain--

From the sun that round me roll'd

In its autumn tint of gold--

From the lightening in the sky

As it pass'd me fly ing by--

From the thunder, and the storm--

And the cloud that took the form

(When the rest of Heaven was blue)

Of a demon in my view.

i had never read a poem that got my emotions down so perfectly.  maybe i'm maudlin, but i love the dreary stuff...

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Missoula Rape poem

There is no difference between being raped

and being pushed down a flight of cement steps

except that the wounds also bleed inside.

There is no difference between being raped

and being run over by a truck

except that afterwards men ask you if you enjoyed it.

There is no difference between being raped

and losing a hand in a mowing machine

except that doctors don't want to get involved,

and police wear a knowing smirk,

and in small towns you become a veteran whore.

There is no difference between being raped

and going head first through a windshield

except that afterwards you are afraid

not of cars

but half the human race.

-Marge Piercy

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Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

"Still I Rise"

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops.

Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don't you take it awful hard

'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines

Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I've got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame

I rise

Up from a past that's rooted in pain

I rise

I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

(Edited by alex0228 at 11:48 pm on Mar. 14, 2002)

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Phenomenal Woman

Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies

I'm not cute or built to suit a model's fashion size But when I start to tell them

They think I'm telling lies.

I say

It's in the reach of my arms

The span of my hips

The stride of my steps

The curl of my lips.

I'm a woman


Phenomenal woman

That's me.

I walk into a room

Just as cool as you please

And to a man

The fellows stand or

Fall down on their knees

Then they swarm around me

A hive of honey bees.

I say

It's the fire in my eyes

And the flash of my teeth

The swing of my waist

And the joy in my feet.

I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman

That's me.

Men themselves have wondered

What they see in me

They try so much

But they can't touch

My inner mystery.

When I try to show them

They say they still can't see.

I say

It's in the arch of my back

The sun of my smile

The ride of my breasts

The grace of my style.

I'm a woman


Phenomenal woman

That's me.

Now you understand

Just why my head's not bowed

I don't shout or jump about

Or have to talk real loud

When you see me passing

It ought to make you proud.

I say

It's in the click of my heels

The bend of my hair

The palm of my hand

The need for my care.

'Cause I'm a woman


Phenomenal woman

That's me.

One of my all time favorites, and one of the first that helped me begin to accept myself as MYSELF, without the need to change outwardly.


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I usually don't quote other people's work, but:

"I only told you those

   pretty poems

because the

   real ones

would frighten you"

that was Jewel Kilcher

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i just wrote this an hour ago...:sad:

Broken spirits

Full of shame

Full of sorrow

Full of pain

All these questions

All our cries

Eat away and drown us

Again the beauty within us dies

Why does filthiness still tend

To fill us with sorrow

When will it finally end?

When will You hold us ?

When will you heal us?

When will all our wounds finally mend?

Do You see us?

Do You see?

Do you hear us cry out in agony?

I'm trying to believe

I'm trying to trust

But, I see all my my effort

Turn into dust

I'm trying to believe You

I'm trying so hard to see

I'm trying to trust that You do care for me

I'm told that You cried

When you saw what he did

But why did You let happen?

Why didn't you protect me?

Oh, Jesus sweet Jesus

I'm sorry for this doubt

Please help me Lord, Jesus

Please cast this pain out

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I love this poem:

in time of daffodils (who know

the goal of living is to grow)

forgetting why, remember how

in time of lilacs who proclaim

the aim of waking is to dream,

remember so (forgetting seem)

in time of roses (who amaze

our now and here with paradise)

forgetting if, remember yes

in time of all sweet things beyond

whatever mind may comprehend,

remember seek (forgetting find)

and in a mystery to be

(when time from time shall set us free)

forgetting me, remember me

     - e.e. cummings

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Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf's a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

~Robert Frost

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I'm sorry. This may not be very 'healing', but i'm having a bad day and can never get into the "share your poetry" board.  I just wrote this and need to vent a little.  I hope it's okay to post it hear.  Please forgive me if it's not the place to post it.  :sad: here it is.....

If “regular” people only knew

The kind of pain we’ve been thru

If they could only grasp it

Unless you’ve seen the demons

Tasted the taste

Smelled the stench

Heard the awful sounds

And felt the blows

You don’t have a clue

Don’t have a clue

The unbearable scenes

Go around and around

They never stop

Maybe leave for small vacations

Only to return full blast

I die again a little each time

I hate the memories

Hate them and what they show

Feeling powerless and less than human

Filth and ugliness all around

Evil and hatred lurking

Satan and his flunkies laugh and leer

Yelling “give it to her”! she deserves it!”

Screaming and laughing, “she’s less than a dog”

Hot tears flow

Screams turn to soft muffled sobs of disbelief

I leave my body

Don’t want it no more

I scream inside myself

Aware that no one can hear

The turmoil inside my soul

I wish it would quiet down

Drown out

As I’m drowning

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A child's heart should never be broken...

I want so much to get out

to get away from my thoughts and fears

of the outside world

How do I expect to live a life

if I'm sitting in my room everyday

and all my chances go forward

while I continue to move backward

in confusion?

I don't understand my fear

what am I afraid of anyway?  - January 18,1999

I can smell you on my skin

throughout the day

what is that smell?


burning flesh

eating away at my bones

teraing apart my soul

do you see

what you have done?

You have destroyed my existence

my life

my bery being















I WILL FIND YOU  -August 21,2001

Catastrophic tendencies

flow through my hand

onto this paper

and all you can do

is sit there and read my words

but do you have any idea

what they mean?

do you have any clue

as to how I got here

how I can write such terrible things

and think such terrible thoughts

you have no clue

no idea

no excuse for me

to tell to anyone

and all I hear is laughter

and see your eyes

staring blankly back at mine

the wind caresses your skin

can you feel the fingers



cruising over your body

doesn't that frighten you

make you want to scream out

in the dead of night

wake you from your dream

and wish it was

don't laugh

don't laugh

my ears bleed from the sound

of your breath

heavy and hot against my neck

rough skin

rough movements



doesn't that feel good?

do you remember it

do you remember last night

I came into your room

you don't remember

but it was so good

I remember it

maybe I can tell you later

or even show you again

don't tell

it's a secret

blinding lights from the ceiling

imprints from the seat

try to take them off

they won't come off

can't get rid of them

of the lines

the thoughts

the pressure





I can't breathe

I'm going to sleep

see you in my dreams   -sometime in 2001

These are my own poems I wrote from my own experiences..I had a counselor tell me once, "if it wasn't for your poems, you'd be dead." i was suicidal at the time....

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For Children Who Were Broken

it is very hard to mend......

Our pain was rarely spoken

and we hid the truth from friends.

Our parents said they loved us,

but they didn't act that way.

They broke our hearts

and stole our worth,

with the things that they would say.

We wanted them to love us.

We didn't know what we did

to make them yell at us and hit us,

and wish we weren't their kid.

They'd beat us up and scream at us

and blame us for their lives.

Then they'd hold us close inside their arms

and tell us confusing lies

of how they really loved us --

even though we were BAD,

and how it was OUR fault they hit us,

OUR fault that they were mad.

When days were just beginning

we sometimes prayed for them to end,

and when the pain kept coming,

we learned to just pretend

that we were good

and so were they

and this was just

on of those days ...

tomorrow we'd be friends.

We had to believe it so.

We had nowhere else to go.

Each day that we pretended,

we replaced reality

with lies, or dreams,or angry schemes,

in search of dignity ....

until our lies

got bigger than the truth,

and we had no one real to be

Our bodies were forsaken.

With no safe place to hide,

we learned to stop hearing and feeling

what they did to our outsides.

We tried to make them love us,

till we hated ourselves instead,

and couldn't see a way out,

and wished that they were dead.

We scared ourselves by thinking that,

and scared ourselves to know,

that we were acting just like them --

and might ever more be so.

To be half the size of a grown-up

and trapped inside their pain....

To every day lose everything

with no savior or refrain...

To wonder how it is possible

that God could so forget

the worthy child you knew you were,

when you had not been damaged yet ...

To figure on your fingers

that the years till you'd be grown

enough to leave the torment

and survive away from home,

were more than you could count to,

or more than you could bear,

was the reality we lived in

and we knew it wasn't fair.

We who grew up broken

are somewhat out of time,

struggling to mend our childhood,

when our peers are in their prime.

Where others find love

and contentment,

we still often have to strive

to remember we are worthy,

and heroes just to be alive.

Some of us are healing.

some are stealing.

Most are passing the anger on.

Some give their lives away to drugs,

or the promise of like beyond.

Some still hide from society.

Some struggle to belong.

But all of us are wishing

the past would not hold on

so long.

There's a lot of digging down to do

to find the child within,

to love away the ugly pain

and feel innocence again.

There is forgiveness

worthy of angel's wings

for remembering those at all,

who abused our sacred childhood

and programmed us to fall.

To seek to understand them,

and how their pain became our own,

is to risk the ground we stand on

to climb the mountain home.

The journey is not so lonely

as in the past it s been ...

More of us are strong enough

to let the growth begin.

But while we're trekking up the mountain

we need everything we've got,

to face the adults we have become,

and all that we are not.

So when you see us weary

from the day's internal climb ...

When we find fault with your best efforts,

or treat imperfection as purposeful crime ...

When you see our quick defenses,

our efforts to control,

our readiness to form a plan

of unrealistic goals ...

When we run into a conflict

and fight to the bitter end,

remember ...

We think that winning means

we won't be hurt again.

When we abandon OUR thoughts and feelings,

to be what we believe YOU want us to,

or look at trouble we are having,

and want to blame it all on you...

When life calls for new beginnings,

and we fear they re doomed to end,


Wounded trust is like a wounded knee--

It is very hard to bend.

Please remember this

when we are out of sorts.

Tell us the truth, and be our friend.

For children who were broken...

it is very hard to mend.

by Elia Wise

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I thought I was "over" most of it -

but I guess I just found a way to

bury it deeper - and I HAVE to let some

of it out - with NO counseling, and only

a couple who believe me, I have a husband

who I can only hurt because he wants

to help me and he can't  . . . only my

dogs to share with, and somehow that just

isn't enough.  

Sorry guys, I HAVE to vent.

Bits and pieces in my mind

Not enough to help me find

What has happened in the past -

Only sadness, pain will last.

Segments of that anguished "dream"

Pieces of that "mental scream"

Bits of this and bits of that

Not enough to start a chat . . .

Whose voices came out from the walls?

Who shined lights in shower stalls?

Watching private parts of me

That no one will e'er again see . . .

Showing me where their minds were set

Watching me shower, seeing me "wet" -

Wonder what they wanted next?

Wonder why my soul was vexed?

Then when the walls no longer "talked"

Why did they follow me as I walked?

When their cars went to and fro -

Back and forth so I would know . . .

Only that I was being stalked -

No one approached me, no one knocked -

All they did was cause great fear

'Cause I could see they were still near.

Oh, the shame I now embrace

When in the mirror I see my face -

Wondering who my a*users were

Can they still see me? Are they here?

Do they watch me in the tub?

Do they see me as I scrub?

Whatever were they looking for?

Do they still think that I'm a whore?

Only pieces - only bits

Just enough to give me fits

Only parts of that strange night

Fill my nights with pain and fright.

Why did they come here as I slept?

What is the secret that they kept?

Why only pieces, why only bits?

WHAT did they do to give me fits?

I have no knowledge of what they tried,

On the night when my spirit died.

Who were they - the ones who hurt?

Why did they do it? I didn't flirt.

I wore no short skirts, my face was bare -

No make up, no jewels to adorn my hair -

Only me, and nothing else

WHO, what . . . WHY  ? ? ?

I'm told the past must be put away

Forget the horrors of that day.

"Move right on, leave the past behind"

"Clear your heart", "clear your mind" . . .

"You'll never know what gave you fright

On that aweful, trecherous night -

Only think of happy things -

It will take away the stings"

Happy things? Pray tell me please

What they may be - I must appease

This empty soul, this aching heart

Please show me how to play this part.

So I'll just keep on "keeping on"

Til all of my life is gone . . .

With hopes that one day I shall see

The happy one that once was me.

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This is a poem I wrote for a therapist I used to see.  I miss her terrible.  She was the greatest ... Read this and you'll understand why.

White Linen

She hears my silent cries

My hidden fears

And without judgment

She listens to my lamentations.

As my archives unfold

She accepts every word

Every thought

Anticipating the tears.

And the dark pigment flows

Onto her white linen pages

Etching the images

Of rents and abrasions

As I am etched

By shards of betrayal

Past and new.

And with each intimate passage

Respectful silence assures me

Of her unspoken promise

That my trust in her

Will be honored

And I can close each entry


I am not alone.

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"Nobody heard him, the dead man,

But still he lay moaning:

I was much further out than you thought

And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking

And now he's dead

It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,

They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always

(Still the dead one lay moaning)

I was much too far out all my life

And not waving but drowning."

This has always been my favourite poem whenever I'm feeling distanced from the rest of the world.

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I found this poem on a website about PTSD - and I think it's amazing.

<b>Survivor's Psalm</b>

by Frank Ochberg, MD

I have been victimized.

I was in a fight that was

not a fair fight.

I did not ask for the fight.

I lost.

There is no shame in losing

such fights.

I have reached the stage of

survivor and am no longer a

slave of victim status.

I look back with sadness

rather than hate.

I look forward with hope

rather than despair.

I may never forget, but I need

not constantly remember.

I was a victim.

I am a survivor.

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A good friend of mine sent me this a long time ago...

~ When we live our life, we leave a trail. We can choose if it is a trail of light, or darkness. It is what we leave behind when we are gone. Sometimes we don't see the impact we have on others. That is because we are facing forward and do not see the light left behind us. But we leave an impact, all the same. By seeing our own Light, we see the perfection within us. For we are mirrors for each other. When we see the effect we have on others, we see universal love at work.

Loving oneself is where it all begins. Seeing the beauty within us, reflecting off of those around us, is the first step to seeing our true spirit selves. ~

~ Joan St.John ~

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A friend sent me this, author unknown. It was this that finally got me to open up.

If I could catch a rainbow

I would do it just for you

And share with you its beauty

On the days you're feeling blue

If I could build a mountain

You could call your very own

A place to find serenity

A place to be alone

If I could take your troubles

I would toss them in the sea

But all these things

I'm finding are impossible for me

I cannot build a mountain

Or catch a rainbow fair

But let me be what I know best

A friend that's always there


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Quote: from Donna on 9:54 pm on July 10, 2002

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf's a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

~Robert Frost

I LOVE this one!!!

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This is one of my favorites...

I think it is very powerful and strong, but read with care, it could *T*...






You do not do, you do not do

Any more, black shoe

In which I have lived like a foot

For thirty years, poor and white,

Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

Daddy, I have had to kill you.

You died before I had time --

Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,

Ghastly statue with one gray toe

Big as a Frisco seal

And a head in the freakish Atlantic

Where it pours bean green over blue

In the waters off the beautiful Nauset.

I used to pray to recover you.

Ach, du.

In the German tongue, in the Polish town

Scraped flat by the roller

Of wars, wars, wars.

But the name of the town is common.

My Polack friend

Says there are a dozen or two.

So I never could tell where you

Put your foot, your root,

I never could talk to you.

The tongue stuck in my jaw.

It stuck in a barb wire snare.

Ich, ich, ich, ich,

I could hardly speak.

I thought every German was you.

And the language obscene

An engine, an engine,

Chuffing me off like a Jew.

A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.

I began to talk like a Jew.

I think I may well be a Jew.

The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna

Are not very pure or true.

With my gypsy ancestress and my weird luck

And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack

I may be a bit of a Jew.

I have always been scared of you,

With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.

And your neat mustache

And your Aryan eye, bright blue.

Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You --

Not God but a swastika

So black no sky could squeak through.

Every woman adores a Fascist,

The boot in the face, the brute

Brute heart of a brute like you.

You stand at the blackboard, daddy,

In the picture I have of you,

A cleft in your chin instead of your foot

But no less a devil for that, no not

Any less the black man who

Bit my pretty red heart in two.

I was ten when they buried you.

At twenty I tried to die

And get back, back, back to you.

I thought even the bones would do.

But they pulled me out of the sack,

And they stuck me together with glue.

And then I knew what to do.

I made a model of you,

A man in black with a Meinkampf look

And a love of the rack and the screw.

And I said I do, I do.

So daddy, I'm finally through.

The black telephone's off at the root,

The voices just can't worm through.

If I've killed one man, I've killed two --

The vampire who said he was you

And drank my blood for a year,

Seven years, if you want to know.

Daddy, you can lie back now.

There's a stake in your fat black heart

And the villagers never liked you.

They are dancing and stamping on you.

They always knew it was you.

Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.

-Sylvia Plath, October 12, 1962

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