When you experience an earth-shattering loss, it can change the way you see everything. Suddenly there is this new “grief” lens through which you view the world. In the weeks and months following your loss, it can feel as though you’re stuck in one place while everyone else is moving forward.
While grieving is a very personal experience, it helps to know that there are others who are traveling this unknown terrain, too. A common coping mechanism among many is poetry. Whether you’re reading it or writing it, poetry reminds us that our grief, our love and our stories all matter.
Continue reading for three ways poetry can help your hurting heart.
1. Poetry gives us a space to pour our pain onto paper.
Grief ebbs and flows and it constantly expects different things from us each day. Sometimes, it’s quietly humming in the background and other times it’s screaming to be heard. Whether you are just embarking on your grief journey or you’ve been walking this path for years, it can be incredibly helpful to write out the thoughts and feelings you’re experiencing.
Poetry helps us name some of the things that we’ve been feeling. The white page can feel like a safe space to start to pour out the things that have been heavy on our hearts.
2. Poetry connects us to others who are hurting.
Art is powerful because it connects people through shared emotions and experiences. Sometimes reading the right poem at the right time can serve as a reminder that someone else has experienced a dark night of the soul like we have. Their words can be a light glimmering in that darkness or a hand reaching out for ours.
Writing poetry gives us a way to tell our story and to share our perspective. While it brings comfort, it also gives us a chance to remember that we are not alone in this wilderness of grief. There are others reading and writing along with a resounding, “Me too.”
3. Poetry is for everyone.
Poetry has made quite the comeback in recent years and for good reason:
- It is incredibly versatile.
- It can follow a pattern or flow freely.
- It can be long or short.
- It can be intellectual or emotional.
There’s something for everyone—and you don’t have to be a published author or aspiring poet to write poetry. It can be something that you choose to share with others or it can be something just for you.
Poetry is the outpouring of the human heart and the poems we craft in our grief are beautiful testaments to the things that we’ve gone through, the people we have loved and lost, and the way that their story lives on through our words and through our lives every single day.
How Poetry Has Helped Me Heal
During my personal experience with grief, poetry has been very therapeutic for me. I have written a book of poems called “I Look to the Mourning Sky” that I hope captures the ebb and flow, the push and pull and the unpredictability of loss.
It was written in honor of my Dad who passed away in 2021, and it is my hope that the words can resonate with and comfort others who are grieving the loss of someone they deeply care about.
At the end of the book, I have included 12 poetry/writing prompts for anyone who would like to take that first step into processing pain on paper. I hope that this collection can help you on your journey, and please remember, you are never alone.
>>> If you would like to purchase “I Look to the Mourning Sky” for yourself or a loved one, the book is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.
Ongoing Grief Support
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Liz Newman is a poet and blogger from the Midwest who writes primarily on faith, life, and relationships.