It’s been almost exactly 14 years since I wrote my last poem titled, “Who I Am.” I highlighted the final lines of this poem in my post – The 4-Year Gap: My Blogging Blackout Period – my re-entry into the blogosphere. At the time, I chose to introduce those final lines as a way to connect the closure of one period to my life to the beginning of another. While I may not currently have the same creative energy to write poetry again, I still feel that I have much to share. However, this time I’ll employ past works to create new stories.
In this new series, I’ll feature some of my favorite creative works of the past and connect them with significant life events, insights, and lessons learned since “the last time I picked up a pen to write of things hidden within.” “Who I Am” was the culmination of my writing adventures 14 years ago, and now I’ll use it to re-ignite my creative journey. For each poem that I share, I’ll provide a “Behind the Pen” point of view, including the poem’s inspiration – sometimes a song, a situation, a woman, or even a dream at 1:19 in the morning.
Links to Posts in this Series
- Who I Am – Behind the Pen (below)
- Thirsty – My Tongue’s Eternal Battle with a Knife
- A Fool So Less Courageous – The Paradox of the Pivot
- I62 – Yearning to Feel Limitless Rather than Limited
- 3 AM – The Shadow Side of Downsizing My Life to Live Abroad
Behind the Pen – Who I Am
This is the last time I shall pick up a pen
to write of things hidden within.
Time after time, I’ve held my thoughts
only to become emotionally distraught.
Writing of things I wish I would do,
while holding it all in, fighting an internal coup.
For four years I stayed locked within a cage,
four years I stayed locked within an internal rage.
Slowly I’ve torn at the walls of this cocoon
hoping to see a day, I never once knew.
Though I’ve fought a good battle to regain the shore,
the coup still engages in acts of war.
Trying to steal the kingdom’s gold,
eager to feel the warmth of life’s cold.
But this is the last time I shall lift this pen,
and the last time I shall fear the emotions of men.
For when you’re vulnerable, you’re really strong
if you’re able to take the blow and move on.
For this is the true strength that lies within man,
and something that I cherish in who I am. – Sept 3, 2002
In “Who I Am” I touch on how I used my writing in the 4 years prior to express things that I was unable to do or say. It paints a picture of a person wrestling with their inner thoughts and desires, physical and psychological hindrances that limit action, yet a yearning to use this revelation as a way to gain power and push forward.
While I believe it took another 7 years after this poem was crafted to begin to fully embody the power of this poem in my daily life, I can say that in the last 7 years, I’ve “slowly torn at the walls of this cocoon, [to actually experience days] I never once knew.”
There are key references in the poem to visuals and phrases from songs by my favorite singer/songwriter Natalie Merchant, particularly the lines, “Trying to steal the kingdom’s gold, eager to feel the warmth of life’s cold.” Natalie was a huge influence on my writings at the time and this poem calls out to her songs “Frozen Charlotte” and “Noah’s Dove“, both in their visual references and the embodiment of the themes I personally extracted from each song.
As you’ll come to find in future “Behind the Pen” releases, it’s only been when I’ve put myself in vulnerable positions that I’ve grown stronger. And while the depths of those moments feel like a blow to my soul and psyche, the heights of those moments have provided me with a deep appreciation of the struggle and the eventual strength that emerges from it.
Want More – Hit Me Up
If you find this or any of my other work interesting or inspiring, feel free to leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter @Jarard29. I’ll happily provide an electronic copy of my entire book of poetry upon request. Be sure to check back from time to time for links to future releases and life stories.