Poetry As Stress Reliever

by lizard

Stress can be like a caged animal caught in your chest, kicking your bowels, stiffening your limbs. Today it bit me good, and so I’m taking a mental health day. After I decompressed for a while, I picked up the book of poems currently gracing my night stand—Reading Novalis In Montana, by Melissa Kwasny. I flipped through and settled on a poem that but smacked me good (it’s actually the second poem of a twelve poem series). Thanks, Melissa!


2 Soul

There is something all right in giving yourself halfway
if you understand the danger, the hugeness of the thing,
that you’re not up for it. All night the moon shines,
showing you how trees breathe. Pines become the thing
they are that you forget, those with whom you live your life.
You could go out into the world or in and leave the thing,
which is like a bridge, clear for the others.
Twice in the backyard, a flash of yellow in the willows,
once getting wood, once calling out your door. What thing
was its south, its side of shadow? Everything—
seasons, directions, elements, the moon—divides itself
into colors and gestures, into secondary lodgings
of the half-breed or the deciduous though some things
are blind: blind soul of thunder, blind soul of feathers
on its back. The dark clouds are ominous, bringing things
that you need. Yet the mind continues to cast out
like a prison beacon for suspects, to pounce on something
it barely sees. You want instead to be chosen, gifted,
touch your hands on the earth to remember and remember.
The sky is silver from last night’s rain in the low spots
below the mountain. The sky is not one thing
but many highs and lows. As a child, it hurt you when things
were ugly—a bar, an alley, a tar roof to sunbathe on,
all of it so tired and unhappy, certainly never happy
to see you. The green world then became
your happiness, those with quiet voices and four souls.

—Melissa Kwasny

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