I am frequently told that my poetry makes the reader feel my sadness. In response, I usually advise that they aren’t always written from a place of sadness, I just seem to sound that way. (This observation isn’t exclusive to my poetry, it seems the tone of my text messages also emits the same impression!) It used to be a standing joke, with an old friend of mine, that the mere mention of my putting pen to paper must mean a looming depression. It is true, of course, that some are written purgatively, as though to exorcise a dark daemon. When this occurs I usually feel instantly better and free of negativity; the rest of them are written purely as an expression of thought – some directly pertaining to my own emotions/experiences, the rest pure imagination.
I am a person who has known great sadness, but I also know great joy; yet like a true Wednesday’s child, I can only seem to harness the former in my thoughts/writings. I presume that the lack of finding true love is the culprit. Perhaps, should I ever find my soul mate, I will no longer write poetry?! It seems I am, as yet, unable to write a happy poem. For my birthday, early last week, I received a wonderful gift from a colleague and friend. She had a selection of my poetry printed in a hard-backed book and wrote a most flattering dedication for the back cover. I took it to show my family; many of these poems my mum had seen for the first time. She said it made her sad to think that I lived such a sad life. I couldn’t seem to reassure her that I didn’t live a sad life, I live quite a full life, and rather a charmed one in comparison to some; however, I do concede my heart is a permanently heavy one – heavy with the burden of unfulfilled love; but let’s face it, it’s not the end of the world, life goes on regardless of one’s marital status. (Sigh)
It is unusual why I can’t seem to write something that captures happiness, I am not impervious to life’s intense and varied beauty. I tried recently. I had so many lovely gifts for my birthday, a lot of them very personal and creative ones. With all this happiness, appreciation and love in mind, I sat outside Costa one morning (I had my birthday week off, naturally) and set about capturing that gratitude on paper. What emerged was utter rubbish! All it reflected was how badly I translate happy thoughts into poetry. I shall have to leave that to the likes of Pam Ayres, rhyming with a comedic wit, intent on making the reader chuckle. The soul of this poet is somewhat cumbersome, not unlike my physicality. I could write about the happiest day of my life in a blog and the reader would feel the joy pouring from each word – but put it into a poem and it would surely sound like my worst day ever!
So therein lies my niche. I am the world-weary, heavy hearted poet, but being just expressions of a single emotion, they do not detract from the fortunate life I currently lead. When the day comes that I publish a truly happy poem, please raise a glass in my name, and congratulate the love I have undoubtedly found.