Monday, January 29, 2007

Two Moments

When I was about 12 or thirteen years old, I wrote my first poem. It was a homework assignment for english class. After school, I walked around our neighborhood and found my way to a playground which was part of an old public elementary school. I sat down on a rock and thought about the assignment. The far end of the playground was used by kids to cut through the woods to get from one street to the next. I began to write. Sadly for me, the poem is no longer in my possession. But I do remember the last few lines:

“... a child runs across
headed towards some special destination
I break down
It has won”

“It” was loneliness. I had friends at school. I had two older sisters and a young nephew. I had two parents and two grandparents. But as a very young child I had been incredibly shy. I knew what it felt like to be lonely, a little different or apart from others.

I handed in my poem. It must have been pretty good, because my teacher called my parents and expressed her concern! Mom and Dad took me out to dinner at a little restaurant in town. We sat in a round booth, with me seated between them. Initially, I thought we were just going out for a nice meal. It didn’t take long to realize something was up. After several questions about how I was feeling, they explained what was going on. I loved my parents. There was only one right answer: “I’m fine.” It was mostly true. My parents had enough on their plates without worrying unnecessarily about the emotional state of their youngest barely pre-teen daughter. So I reassured them that it was just an assignment to write a poem about an emotion - that was all. The sighs of relief as the tension washed away was I all I needed to confirm that I had said the right thing.

In James Hillman's wonderful and challenging book “The Soul's Code”, he describes the concept of one’s daimon. The daimon (or acorn if you will) is the very core of who we are meant to be in this world. Hillman contends we are born into the world with this daimon. Many years after I wrote that first poem about loneliness, I was asked an important question about my daimon. I was immediately, vividly transported back to that afternoon in the playground near my childhood home. I had continued to write poems and prose in the intervening years. But with the answer to that question, I committed myself to poetry in a new way. I allowed myself to write daily and to no longer feel as if it were selfish or an indulgence. I felt decisively free of all constraints to write from my heart, from my soul.

1 comment:

barbie2be said...

what does one do, if their daimon has never cracked open and exposed the who or what that they are supposed to be?