After 9/11, poetry was scrawled everywhere on the fences and walls and rubble near the disaster zone. People turn to poetry in times of crisis. Poetry is soul-speech and begins at the inexpressible, pushing our language and our humanity further and higher than we thought we could go. Poetry creates healing gestures, and has done so since it was born in tribal healing.
In the October 11-12 "Weekend Journal" (Wall Street Journal), the lead article is "What History Tells Us About the Markets." We've all been concerned about whether our current economic crisis bears resemblance to the Great Depression. According to Jason Zweig, "A few weeks ago, investors were gasping; now, en masse, they seem to have gone numb." He continues, "The market's frame of mind seems reminiscent of a passage from Emily Dickinson's poem, "After Great Pain a Formal Feeling Comes":
"This is the Hour of Lead--
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons recollect the Snow---
First--Chill--then Stupor--then the letting go."
Poetry bears witness, articulates formerly inexpressible states of being, and heals by integrating sorrow into our experience in a composed manner. If we can sing about losses, we can bear them better. The great blues musicians have always known this.
Poetry comes in out of the margins in times of crisis.
Causes Marilyn Kallet Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, ACLU, Amnesty International, Save Darfur.