It should go without saying, but I’ll emphasize the point here: poems (and stories) don’t spring out of thin air, but the poet doesn’t necessarily speak (via a poem) from personal experience. In my creative process, poems generate from somewhere deep within my psyche and they reflect my observations as well as an internal dialogue in which I engage. Often, I’m writing about situations I’ve witnessed secondhand. When my brain reacts, my heart frequently empathizes. Even when I’m just a bystander, events can have a forceful effect on me.
Such was the case when I wrote the following sonnet. The poem (written in the early 80s) practically wrote itself. It was at a time when several people close to me were going through divorce. I was stunned to realize the impact of divorce isn’t just felt by the couple and their offspring.
The poem was published in the annual publication of Poems by Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas 1984 and won third place in the annual contest sponsored for this publication. Following the book’s publication, one of my dear friends (also a poet) called on me, greatly concerned to know if “everything is okay.” She thought the poem was too real. Was this a cry for help? she wondered.
Of course, it’s great to have such good friends and I would hope anyone in desperate need has a friend, like mine, willing to ask the important, life-affirming questions. [And God forbid, please don’t construe from this sonnet that I condone suicide! As long as there is life, there’s HOPE!]
This isn’t a poem you enjoy, but neither is the death of a marriage. Your comments are always welcome.