With the gradual easing of restrictions all over the world, for many of us, getting some normalcy back brings joy. For some, especially for those who are more vulnerable, even these much-anticipated changes can be a little difficult.
And, if you are anything like me, the prospect of going out when the virus is still ravaging its way across the world, the easing of the lockdown can be a real worry and it can take a toll on your mental health.
Last week (on 13th July), the WHO reported a record daily increase in coronavirus cases with the total rising by 230,370 in 24 hours and this frightens me no end. In these tough times, we all are trying to cope by turning to things or activities that comfort us. For me, poetry has been the best escape.
Change the subject with poetry
Generally, I am an avid reader of all things fiction, but these days I find myself too distracted to be able to sit and read a novel and it certainly does not help matters if I was to accidentally pick a sad story with an unhappy ending to read.
However with poetry, I can read a few poems at a time, and escape from the #newnormal for just a bit. I even like to take this time to scribble a few lines in my journal and just let my thoughts and creativity flow.
They say that “a change of subject is a kind of rest” and that is exactly what poetry does for me. If you love reading and are going through a similar phase where you don’t want to engage in complex stories but still need a book, trust me, try indulging in some light poetry. And, if you want to try writing a few lines, don’t hold yourself back; go for it!
Poetry helps the mind wander
“Here, at last, we shall be free.” – Iain S. Thomas
When reading or writing poetry, we let our train of thoughts flow. We connect with what is within. Sometimes when I sit down with my laptop or journal, I am surprised with what I end up writing. Letting my mind wander helps me get rid of stress. I do this very often as it cleanses my mind of negative thoughts and distracts me from all the negativity that seems to plague the news.
Same goes for reading poetry. Sometimes when I read a verse or poem, I am able to tap into and navigate through some deep-rooted unattended feelings. It helps me keep in touch with my inner self by forming a bridge to my emotions and giving me access to my deepest thoughts. Poetry can be the best self-induced therapy, and God knows in 2020, we all could use some of that.
Poetry comes from within
Poetry comes straight from the heart. It is an action of spontaneous expression and it helps release clogged thoughts. Amidst everything that is going on, I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night feeling overwhelmed by a bad dream or just a bad feeling, and I cannot fall back asleep. I simply grab my phone and scribble a few lines onto my notepad.
I read those lines repeatedly and within minutes, I drift off to sleep again. One of the best things about poetry is that it is an all-inclusive art form, the scope of creativity is vast and helps me release any harboured thoughts, almost like a deep exhalation for the mind.
For times when I am too tired and not in the mood to write, I always keep a book near my pillow so I can read a few poems if I am unable to sleep.
Lockdown has been relatively quiet and isolating and the thought of going back outside is scary. With everything going on in the world, poetry helps me cope.
These lines by C. Churchill from his poem “seeds”, reminds me that even when I feel empty, I can plant seeds of change to tend to and grow:
I plant seeds in
my hollow places
just in case of rain
memories I hold dear
to tend lovingly
before any pain
I plant seeds in
my hollow places
can be devastating
can grow anything