The Poet With His Face in His Hands
You want to cry aloud for your
mistakes. But to tell the truth the world
doesn't need any more of that sound.
So if you're going to do it and can't
stop yourself, if your pretty mouth can't
hold it in, at least go by yourself across
the forty fields and the forty dark inclines
of rocks and water to the place where
the falls are flinging out their white sheets
like crazy, and there is a cave behind all that
jubilation and water fun and you can
stand there, under it, and roar all you
want and nothing will be disturbed; you can
drip with despair all afternoon and still,
on a green branch, its wings just lightly touched
by the passing foil of water, the thrush,
puffing out its spotted breast, will sing
of the perfect, stone-hard beauty of everything.
I came across this poem in the April 4, 2005 Edition of the New Yorker. It describes for me, the often desperate need of all of us to let go, to open the flood gates and allow all our pain, frustration, and regret to gush out like water from a broken dam. Unfortunately, the reality of such an outpouring of emotion is that it causes those around us much discomfort and irritation. To see our mothers cry, feels like watching the foundation of a large building crumble. We place an ample burden on those we expect to be strong. However, nature is presented as forgiving, comforting, and resilient to our tantrums and break downs. The strength of Mother Earth is all enduring-she accepts us in any form.
The poem also seems to say that the poet, has become unwanted-even irritating. His or her sorrow on paper no longer has any weight, any value. The poet placed in today's fast paced world, feels out of place and unable to articulate his pain.