Most of my poems are optimistic and upbeat. Sometimes, however, a dark mood engulfs me, a mood I do not notice with my bright eyes, until I hear myself speak with sober voice and feel my body stiffened and shoulder stooped as if I wear the years heavy, unable or unwilling to shed what no longer serves me. I become Atlas mistaking my duty for a burden as if I bear the world on my shoulders.
The image of Atlas holding up the world is a classic representation of the burden every human feels at some point in their lives. But this image is incorrect. Atlas, in Greek mythology, was assigned the task of holding up the sky and not the earth. The world is meant to be a platform to stand on and not a burden to carry. The sky is weightless to us because it lifts itself. Imagine holding up the sky and you will find it's no burden whatsoever. Instead, you may find that "holding" the sky up actually uplifts you. After all, the sky is the place we point to when we refer to heaven. If we remember that we are meant to hold up heaven in troubled times and not to carry the world, we may find our troubles turn into teachers and our problems reveal a deeper purpose in our lives.
And this reveals a deeper purpose in my poems. They serve as a reminder, primarily to me, and hopefully to others, that heaven stays constant in the "dark nights of the soul" as well as the bright light of the day. One function of poetry is to remind us to shed the world from our shoulders and to hold heaven in our hearts. As I said in the poem, Struggling to Relax:
“We cannot carry the world we live in.
But we can let the world we live in carry us.”
Prose and recital © 2016 Nick LeForce
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Heaven In Our Hearts, my first book of poetry, is a composite of seven chapbooks that I had previously issued; It is both a great reminder for you to hold heaven in your heart, and a beautiful gift for those with whom you do!
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