I've had my share of dark nights of the soul, times when I questioned my craft, and wondered whether poetry was a worthy pursuit.  I am not prone to depression. Instead, these moments are bitter sweet and border on resignation. When I find the courage to walk into the darkness, to welcome the despair, it is often followed by a poignant moment offering an embrace of a deeper truth. One such moment occurred when flying from Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong. 


I watched the movie, Shadows In The Sun, starring Harvey Keitel as a former best-selling author resigned that he had lost his skill when his wife died 20 years earlier. I was touched by a scene when the author suddenly gets an inspiration to write again. Keitel performs the scene beautifully, walking hesitantly to his typewriter, hovering his shaking hands over the keyboard, torn between fear of failure and belief he may be able to write again. I was so moved by the moment, that I had to pause the movie, run to the bathroom, which, thankfully, was unoccupied, and shut myself in, gushing heart-wrenching tears as I spoke aloud, “I have to write.” 

In another more recent incident, I was in a personal growth workshop exploring my mission to bring poetry to the world of transformational work. The facilitator, Robert Dilts, guided us in a process called “belief audit,” to find limiting beliefs or mental-emotional areas we might need to address in order to bring our desire to fruition. One question concerned my willingness to take responsibility for the goal and to consider whether or not I feel I "deserve it.” I had a sudden and strong sense of an angelic presence at my side. I was deeply touched, and again reduced to tears, by a very clear message that I am actually “chosen" to do this. 

These are just two incidents among several that have led me to conclude that I must write for the sake of my soul. It is no longer a matter of recognition, though that would be wonderful. Whether or not my work is well-received or tossed in the trash bin of time, I must offer my poetry to the world. I simply can’t not write. 

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I start each day with a few well-chosen words,
simple enough to guide me in living
and open enough to hold what I love.

I set my course, not by wind or waves,
not by compass or calendar, not even
by desire or destination, but by the vows
that I have exchanged with life.

This I know: it is for the sake of the soul,
and whether or not I feel myself worthy,
poetry has chosen me.

What poignant moments have come out of the darkness in your life? Is there something you know you must do, whether or not you succeed at it and whether or not it is accepted by the world? 

© Nick LeForce
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