New Poem Published In Vine Leaves Literary Journal

Today sees the publication of one of my poems, ELIHU’S MEDITATION ON QUESTIONS UNANSWERED in Vine Leaves Literary Journal.

—“beautiful agony”—

Elihu was one of characters who came and sat with Job in the Old Testament Book Of Job. He said nothing while his companions lectured Job after his loss and suffering.

The origin of the poem came about during a staff retreat where I work. The focus of the day was on suffering and a colleague shared her remarkable journey of the last few years. It was heartbreaking yet imbibed with a sense of joy.

It made me think why we don’t simply sit with our friends when we are suffering; instead we try to offer platitudes and trite condolences. We are afraid of silence, afraid of our own suffering, or the threat of suffering. We conveniently limit suffering to news excerpts on television, subjects we can listen to and then forget about when the segment is over. It doesn’t bring about change in ourselves.

Suffering, when focused on the ones we love, is a time for mourning and contemplation. It is a time for identifying with their pain and suffering. It is a time to act, to comfort, to listen, to be silent, to make a meal, mow their lawn, fold their washing, buy them a coffee.

Sometimes it is the hardest thing to remain silent when everyone else is speaking.

You can read more in Issue 10 and a wealth of stirring poetry, vignettes and art.

Follow Vine Leaves Literary Journal on twitter (@VineLeavesLJ) and Facebook.

2 responses to “New Poem Published In Vine Leaves Literary Journal

  1. Years ago I had the honour of sitting in women’s circles. We were told at the beginning that if any of us were to break down then we were to honour the pain by being quiet and bearing witness. We were not to hug or offer a hand, or to even pass the box of tissues. We were to sit there. And in doing so we were to own our own reactions to it. We were not to indentify with it “I know just how you feel” to try to make the woman feel better. We were too look into ourselves and own our own pain.

    It is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do is to sit in silence and witness another’s pain. We are too ready to try to ‘fix’ or ‘hide’ pain. The bravest thing is to ‘sit with it’. Which your poem does beautifully.

  2. Who’s a proper poet now? Well done my friend and have a good celebration over Easter.

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