Sometimes, I just don’t know what to say, and, at those times, anything I do say just sounds stupid. Perhaps there’s something somewhere inside my mind, something heavy, large, and pressing, which wants to be spoken about, and I’m afraid of it. It would be embarrassing to be direct, mortifying to be simple. Blocked and tongue-tied, I yearn for the freedom to speak, but lack the courage.
Courage is the thing, though, what it takes to be free, what it takes to speak or to write or to act in freedom. Yet, where do we find it? Where do we go to find the heart-strength to speak of whatever it is which presses in on us?
A poet I know says the best thing to do, the best way to find the courage you need, is to look inside yourself, and, there, to ask what it is you are really thinking about, what it is you are really feeling. Here, she says, if you are honest and open, if you are willing to put aside the impulse to dismiss and to judge, you’ll find, suddenly, you are free. A way will appear through the thicket of your thoughts. Follow it.
How will you know you are free? Exhilaration. It will be in every image and word which comes tumbling out of you.
I find this poem by Mary Karr exhilarating. I can just imagine her exhilaration in finding a way to make a work of art, a poem, out of her experience of the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. There is great courage here and freedom.
Descending Theology: The Resurrection
By Mary Karr
From the far star points of his pinned extremities,
cold inched in—black ice and squid ink—
till the hung flesh was empty.
Lonely in that void even for pain,
he missed his splintered feet,
the human stare buried in his face.
He ached for two hands made of meat
he could reach to the end of.
In the corpse’s core, the stone fist
of his heart began to bang
on the stiff chest’s door, and breath spilled
back into that battered shape. Now
it’s your limbs he comes to fill, as warm water
shatters at birth, rivering every way.