ALBANY POETRY EXAMINER
COULD A POEM HELP THEM FORGIVE?
Perhaps a poem could soothe, but would it help them to forgive?
If Adam Lanza, the perpetrator of the Connecticut School Shooting was still alive, do you think he would ever say, “forgive me.”
Do you think the victims’ parents and families can ever forgive him?
According to Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary forgive means to pardon, cease to feel resentment, to grant forgiveness, allowing room for error. Chambers Concise 20th Century Dictionary puts it this way: it means to pardon: to overlook, to be merciful or compassionate.
Forgiveness is not easy, no matter how you look at it. Nor is it magic. It takes more than an Open Sesame or an Abra Kadabra. It takes time. Like when I was left with a huge hematoma over my left eye from a bad fall. First the blood drained into my eyes, turning them black (standing out like a raccoon’s), and continuing down my face to my neck. People did a double take when seeing me – especially kids. My poor husband kept saying, “I didn’t do it.” Anger and hate can do this to us, too – discolor our souls. It took over three months for my face to heal. Perhaps our hurt will leave a permanent scar, like from the loss of a loved one, but over time forgiveness can help diminish the pain.
Forgiveness involves thought and effort. We need to discuss the situation with the one who did the hurting, or someone who can offer council, instead of letting if fester inside of us. We need to actively seek ways to resolve the problem.
Forgiveness goes beyond self. Early Man learned to survive by destroying his enemies. That reaction has snowballed to the extent that the whole of mankind is threatened with extinction through modern weapons. If each individual would forgive his enemies, perhaps that reaction would snowball to the whole of mankind; especially through children who could start the snowball rolling in their new generation.
In Somerset Maugham’s book, THE PAINTED VEIL, when talking about Walter’s inability or refusal to forgive his wife’s infidelity, he notes, “Was it not pitiful that men, tarrying so short a space in a world where there was so much pain, should thus torture themselves?”
Forgiveness also frees us from incarceration:
the unforgiving heart –
draped in drab attire,
its fired red snuffed out.
Locked in self-perpetuating pout
eyes focus inward
and like internal bleeding
of life imparting power.
Walking prison cells,
blocked from unbarred vision,
we fail to see
we free ourselves
when others are forgiven.