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Inner Death: A Poet’s Destructive Stress

Inner Death: A poet’s Destructive Stress

My own pen inflicting pain upon my wordings,

Vivid imagination tearing me apart,

The thought of death and African ethnic conflict,

With every ink they create tear drops,

I was burdening the magnetism activity,

Projecting the wounded world into my room,

Mangled bodies like roses squashed underfoot,

Publishing sores thereupon my soul,

And as always the emotion will take a hold,

and I will be unable to keep on,

as the pain anger and denial attacked me from every side.

This morning I was taking a walk by the Monastery, battling the bits and pieces of some depression I had been feeling after having written on the Niger Delta, and some things about the family and life in Sudan, I went out for a stroll.

The trail leaves my birth place; “Eguare” behind and descends to the “Agbede” creek valley through patches of farmland amid the rainforest, evergreen flat straw grass, rubber trees woodland and oil palm/rainforest mixtures.

The growth of my intended study controlled by my imagination, just as the growth of each plant is controlled by the sun, the sun telling them in which way to turn, drawing them toward its source…into my source.

Just before the trail disappears into brushwood, there appear a hiker path by the left, nearly hidden by an ancient oak tree, the walk leads into the flat straw grass ending where the trail climbs above the creek, a hundred feet above sea level, here I turn right on to the Monastery, and take a pedestrian trail to the main entry.

Looking around trying to enjoy the day, the breeze, the sun, the beautiful trees and the sounds of birds chirping, I suddenly realise I can write of the “peace plea” amid the nature healing hand, because there is a sense of otherworldliness in this area, of stepping into the past, of seeing things as they are and being at peace with the wholesomeness of it all.

As I walk along the trail I felt the sun on my face, in its heat I sensed the intelligence that calls to the plants, like poetry in motion it offers them life and in my soul I see the abundant growth.

Like each stanza in my poems, each seedling knows were best to sprout, and nature’s content determined how fast they can grow. In my trail the sun calls out “warmth” felt deep in my heart, and if it is too warm as my emotion sometimes does from the heat of studying the culture of pain and conflict in Africa, I sought to move away from that heat.

In the Monastery herbal orchard, I felt the sense of peace and beauty, and realized that this, too, is an intelligence calling to me to feed the “inner” me, the culture of violence within.

When one realises that nature is there patiently waiting by and that one can write of pain, the imaginations that are indeed facts, nature healing hands guide and heal that hand holding the pen.

That is the reason for this article, to tell you, of the walk in a flash of good feeling from my native home, a walk in such a monastic environment is one of the most outstanding of scenes for a creative writer, especially a writer seeking a landscape of quiet solitude to study “Peace Culture”. It is particularly excellent in the rainy day, especially when wildflowers with spikes and redwoods are often abundant.

As I continued this special forest activity, I found myself attracted to the various songs of the birds, seeking it rhymes in my poetry, and then gradually to the various stones and nuts and shells in the path, recreating it in lieu with the shell oil in the delta with ease, written of the conflict without the magnetism I once felt.

During the subsequent days of my wandering I had the conviction that when I go out into nature I may experience positive attractions to certain aspects of nature I have never had before in my writings, I can consciously connect those positive attractions as a mirror of my world, I gave the connection to pain and suffering enough space and I realized that these feelings are what are so good about living in Nigeria at this time.

It was enough, if for no other reason, to be here, to experience the beauty of this planet to shut own for a while the genocide in Rwanda, the daily bombardment in Iraq. To shut out from my memory the power of my own poetry. This was a major breakthrough for me, because I battle the reason for being here, I battle the reason for the denial, deny the world is not always a chaotic scene, deny my brothers are not dying like worms, deny, deny, deny.

This was a challenge to my reality, shifting realities as well as a way of thinking is an interesting feeling. This activity re-educates that part of me that tells me to be afraid of new ways of thinking or doing, all those death and suffering that itch to control me.

I want to share with the group that I feel different from when I started writing about pain, when I first wrote the “echoes of the gulf”. I have always struggled with the magnetism, and these last few weeks, I find I hardly have it at all anymore. At times I do, depending on where I am, I can go into nature, right outside my backdoor, and feel a connection that is real.  The monastery website is www.ewumonks.org

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  • Poets often find death fascinating, and now one psychologist suggests a connection: While writers on the whole die young, poets die even younger.

    A new movie biography of Sylvia Plath reinforces the image of the poet as meteorite, flashing brightly — and briefly — across the sky before burning out. Plath, who committed suicide at age 31, typified the short lives of other notable poets like John Keats, who died of tuberculosis at 26, or Hart Crane, who ended his life at 33.