From Rending to Mending

I wrote this poem to express the need to rage/rend before we sage/mend. The video is an attempt to visualize the poem. I was inspired by a reflection shared by Valerie Kaur during one of her People’s Inauguration segments when she especially talked about our need to express our anger/outrage/grief in such a way that we can see/hold it outside of ourselves and only then can we name it and begin to do something constructive with it.

how do I grieve
what I cannot mend — tend
I cannot help but rend
this anger
these terrorist supremacist delvers into hatred
who see you / me as stranger
implicit dangers
Rend this cloth
tear at this terror
this fear
my / your anger
sorrow upon unending sorrow
will it go on for ever tomorrows
rending this cloth
let the stitches rip their / our pain
that is my / our undoing
till there is nothing left
we are spent from the screaming
the furies that were teeming
And only a pile of scrap
pain untrapped
and our beating / breathing can slow to fuming
no longer blooming, festering, or seething
from storming to stopping
we can stop
stop the bleeding
from frenzy to 
morphing our rending 
to mending

Pick up the pieces
that which was rent
now removed
from within
to it we can now attend
Make this time  — creating space
a time of mending
stitching the pieces worth saving
we are stronger for the rending
stitched together, dearly tethered
threading and tending
to our awakened rage
our soul filled with wreckage
wrought tender
reduced to cinders
now we can see the pain
hold it there
and turn it over
pick up our tools and begin again.

Ideas for exploring/sharing this poem:

If exploring this poem within a virtual community/gathering I would consider inviting people to think about ways they do or could express their rage and grief in a way that allows for a needed release but also being in a safe container (i.e. not just lashing out at those around them when pushed to the brink). Do/can we dig a hole? tear something up? punch a pillow or punching bag? knead some bread dough? run until we collapse? find a safe place to scream until we have nothing left? Many criticized the expressed rage of Black Lives Matter protestors on the streets across the USA (and world) last year (and years’ past). But when your outrage and grief is not heard, has no place to safely go, what do you do with it? It must be expressed. Not just so others will hear and finally respond, but for your own physical and emotional sanity and ability to go on with the struggle, the work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *