Songs Of Ourselves

Walt Whitman’s “Song Of Myself” makes me very uncomfortable.  It challenges me with its honesty, and it reminds me that if we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, we must also love ourselves as our neighbors.

That’s a hard thing to do.  It’s easy to love someone that you don’t know very well, because all we see is the public face.  When we know people better, we know their flaws.

I see my own flaws very well.  I live with myself, and I know just how very unlovable I can be.  Generally speaking, I don’t care much for myself.

And yet, I am stuck with me.  I am, so to speak, first among my neighbors, and the one that I should love, not blindly, not wishing that I was something else, but for what and who I am.  Not a rational love, because I deserve it, but an irrational love, because I need it.

Some years ago I wrote a poem about myself.  To be more accurate, a poem about a part of myself, a part that I have some difficulty loving.  I would like to challenge you to do the same.  Write a poem about yourself, about some part of yourself, and post a link to it here.

Why?  Because the better we can love ourselves, the better we can love our neighbors.  And in today’s world, we’re all neighbors.

The Beast

I will never forget you, beautiful monster
You were my first protector
You were the dragon in the moat
Of the fortress I was forced to build around my heart
I have felt your basilisk glare from my eyes
Tasted your furnace breath in my throat
Your envenomed blood runs through my veins
You have always been my first love
From the time when no one loved me
Your claws beneath my fingernails
Gave me strength to stand, to walk, to leave
I know your pain
I am your pain
The weakness that disgusts you
Is all I have to give
I cannot ask you to surrender your brazen scales for my soft skin
Your steel for my bone
Your lightning for my stillness
I do not ask, I can not ask, that you lay down your arms
Devils walk this ruined Earth yet
It is good that you are wary
I know the scream that is your voice
It is born in my lungs
And I claim it as my own
I will never forget you, beautiful monster

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About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008MPNBNS
This entry was posted in On Writing, Poetry, Who I am and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Songs Of Ourselves

  1. Green Embers says:

    Ooo, I liked this. Well done!

  2. Green Embers says:

    Reblogged this on Green Embers and commented:
    great thoughts and poem.

  3. sknicholls says:

    I will write a poem about myself but I won’t link or post it. It will be an introspection to aid in the development of my character, people can read it posthumously and have opinions if they like…if they can figure it out…that might be the hard part as I have yet to figure me out.

  4. LindaGHill says:

    I wrote mine a couple of weeks ago: http://lindaghillfiction.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/guilded-guilt-extraordinaire/
    Good exercise indeed. Nice post. 🙂

  5. MishaBurnett says:

    This was sent via e-mail for me to post anonymously:

    Cruel Mistress

    A shiny face, a smiling mouth, eyes lit up like stars,
    You seem so very nice, so very sweet, no claws or cares at all
    But what say you when the lights turn off, when the kids go home,
    When you are all alone with your thoughts?

    A harsh, cruel line, no smiles on this face,
    You watch blankly, as if through a window
    Screams, you hear not, pain, you care not
    The little people do not matter in this room

    I hate you, impassive little bitch
    As cold as ice, as hard as steel,
    But I needed you then, and I may need you still
    And that is why I never turn the light on

  6. I like the ‘self’ poems. It’s definitely a love hate relationship. I’ll have to see what I can come up with…

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