Louis Gibbs

THE AGONY AND THE ECSTACY

I attend a concert,

And my heart overflows

As it resonates with the beauty

Of music of the heavenly spheres

That falls upon my ears,

And tears of exhilaration

Flow freely down my cheeks.

 

I read a paper,

And my heart breaks

From the mindless, unspeakable cruelty

Inflicted upon innocent children,

About which there is nothing I can do,

And tears born of pain

Flow freely down my cheeks.

 

How is it that pure joy and exhilaration

Bring forth the same flow of tears from the heart

As do empathic pain and despair?

Is it that one causes longing for my true home

By reminding me of what it is,

While the other causes longing for it

By confronting me with that which it is not?

 

Must this heart ache so

At these two extremes of

This spectrum of sorrow and bliss?

Is heartache the price we pay for being human,

And will it be worth so dear a price?

We shall see ...

We shall see.

Comments11

  • burning-embers

    True these two extremes bring forth tears. The price of being human u ask. A spiritual question indeed. Seek the teachings of the oldest religions and you may find some answers. There were answers to my questions.

    • Louis Gibbs

      Ah, religion. Good old religion. This practice is sanctioned by a very old and widely-practiced religion that considers women to be no more than possessions to be dealt with however men chose ... often worse than their livestock. Don't get me started on the subject of religions, I'm afraid my opinion of them has severely damaged by the actions taken by and sponsored by their followers over the centuries, and still today. I apologize for 'dumping on you like this, but you struck a nerve, b-e. Thank you for reading and responding!

      • burning-embers

        Apologies for giving you angst, was far from my intention. Narrow mindedly i was thinking the Buddhist teachings and disregarding others.

      • Stephen.Sapaugh

        I really like a lot of the things that you are doing in this poem. For instance your alliteration, rhyme scheme, meter, and repetition are really well developed. However, there is one stanza that sticks out like a sore thumb. ,"How is it that pure joy and exhilaration

        Bring forth the same flow of tears from the heart

        As do empathic pain and despair?

        Is it that one causes longing for my true home

        By reminding me of what it is,

        While the other causes longing for it

        By confronting me with that which it is not?"

        The rest of your poem follows a simple scheme. The first two stanzas are 6 lines that show and don't tell followed by Flow freely down my cheeks. Then your third stanza just begins to ask questions ,and I would argue too many questions. You could try editing the third stanza and trying to tie your thoughts up by ending it with the same line as the first two.

        For instance you could use a metaphor like a waterfall to ask your question instead of asking the question out right. And it would even flow with your last line flow freely down my cheeks.

        Other than that you could also work on your last stanza, and use colors to describes the extremes, or other things in nature.

        I hope this helps. You have a lot of potential, and I really enjoyed a lot of this poem. If I were to grade it I would give it a 7/10.

        • Louis Gibbs

          Thank you for your scholarly response, Stephen, but I am not a poet in the traditional sense, nor do I intend to be. My writing might be considered "Philoetry" ... 'philosophy presented as poetry'. It streams from deep inside of me, this poem in particular. I'm sorry that you got caught up in the scholarly presentation of it and did not, or could not, respond to the atrocity it conveys.

          • Stephen.Sapaugh

            I would argue that it conveys a dichotomy, instead of an atrocity. Also, you defiantly have the poetry bug in you. However, you might fall into that category of individuals who like to convey ideas through their poems instead of being a slave to the words themselves. I unfortunately just like the way words roll of the lips. How they can present ideas just through two being joined together, or an interesting usage of punctuation.I can tell you put a lot of work into this poem, and I hope you will become more of a poet instead of a Philoetrists, because if you do not we will lose talent that could better be spent. Also, maybe you should spend some time reading the poetry of Matthew Arnold. He was famous for always making his poems about something. I'm sure by studying him you might be able to further your art in a more precise manor.

            The dichotomy that is presented in your poem is quite stark, and very poignant. I too have thought of how tears can convey two things, and how they are so stark in their meaning. However, thankfully in English we can use modifiers like of joy, or of sorrow to better convey our meanings. I know what your saying though. Sometimes you wonder if someone is crying after they found out that they are pregnant that they have a life inside of them, and that it is a great joy. Or, are they crying because now they think their life is over? It's a stark contrast, and you hope they are crying because of the joy of the promise of a new life.

          • FredPeyer

            Well written Louis! And it is true that both positive and negative events can trigger tears. We cry in happiness and we cry in pain.

            • Louis Gibbs

              Thanks for reading and responding, Fred. Much appreciated!

            • Louis Gibbs

              No need to apologize, b-e, but thank you just the same. Apologies are in order from me for allowing myself to be triggered that way. As you can no doubt tell, my feelings run deep on the subject of religions in general. I really appreciate your input!

            • Candlewitch

              dear Louis,
              I really related to these lines:

              Must this heart ache so
              At these two extremes of
              This spectrum of sorrow and bliss?
              Is heartache the price we pay for being human,
              And will it be worth so dear a price?
              We shall see ...
              We shall see.

              I also can relate to your feelings on god and religion! I was abused by my religious/fanatical grandmother (maternal gm.) I have read the christian bible and found many holes in the stories... such as: god made Adam, then Eve. Adam & Eve begat Cain and Able. Cain killed Able. god marked Cain for life, then sent him off to live with another tribe...What Freakin' Other Tribe???
              hope you got a chuckle out of this story, lol.

              *hugs, Cat

            • Renzi

              As alfred said .. We cry in happiness and we cry in pain. But make not fault in knowing as a human those tears are different feelings.

              • Louis Gibbs

                Thanks for that lovely response, Renzi. Much appreciated.

              • Louis Gibbs

                Oops, that does appear to be a hole, doesn't it. It could have been an extra-terrestrial tribe I suppose.
                So sorry you were abused like that, Candlewitch! My childhood abuse was slanted more toward the psychological and psychic forms, mixed in with some good old fashion belt beatings ... well rounded abuse you could say.
                Thank you so much for your very kind response to my poem.

                • Candlewitch

                  dear Louis,

                  I am sorry about the abuse you suffered through. after childhood abuse, I graduated and went on to be sexually abused by my brother-in-law. age 13 almost 14. it is where eddy styx comes from.

                  *hugs, Cat

                  • Louis Gibbs

                    You have certainly been through the wars too. We didn't pick easy lives this time, did we.

                  • Louis Gibbs

                    I'm surprised that no one has commented on the atrocity described in the author's comment section of this poem. Maybe the comments aren't usually read.
                    This is a horrible practice which has left an open wound on my heart. It was presented to the General Assembly of the UN by a survivor, who is now a big-time model, campaigning to have the practice stopped. I just wanted to get the awareness out there.

                  • Goldfinch60

                    Very true Louis, our emotions can be pulled apart with both joy and sadness.

                    • Louis Gibbs

                      Well said, my friend. Thanks for your input.,

                    • Gary Edward Geraci

                      Spot on! Bravo! For me, your last two lines "We shall see...we shall see." prophetically ring more of hope than doubt, more of retributive justice than black, desolate nihilism. Your source is a well formed conscience my friend.

                      • Louis Gibbs

                        Thank you kindly, Gary, for these gracious remarks! My muse shares insights generously.

                        • Gary Edward Geraci

                          Further, the presupposition that poetry is paltry for the purpose of promoting philosophy, peace, and other good causes is unsubstantiated and preposterous. One needs only to look toward the American Renaissance period. F.O. Matthiessen coined this name (1941). He "...emphasized the devotion of these writers to the principles of democracy and traced their religious ideas to New England Puritanism. He established their near obsessive concern with the relationship between the individual and society." (Source: A Poet's Glossary by Edward Hirsh) What about the great beat poets Kerouac and Ginsberg? "... when Alan Ginsberg read his apocalyptic poem "Howl" at a gallery in San Francisco in 1955 -... a barrier had been broken, the human voice and body had been hurled against the harsh wall of America and its supporting armies and navies in academies and institutions and ownership systems and power-support basis." (ibid) Keep writing with "purpose" my friend .

                        • 1 more comment

                        • Micalina

                          This is a very sad poem and the mutation of these young girls is horrible. I live in the UK and Porto too and in the UK there are parents who actually send their children back to the country where they came or try to get a doctor to do it. There are many flyers about and woman that have written books about it. It should not be practiced

                          • Louis Gibbs

                            It is barbaric and I can't believe still practiced today! It tears me up to think about it. Thank you, Micalina, your input is appreciated.



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