Poetry on video: “easter”

Today’s poem, “easter”, is from part seven (“hints of daylight”) of Iron Man Family Outing, and is one of the final poems in the book.

The dream recounted in this poem was a real breakthrough for me in the course of what has proven to be a journey of many years toward greater reconciliation with my experience of my father and a more complete comprehension of who he is (and was) as a human being, with his own fears, failures, dreams, and disappointments.

In the years since this dream came to me, I’ve gradually worked my way to a deeper, fuller appreciation and understanding of the circumstances of my father’s life, which has helped me heal myself in relation to my inner father, the father I internalized as a child and carry with me at all times. But my relationship with my outer father, the man himself, has never improved, and I don’t believe it ever will.

This is a paradox I hadn’t expected. I would have thought that being able to see my father’s life through his eyes, as best I could, would have gone a long way toward improving the relationship between us, but I finally realized that a deeper empathy and understanding for him on my part did not imply the same from him for me. Ultimately, I had to come to terms with the fact that he wasn’t going to change, nor was his treatment of me going to change, no matter what I did or how I transformed my view of him and his life. At that point, I knew my outer relationship with him was over. But my work on the inner relationship continues, as I expect it will for the rest of my life.

As I wrote at the conclusion of “Broken Bones and the Father Wound”:

… his life continues to influence mine, even across the distance of time and space, in ways both obvious and mysterious, as I continue to work toward resolution and completion of my relationship with him, that distant point on the inner horizon of my psyche toward which I am always aiming and always moving, but may never reach.

For more poetry on video, visit my YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/rickbeldenpoet.

Creative Commons License
Poetry on video: “easter” by Rick Belden, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

7 thoughts on “Poetry on video: “easter”

  1. Hi Rick,

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful poem on video and your reflections on it. There’s so much truth in this poem for anyone who’s dealt with moving beyond the “demon parent.”

    I’m an emotional abuse survivor, and it took me a long time to put myself in my parents’ place and understand why they behaved as they did and the pain they suffered themselves. Both were emotionally abused by their parents and were looking to soothe their pain through their children. In the process, they hurt us in very deep ways.

    What you say about the discomfort in empathizing with our abusers really goes very deep. I was thinking recently about how I don’t want to get over my anger because it’s like I have to relieve my parents of their responsibility in hurting me. I think empathy with our abusers is similar. There’s a fear that feeling their pain somehow minimizes ours.

    At the same time, a relationship is always two-sided. Building a healthy relationship with our abusive parents starts with them recognizing that their behavior was wrong. I don’t know about you, but in the process of healing, I’ve had to look at how I was emotionally abusive towards my family and my friends, so I know how difficult it is to admit you’re an abuser. But they can do it if they really want to change. If they can’t or won’t then they don’t want to change badly enough, and there’s nothing we can do about that.

    Again, thank you again for sharing this beautiful poem.

    Stay strong!

  2. Rainbow: Thanks very much for visiting and sharing your perspective on this poem and some of the issues it raises.

    Lately, as I’ve been pondering those very issues, I’ve found myself reminded of a few lines from the Bob Dylan song “Idiot Wind”:

    You’ll never know the hurt I suffered nor the pain I rise above
    And I’ll never know the same about you, your holiness or your kind of love
    And it makes me feel so sorry …

    Or as I wrote in another poem called “face my ghosts”:

    nobody’s perfect
    nobody’s all bad
    nobody’s all good
    and nobody knows
    what it’s like to live in
    somebody else’s skin.

    Like you, I’ve had to look at the shadow side of my own patterns and behavior in order to take full responsibility for my own healing and my own life. It’s not easy work and, if we’re honest with ourselves, it really never ends. And as we’ve both said, doing that work ourselves is no guarantee that others around us will do it, too.

    I appreciate your encouraging feedback. Making these videos and putting them out there is a big leap for me. My hope is that what I’m doing will give others some reference points and some entry points into their own experience that they didn’t have before, and that it will encourage them to find and reclaim their own truth.

    Speaking of which, I spent a little time exploring your blog (rainbowgryphon.com) and was very impressed at the quality of material you’re posting. Very nice work!

  3. It’s great to see you do videos, Rick. I really appreciated seeing your face. You look different than you used to. Thinner somehow. And you also feel younger to me. Have you gone through a lot of change since we last spoke?

    I like your poem. And through that, I’m connecting more deeply with the fact that my relationship with my father is, relatively speaking, not so broken after all. He never expressed his love for me in the ways which I desired and he failed to give me the guidance I wanted, but for the most part, at least he wasn’t abusive.

    I’m sorry to hear that your process of reconciliation with him hasn’t changed your relationship. It has for me. I wish that it someday will for you too. It has softened up something inside of me and I’m grateful for it.

    Your dad must carry tremendous fear, grief and guilt…

    • Eivind: Good of you to watch and comment. I’ve dropped almost 20 lbs of junk weight since leaving that toxic job that was beating the life out of me last July, so yes, I’m definitely thinner. I’ve also dropped a lot of psychic weight, for lack of a better term, during that time, so maybe I’ve turned the clock back a few ticks as well.

      I’m glad that this poem has helped you feel the unique truth of your relationship with your own father more deeply. As I wrote in my response to Rainbow above, that is exactly my intent in sharing this work: that it will provide others with a point of access into their own lives and their own truth.

  4. I think there is something powerful about being able to look at a person (especially an abuser) and see the whole person. It does lead to a greater understanding…even though nothing can excuse what the abuser has done, it helps me to achieve some sort of understanding. I have tried to do this with members of my own family (and been more successful with some than with others).

    That last quote really spoke to me. I am still marveled by the ways my abusive family members (who I haven’t had actual contact with for years) still influence me in ways that I don’t wholly understand.

    I really love this format for poetry sharing, being able to hear you read it, and then read your commentary. Poetry always feels hard for me to read, but the way you are presenting it makes it feel much more accessible to me.

    Thank you for sharing this with the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse!

  5. Thank you, Tracie, for taking the time to watch, read, and share your thoughts on this post. I also appreciate your comments about the format. I’d like to do some more of these video/commentary posts in the future. Don’t know when that might happen, though. I have to be in just the right mood and frame of mind to read for the camera, and I still struggle with lighting issues, so it’s almost like one of those planetary alignment deals that only happens every so often. Hopefully my inner and outer planets will line up again soon so I can do some more of these.

  6. Pingback: “easter” – Beyond Meds