I’m sharing one final poem to help wrap up my series on “Boys, The Good & The Bad.”
In college, I began writing longer poems that were more narrative in nature. I have several written at various time for various reasons. It was a way to express myself in a free-running manner while still telling a story of some sort.
This is one I wrote towards the end of my senior year at college (read Part III of my series). This was a painful year, a year I began to shut down emotionally, really deal with some intense stuff, etc. So I wrote this poem as I tried to process my own heartbreak, my own story of healing and renewal.
I didn’t finish this poem until this summer, though. So it’s a poem that has spanned several years.
It’s a story. A fairy tale. A tale of healing and redemption.
(I also apologize for some of the formatting in this. WordPress is silly, and so it looked better in Word. Oh well).
The Girl, The Heart, & The Tower
Once Upon A Time,
there was girl who did not know what love was.
To her, love was what was portrayed in magazines and movies:
You gave your whole heart, your worth, your happiness
to a person.
And life was supposed to be lived happily ever after.
Then she grew a little.
And she fell in love with a boy.
Oh, how she loved him!
She took her heart completely out of her chest
and gave it all to this boy.
Her whole heart, her worth, her happiness
to that one person.
Because that is what love is, right?
But the boy she fell in love with did not return her affections.
He took her heart,
—her heart that was now completely out of her chest,
throbbing with hope and eagerness to love and be loved—
and he abused it.
He took her heart and crushed it,
pressing and beating and pounding it into a bruised mess.
And then he threw it on the ground,
and he left.
He walked away,
leaving her heart on the sidewalk,
alone and helpless,
still bleeding from all those wounds.
The girl had never known that so much pain could exist.
She looked with shock at her heart lying there
on the pavement.
And she knew that life would never, ever be the same.
The aching hole in her chest began to throb and throb.
Desperately, she tried to put her heart back into her chest,
but she couldn’t do it!
Try as she might, it was too heavy now with sorrow
and she couldn’t even lift it.
And it was so tender now.
It hurt so badly because of the bruises, the wounds,
It was a mess of emotions and feelings
Lying on the pavement helplessly.
The girl didn’t know what to do.
So she started to cry.
She just sat on the pavement by her heart,
and she cried often when no one was around.
She felt so alone and helpless.
After a while, though, she knew she must get up and try and fix it.
She was tired of lying there like victim.
But she still couldn’t repair it on her own.
It was too big of a task.
“Will someone please help me repair this heart?” she asked.
“I can’t do it on my own!”
Other boys came.
They would handle her heart,
and they would throw it again on the sidewalk.
And the mess grew larger and larger.
Some took one look at her and ran.
Others stayed for a while,
admiring her from a distance,
but once they realized she was asking them to truly help,
to come alongside her and repair the mess of a heart
with deep emotions alongside it,
they quickly ran, too, out of fear.
“Just fix it!” she began to cry more and more.
Desperation began to sink in.
“Someone, please help me fix this!
Please be a man and protect my heart,
and help me overcome this.
And don’t be afraid of my sorrow.
If someone would just come and stay and not leave,
then I would recover.”
No one would help.
No one would come.
And still her heart lay there,
unprotected and vulnerable to everything in its path.
she began to realize that no one would come.
There would be no knight in shining armor.
Because fairy tales are for books,
and real life has no redemption in it.
Boys would be boys,
they would handle hearts carelessly
and play with emotions
and not care at all if her heart was injured more in the process.
“Fine,” she said.
“I don’t need them.”
And that deep desire for protection and safety
from a man died in her.
“I can do this on my own,” she said.
“I always seem to make the same mistakes.
Guys can’t be trusted,
and I can’t be trusted.
Therefore, I give up that hope.
Hope and trust are for silly romantics who have not yet tasted pain. ”
So she began building the Tower.
She collected bricks and stones,
raising up a fortress of bitterness.
The mortar that held everything together was fear:
Fear of vulnerability,
fear of pain and hurt,
fear of relationships,
fear of mistakes and failures,
fear of being left again and again.
She began constructing a tower around her and her heart:
It was a tower of dreams
that had nothing to do with men.
Her ideals shifted to that of independence
and aloneness and careers.
She did not need a man.
She did not need people.
Her heart was safe in her Tower—
and she breathed a sigh of relief.
For at least her heart would not be trampled upon
or thrown on the ground anymore.
Still, in her quiet moments,
she felt very sad.
And for some reason she could not decide why.
The girl would sometimes open up the window to her Tower,
and peer out and interact a little.
But fear always drove her back in,
slamming the windows shut.
And in the Tower she began to suffocate.
Fear was all around her now.
Darkness entrenched her.
The Tower blocked out
She couldn’t feel,
or taste Life.
Real Life had ceased.
Her heart was in a vacuum of senselessness.
And in panic, she realized she had shut herself off
to feeling, to love.
Self-protection had led to alienation.
She had shut out everyone.
She was truly alone.
It was dead inside that Tower.
But she was trapped inside now.
And all she could do was shake in fear.
But then, He came.
At first, there was only a faint sound of His steps,
coming nearer and nearer.
The girl looked out of the Tower
and saw His approach from far away.
She had seen His likeness before,
in pictures, in stained glass windows, on wooden crosses.
But in reality, He was so different than any of those images.
He approached with the determination of a general at war,
riding on a white horse,
a sword glimmering at his side,
and His eyes were like the lightning.
And she cowered in her Tower,
for the very sight of Him in all His realness
struck fear and trembling into her very bones.
“He cannot see me like this!” she thought.
“I am ugly, worthless, ashamed.
This is all my doing.
I’m trapped, and I deserve to be left here
in my own sins.”
The first words He said were,
“Do not fear,”
gently, just like He were talking to small child.
He surveyed her Tower,
and instead of dark judgment in His eyes,
there was compassion instead.
“Do you wish to be free?” He asked.
She nodded and could not speak.
So He began to walk around her Tower.
And as He walked in slow circles
with steady steps,
He began to speak.
“You are loved,” gently.
“I am loved?” she asked with quavering doubt.
“Yes, you are loved,” He said.
“I am loved,” she repeated.
And all at once, His words began to sink in.
“I am loved!” she said louder.
“I am loved!” again with exceeding joy.
And He began walking around, destroying her Tower.
One by one,
the bricks of fear and bitterness and anger began to fall away.
It took much longer than she thought it would.
Each brick falling away was painful,
because the girl was not used to the sun and the beauty anymore.
And she stumbled upright and looked at Him in awe,
blinking in wonder.
Her heart still lay on the ground.
He reached towards her heart,
and He picked it up in His great hands.
The heart was enveloped in His strong fingers.
His hands covered it completely and deeply.
He held it tenderly.
He rubbed it and massaged it
so that it began to truly live once more.
It began to beat again.
The beatings of the heart were painful at first.
The girl writhed a little.
It hurt—it hurt to feel things again.
Sorrow, joy, love, care…
“It’s too much,” she said.
“I don’t want a heart anymore.
Pain will come again.”
“To love is to see pain,” He said.
“But to live is to love. Real Life is made of love.
Will you sit in death forever?”
Her eyes welled with tears.
Because she knew it was worth it.
To have an alive heart was worth it.
And He placed her heart back in her chest,
and she felt the embrace of His hands holding her heart safely,
a protection and a love enveloping her heart like never before.
She knew that now,
her heart was hers and His.
It was safely where it should be.
He kissed her on the forehead.
And He showed her the vast, open world before her,
spread out in green rolls of earth,
the horizon melting into the distance,
great mountains soaring overhead like marching sentinels.
And He said,
And so she did.
She ran through the fields.
She climbed the misty mountains.
She drank from the rippling streams.
The wind blew through her hair,
and it carried her away on its currents.
She was free at last.
And she lived Real Life.
Spring 2011, Summer 2013