As the winter solstice approaches–here in the Northern Hemisphere, our thoughts turn to long, dark nights and, often, gloomy days. Winter is a time for introspection in many spiritual traditions, and the body itself calls us to go within.
Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, calls attention to the various aspects of the human personality, contrasting that part of us we show to the world (even the world of bloggers, perhaps) with that aspect that we’ve so conveniently shoved into the unconscious: our shadow side. As we mature, an important developmental task is to integrate these two parts of us, to face those things that we would just as soon forget about, to work toward balance and to learn to tap into the darker energy, harness it and allow it to touch our creative selves. It is in the unconscious that our creativity thrives and it behooves us to unleash that energy by naming it.
Beauty and light are, no doubt, important attributes of poetry and poetic prose. But think about photography. If a scene is over-exposed, flooded with light, lacking shadow, it is uni-dimensional, flat, boring. It is the contrast that calls attention to the light.
Some of our best known, loved poets grappled with depression, addiction and similar disorders. Think of Sylvia Plath, Ann Sexton and Jane Kenyon to name of few of them. This doesn’t mean that, to write good poetry, we need to wallow in angst. Rather, it means that we need to be willing to open our eyes and SEE what is before us in all its complexity. The majesty of a soaring hawk contrasts with its predation of a tiny wren. Both are part of a hawk’s reality.
For today’s prompt, I invite you to go dark. Deal with a topic you would rather ignore, whether in society, in a particular cultural setting, or within yourself. Do not ask yourself, as you write, “What will ‘they’ think of me?” Don’t try to write to please or be accepted. Go ahead. Dive into to the dark, murky waters of the unconscious and allow that shadow side to emerge.
To join: write your poem, copy and paste to Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post, read other participants and have fun…sorry this is late. My automatic scheduling skills are deficient.