I wrote this poem during my high school days when I was in my third depression, and when I found what an incredible healing tool writing could be. The 14th stanza (I’ve put it in bold.) has become a mantra for me when life splits at the seams.
(Woab! I just had a metacognition flash typing that paragraph: The act of finding something beautiful in a terrible time reflects the poem’s message itself. I found writing in my depression. [Oh, the isometric beauty!])
Of course, I’ve updated the poem a bit, and am offering it in hopes that it might be a source of solace for whatever life personal plagues you with while COVID-19 plagues our world.
Tea Party Once there were three maidens, Ms. Barty, Ms. Harty, and Ms. Higgins, Who were all very close friends. They had all suffered through hardships greatly And wished with life to make amends On a bright spring day, With the sun and shadow mingled under the lilac tree, There, our ladies three made their way To drink their afternoon tea At Ms. Barty’s tea party Their troubles they poured into one another, As they poured out the tea, And set the china on lacy doilies fanning splendidly. There they sat and sipped reverently. As the maidens sat abreast Ms. Barty noticed that her guests new possessions had obtained “Such lovely-fine things, What a gorgeous necklace you possess, Ms. Harty! And, Ms. Higgins, what a glorious ring!” For around Ms. Harty’s neck, a string of pearls did rest With such a hue with light a-dancing, Such luster a-prancing across the gleaming pearls And on Ms. Higgin’s finger A golden ring did linger With gems sparkling like stars plucked from the night Who forgot to sleep their light When the morning dawn did bright Such beauty were the treasures For Ms. Barty’s eyes to take pleasure That for a time she took and leisured Upon the interest that seized her Until remember her trouble did she do “I too have something new for you,” said, Ms. Barty Although, please you mine, it’s not so fine But dim our sorrows might it do At least until tomorrow For now, these hours let us borrow, And perhaps peace for us may follow.” From her purse, she took a bottle Filled with scarlet wine. She filled the empty china cups, And peace they did find for a time While Ms. Barty sat a-thinking Staring at her friends new wealth, And swirling the wine in her cup, a notion pierce her heart. Such a notion that gripped her attention That she could not drown it with the wine And so ruminating with the time Formed in her mind a revelation And on this contemplation her soul did sup She placed back the china cup On the fanning doilies And turned to the maidens did she, The maidens under the swaying lilac tree “Friends, we have suffered greatly, Our hearts broken often and lately, But take this thought not lightly For it troubles me more than all the others, And I must know what it means to you, my sisters. What if sorrow and pain are like wine? Their value becoming good over time Although horribly bitter to go through, Adds richness to life once been brewed. Their drinks they did forsake As they let this ruminate, The maidens three Under the swaying lilac tree “An interesting point you make,” said Ms. Higgins, “Although I’m not quite sure what you mean. Are you sure it’s not the wine talking And rightly, you are not thinking? What is good about sorrow and pain? Surely, you do not wish to experience them again?" “No. I have suffered tragedy plenty. Dearest friends, just try to see Even though the idea does seem strange But, me, the drink has not deranged I only mean that perhaps sorrow Cannot be understood until tomorrow. Just like wine is not good when first made. Time must pass before it can be an accolade. Or like the lilac tree, In the shade that guards us three. When it must be pruned, Damage must be ensued, So that the next season it will flourish And bloom and joy bring for us.” “Or like the oyster when the pearl is in the making?” said Ms. Harry in a whirl, Tossing her curls and clutching her pearls. “Exactly, my dear friend,” said Ms. Barty “Do you see too, Ms. Higgins?” Higgins fiddled with her ring as she thought And upon the ring the epiphany was draught “Like when gold in fire is refining?”said, Ms. Higgins Glancing at the gleaming band. “Or how gems cannot form without stress? But surely, you do not mean our troubles, we are to bless?!” “Of course not,” said Ms. Barty Our hearts do and will hurt from breaking, But if I keep in mind that in the process There are not only losses. That while life is painstaking There may be redemption for the taking If I we seek the treasures inside the ventures. Put away the wine they did And brewed another round of tea Seeing that it was heat that made the treat. They poured back through their memories As they relieved times of old, finding portions of suffering now turned to gold. And so they had a wonderful time Life had been turned to wine At Ms. Barty’s tea party The three maiden-girls Now marveled at their new pearls Valuing the sanctity Of life’s bitter-sweet, melancholy-harmony Laughing at the serendipity Did the maidens all a-three Under the swaying lilac tree.
What is a quote and or mantra that helps you when life is difficult?