Poetry Friday: Sorry, but this won’t be pleasant, or clever, or funny.

h1 January 9th, 2009 by eisha

hopeRecently a friend’s entire life got turned upside down by domestic violence. I don’t know a lot of details, and obviously it’d be uncool to share them here without her permission, but I know that she was very seriously afraid of someone she lived with, and had to get away from him in a hurry. I haven’t known her all that long, but I’m still so shaken by what happened, so sorry that I had no idea what she must have been going through. I wish I could have helped.

I wish I could say this is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this happen to someone I care about. But it’s not.

She’s better off than some people who end up in this kind of situation. She has relatives she can live with. She has friends who are willing to risk their own safety to stand between her and a dangerous man. But still… I’m worried for her.

So, to my friend (and anyone else who might need it), I want to say: Do not be ashamed. You do not deserve this. It’s not your fault. But you can live through this, and it will get better. You’ve already done the hardest part. And you have friends, and family. Don’t be too proud to lean on them. They care about you, and they want to help.

There’s no poem that’s going to fit here, but I thought some words of hope would be useful. So here’s a few from the Patron Saint of Oppressed Women, Emily Dickinson:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird—
That kept so many warm—

I’ve heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.

Also, if anyone should happen to need it or know someone who does, here’s contact info for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which can provide crisis intervention, safety planning, information and referrals to agencies in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands: http://www.ndvh.org/ (warning: computers can be monitored – don’t click on the link unless you feel secure on the computer you’re using), 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

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12 comments to “Poetry Friday: Sorry, but this won’t be pleasant, or clever, or funny.”

  1. So sorry to hear about your friend, Eisha. Sending thoughts, prayers and good vibes that she’ll come through okay.


  2. Oh, Eisha. How awful. And what a good thing to do, to post links and a phone number. This is such an important message to convey.

    I know of someone who stayed after the first incident of domestic violence, and her boyfriend (unfortunately, I knew his family and not the young woman) later killed her.

    At least once a month here in suburban CT, there is a newspaper police report of a domestic fight between two people.

    I am glad your friend got away. I wish her better times. I hope she has an attorney and a court order of protection.


  3. I find courage and hope in your friend’s decision. Beautiful things come out of difficult times, and it is good to have friends to walk with you. She is lucky to have such a friend. Perhaps my contribution for today might give her some comfort and strength:

    “Come to the edge, he said.
    They said: We are afraid.
    Come to the edge, he said.
    They came,
    He pushed them,
    and they flew.”

    – Guillaume Apollinaire


  4. What a wonderful post. And there’s no rule that says that all posts must be funny. This is a fine example of the best sort of unfunny post – one that provides good sense and advice, and offers succor to those that need it. Well done.


  5. Someone I love very, very, very much was a victim of domestic violence. She ran away… *gulp* This post and all the comments made me cry.

    I truly pray for protection and healing for your friend!


  6. Oh Eisha, I’m so sorry — yet so grateful, as others have said, that your friend has gotten away from it!

    Domestic violence is not only vicious in its own right but it’s a vicious cycle, extremely difficult to break out of and away from.

    One of my favorite bloggers, Maggie of the Okay, Fine, Dammit blog, has started to lay the groundwork for victims to share their stories and seek (and get!) help in non-threatening, completely safe ways. The project is to be called Violence Unsilenced. Here is Maggie’s post announcing it, with links to some of her earlier thoughts on the subject.

    (And Eisha: THANK YOU for the Dickinson poem!)


  7. Oh, Eisha, I’m so sorry that your friend is going through that. But glad that she’s getting help. And I agree with Kelly – there’s no one saying that every post has to be funny. This post is real and heartfelt, and that’s important, too.


  8. All the effort I made to get to love a man faded away the day he slapped my face when he lost control one afternoon on Dec. 6th, 2007.
    I told him not to come back until the first day of January, 2008. He said he’s prayed about it but I don’t care. We came back after a month or two, but just in case, I don’t want any more pictures of us to be taken.
    People would say a slap in the face is nothing, but in my case, it meant the end of love.
    I’m very glad your friend made that choice.
    I’m very glad you support her.
    A lot of strenght for you both!


  9. jama, thanks for the good vibes.

    Susan, that’s so very sad. And just goes to show, this stuff happens way too much.

    Holly, that’s one of the loveliest things I’ve ever read. Thank you so much for sharing it.

    Kelly and Jen, thanks. I know they don’t HAVE to be funny, but this is heavier than I usually go.

    Tarie, I send all the best wishes in the world to your runaway loved one, too.

    JES, thanks so much for the link, and thanks to Maggie for creating such a necessary and honest resource for victims.

    another Maggie, good for you for knowing that a slap is absolutely, definitely NOT nothing. It’s plumb wrong. Stay strong, and thanks for your honesty.


  10. Eisha–and yes, Emily, too– the great thing about the Internet is that your words will be here as a beacon for a long time. You won’t always know to whom they gave Hope, but they will.


  11. This recently happened to one of my friends, too. What I found even more disturbing was that the attacker was a friend of mine, too.

    You think you know people, but you rarely do.

    If you like that poem that Holly posted from Apollinaire, you should come upstairs and borrow “The Bestiary.” It’s in our poetry collection. You’ll love it.


  12. Thank you for posting this, Eisha. Right now, one of my mom’s good friends is dealing with this issue, made all the more complicated by kids who need to be kept safe. The situation looks dismal, and I fear the worst outcome. I am hoping for a breakthrough.


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