“Power of Poetry” by EBONY STEWART

I remember being eight or nine when my parents finally got divorced. Or should I say, when my mother finally gathered all her strength to leave my father. She took us with her. I wasn’t sad, I knew they shouldn’t be together. I knew my mother deserved someone better for her and us girls.

For the next few years I used my voice when I felt it necessary. I remember trying to make life as easy as possible for my mom. The less I talked the more I listened. I heard the most awful and often beautiful things ever, but none were as beautiful as the images that was in my head.

My mother took us to a psychiatrist. I think she mostly wanted to make sure that my sister and I were okay. Since I didn’t talk much at home and the teachers said I didn’t really talk much at school my mother was hoping that I’d talk to a complete stranger about my feelings. Seemed silly to me then, but now I know, mama was desperate. The psychiatrist, God love her, was so patient with me and my silent tongue, my blank stares. One day she handed me a composition journal. I swirled around until the pen danced words. Real words. Words with feeling and meaning.

I loved to write. I loved to express myself in hurt and in search for love or healing. I wrote the ghosts that haunted me. I imagined the love I needed. I spoke the name of anger and disappointment. Journaling turned into poetry. Poetry became freeing. I write now still because I have to. I have to get it out. Writing is the only thing I taught myself as a way to keep from drowning. Music was great too. A rhythm to words, something to match the heartbeat.

When I see a young adult staring at a blank page, with a blank stare, resting their silent tongues, I know they are thinking about one of three things… How I’m gonna change the world. How I’m gonna tell my story. How I’m gonna love again and again. Poetry does that. Poetry saves lives. Words are the angels that save us, grow us into adulthood. Words are the weapons we leave home with. Not how many we have, but how we choose to use the ones we do.

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