Damn the Man,  The Sacred Arts,  Writing

Saving the World, One Poem at a Time

I just wrote a post that left me in tears. How could I publish something so ranty, so raw and so potentially argument provoking? I hit save, closed my laptop, and walked away to have my cry out.

Here I am again.

I’m very upset over not just the government shutdown and the lives in turmoil because of it, but over the reactions of people I know. I have never seen such vitriol, such a lack of compassion.

It gets to me.

But after a good cry and a good think, I decided that the world doesn’t need another rant from someone who has been hurt by what’s going on in Washington and how it trickles down to folks in the neighborhood. There are already plenty of rants on the Internet. Mine would get lost in the white noise, causing strife for the few who read this blog.

I’m not interested in creating strife right now, just to prove a point.

Instead, I’m choosing to contribute something positive.

I’ve been participating in OctPoWriMo, writing a poem for every day of October. Actually, I’ve been doing this since August.ย No, I haven’t been posting the poems on my blog – something about it felt wrong when I went to hit “publish” on the first, and I had to follow my instinct. But I have a journal full of poems, some good, some so awful they should be used as kindling.

In the spirit of contributing something beautiful to the world, I’m sharing one of them.


A breeze
can caress
with refreshment
a soothing kind of
sorcery whispering
of lands uncharted and fresh
horizons. Or unbid’n,
it may melt, or freeze
depending on
nothing much
at all


I also want to leave you with this admonition:

Don’t make the world uglier just to prove a point. Instead, maybe focus onย helping out. If you know someone who has been furloughed or lost a job, assist them with the groceries or make them a meal. Babysit for someone who has lost their local childcare program. If I can help someone in some sort of material way, please let me know in the comments or send me an email. I may not have a lot to give, but I will help in any way I can.

Let’s treat each other with kindness and compassion. We’re in this together.

– – –

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  • Linda Roy

    YES! This so needed to be said. The last time we saw this kind of vitriol was during the election, but then, you’re right – I don’t think it was quite like this. Every time I see something divide this country further it’s so sad and discouraging. Here we have this amazing president and everything he’s trying to do is darkened by political in fighting. And I loved your poem. Especially the last lines – “…nothing much at all…” Yes. Sometimes the stress of it all calls for a good cry and just to “write it out”. I hope you feel better. This post made me feel better. And glad you’re doing OctPoWriMo.
    Linda Roy recently posted…OctPoWriMo: Day 4 – What?!My Profile

    • Natalie DeYoung

      I know! I thought nothing could be worse than the election, but I was wrong. Sigh. I thought we at least had a four-year break from it all…
      And thanks. I love the creativity writing a poem a day fosters…

  • Kristin

    Very human — and compassionate. It’s so important for those with extra doses of empathy to be able to take deep breaths and focus and then keep on. Think of the quotation from Mr. Rogers that always comes out when a terrible tragedy occurs: “Look for the helpers.” It really does work! There is more good in the world than bad. There is more compassion than vitriol. It’s just that the constancy of good is often lost in the furor of nasty. Many virtual hugs.
    Kristin recently posted…Raising Voices: Gun Violence Prevention EditionMy Profile

  • From Novels to Board Books

    I love your poem. It reminds me of Robert Frost’s poetry. Keep writing poetry!

    I, too, am sick by the miasma of vitriol. Even when my toddler throws a tantrum, I’m convinced his behavior is more mature than some members of Congress. I’m leaving for Ireland today, and I know I’ll get lots of questions about this shutdown. I need to formulate a pithy response.

  • Daniel Nest

    Great post. Internet makes it so damn easy for us to rant and spread negativity. Positive posts are much more difficult to come by.

    Same goes for offline world too, obviously. Let’s spread some good vibes for a change!
    Daniel Nest recently posted…Two eighty-sixMy Profile

  • LaTonya

    Natalie, I hear you, but, a if you’re rant is a desire, a call for compassion and charity, I encourage you to share it. It’s easier not to stir the pot, but what has most stirred you to make a change? I’ll bet part of it was not feeling comfortable, being provoked or outraged.

    I’m oblivious to the mindless, viral, narcissistic ranting that’s popular of FB. But that isn’t you nor your space here. Those who love and respect you, you can do that even if they disagree with you.

    I’m coming late to the party and this time, I skipped the comments before sharing my own because what I hear is a woman who is saying she thinks something is terribly wrong and to that I believe in speaking Truth to madness.

    Be well.
    LaTonya recently posted…Reading is FundamentalMy Profile

  • Punky Coletta

    My parents helped hubby and I buy groceries for years while he was out of work. He applied for at least hundreds of jobs during that time(we stopped counting after hundreds and I wonder if it went into the thousands?) and even McDonald’s wouldn’t hire him. Last week he got two job offers after looking for four years (he had sporadic seasonal work in that time). The day he came home with the second offer, my brother-in-law got laid off.
    My parents’ material help was very difficult to accept, but we did, and because of that, we didn’t have to do things like end up starving or homeless.
    My husband and I are both very hard workers and incredibly frugal people, and unemployment and financial hardship still happened to us, yet people were very judgmental and sometimes said horrible things about our situation.
    I will be forever grateful for my parents’ help.
    Punky Coletta recently posted…Sorry if this is too gross to share.My Profile

    • Natalie DeYoung

      I know how you feel. It’s so hard to accept help, especially when there’s so much shame involved. But I don’t think many understand what it’s like to fall on hard times and need help. It’s humbling, and I didn’t want to have to ask, but that safety net saves lives and prevents homelessness. We need to be kinder and more generous to each other.

  • Tamara T.

    Very lovely! And I agree, there is plenty of ugly in the world. No need to contribute to it! As for the shutdown, I love your suggestions of helping. We (as a society) are so self involved that we have lost sight of the simple joys of helping our neighbors. Of giving our time and energy out of love and friendship. Maybe it’s time we start changing that mindset. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Tamara T. recently posted…What is Faith?My Profile

  • Ilene

    This is such a gorgeous post – in so many ways – including but not limited to your poem. There is enough ranting and WAY more negativity than any of us need. I agree. Instead of contributing to it, I think we should all raise our hand like you did and offer to help. Well stated, my friend.
    Ilene recently posted…Good StuffMy Profile

  • Samantha Brinn Merel

    The headline on this morning was “Who will blink first?: Boehner: No cuts, no debt deal.” And when I read that my first reaction was to get furious and take to my blog with a rant about how they are both acting like petulant toddlers throwing a fit because their didn’t get their way. But then cooler heads prevailed. And, like you, I didn’t want to write just another hate filled diatribe on how mad I am and how ridiculous this whole thing is.

    I love that Kristin mentioned the Mr. Rogers quote “look for the helpers”, because that what I was thinking about when I read this post. If we all helped a little more, and fought a little bit less, maybe we would be able to find a path through all of the divisive madness.
    Samantha Brinn Merel recently posted…26.2: May 4, 2014My Profile

  • Kristi Campbell

    I love this. Thank you for the reminder about treating one another with kindness and compassion. My husband works for the government and has been deemed as “essential” which means he’s worked until 2am too many nights and both weekends (both days) for the past 2 weeks. He doesn’t know when he’ll be paid. My neighbors are both at home because they, too work for the government (we live in DC area). He’s fighting cancer and just hopes his insurance isn’t messed up. Thanks for the poem tonight. I needed it.
    Kristi Campbell recently posted…Bad mommy momentsMy Profile

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