Poetry is a unique writing style where the author conveys complex ideas within few words. This is part of the reason I was drawn to poetry in my use. Even just half a sentence or a single word can cause a flood of imagery. Words like chaos, pandemonium, transcendence and exultation come to mind. A person may know their definition, but the imagery they see is unique. Poetry is a medium that plays with that imagery.
This is why I particularly love today’s poem. It’s one of my shorter pieces, which I think grants the words more impact. Taking up only one side of one page in my small notebook, it marks one of my early attempts at assigning meaning to life.
This poem was written on October 4, 2004. I was 14-years-old and a freshman in high school.
Life is an untold promise we are to find
Life is the destiny of wisdom
and where it takes our lives
Life is a mystery
Life is a crime
Life is the richest thing alive.
Life is an eternal destiny that follows you and I
Life is the danger
and it’s the light
It’s more than a spirit
and more than might
Life is the probability that you will make a difference
and it dies when that hope is lost
So, when all hope is lost
Yet still, one is found
with faith in their heart
the world may still go ’round
It’s no secret that I didn’t have that glorious of a childhood. Plagued by unfortunate circumstances out of my control and interests outside of the norm, I had a rough time with bullies and low self-esteem. I hit a low in 2000 where, at 10 years of age, I nearly thought of ending my misery. Thinking myself too cowardly at the time to do such a thing, I chose to live.
Perhaps I was lucky to have my unique interest. Children often hold TV heroes in high esteem and my hero was one Kenshin Himura who once said, “Anyone can die. It’s living that takes true courage.” He was a darker character, even though the TV show was often comedic. Living in regret, he moved through the world searching for repentance for his war crimes. Surrounded by demons greater than I could imagine in 2000, 2004 or even now, he chose to live. He found a meaning to life and moved forward.
I don’t know how many people consciously choose to live or if most are alive simply because they are, but I made a choice in 2000. While I promised myself that night that I would commit to that decision, I still hadn’t found my own meaning for life.
That is the place this poem comes from. What is life really? Why is it ever worth living? The older I got, the more I became aware of pain and suffering in the world far greater than any I had every experienced. How did people manage to go on living? What motivation is there to seek another sunrise if there is no meaning?
In this poem I found my answer. Life is many things, but is all comes down to our ability to make a difference and leave our imprint on this world. Whether that mark is transcribed in a blog or in the hearts of those who happen to encounter us, that is the purpose that moves us forward.
…well, it’s what moves me forward.
Have you ever consciously chosen to live? What does life mean to you? How did/do you survive life’s low points?