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Lament for Joy

By Martina Boland

Who knows why you died that night,
What  terrible pain,
Locked inside your mind,
Drove you out into the night,
Determined –
To end your life.

Only the birds knew,
As we sat there in group.
Birds talking,
Talking outside our time,
Terrible tones tumbling down,
Consternation in the trees outside,
Beseeching Silence to hear,
Beseeching us to hear,
Their cries,
As  their tears tumbled down,
From the skies,
For you.


Author’s note: Sometimes in life, people cross our paths accidentally, and something of their inner turmoil and valiant struggle to stay in the world touches us deeply somewhere inside. In the silence of that unspoken encounter, there is a recognition, however fleeting, of the beauty and fragility of the human spirit. It is an encounter with light. When they die by their own hand, we are left bereft of answers, numbed by the awful tragedy, that the lightedness and pain they embodied, could not find a place to be in the world.

This poem is about grief. I dedicate it to the memory of this person, who by her death reminded me again of the absolute necessity of listening, very carefully, to the “Minute Particulars” of personal dialogue, in therapeutic encounters. As humanistic therapists, we are still pioneer travellers in the territory of the heart, but we know that even in the most harrowing circumstances of human suffering, there is a natural organic predisposition for self-healing, and self-realisation. The Psychotherapeutic community, if we believe Rogers, has at a collective level, that same natural organic potential for self-healing and self-realisation. I add my voice to the many voices, in this Journal and in our community, presently calling for real, inclusive, and transparent dialogue, as we negotiate the stormy passage between arid professionalisation and humanism in our work.

(initially published under a pseudonym, the author has requested the addition of her real name which is Martina Boland)

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