FirstLight’s Shine A Light Initiative

We want to introduce an official forum where anyone wishing to do so may submit their poetry, artwork, or any other creative pieces for sharing on our Facebook page and in our newsletters. The following excerpt is from an article in the New York Times called The Expression of Grief and the Power of Art, by Neil Strauss, which expounds the importance and almost necessity of expressing oneself during difficult times.

The Expression of Grief and the Power of Art

By Neil Strauss

“There are many illustrations of writing in which the search for meaning, or for tranquillity, or for guidance, or for comprehension of the incomprehensible, has produced words of authentic consolation.

One thinks of Isaiah —

"Thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling" — and of Psalm 137:

"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat, sat and wept as we thought of Zion."

The great poems remind us that grief cannot be avoided, nor forgotten, but can be incorporated into a deeper understanding of the human condition, as in Emily Dickinson's "After great pain, a formal feeling comes":

This is the Hour of Lead -

Remembered, if outlived,

As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow —

First — Chill — then want the letting go —

It is that union of experience, insight and the simple beauty of language that helps us to give our own grief a name, that gives us a kind of company, that extends a wise hand.

Many experiencing intense, even unbearable personal loss have found redemptive meaning in the famous poem Ben Jonson wrote in 1603 at the death of his son, the one in which he declares,

"My sin was too much hope of thee, loved boy." There is no full consolation for a parent who loses a child, and indeed Jonson does not offer consolation.

But he at least gives a form to what most of us only dimly understand: that the source of grief is the intensity of the hopes that have been lost, and that without the possibility of grief there would have been no joy.”

To Submit a Shine A Light piece Email: info@firstlight.ie

  • Dated: Jul 23

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