How writing poetry brings me solace in lockdown

August 26, 2020

College created by Finn Souter with images from Pixabay

Olivia Opara shares her poems and explores how writing helps her mental health during these turbulent times

The pressure to suppress negative feelings is real, especially in a cultural age that’s pro-positivity.

According to research by the Royal Mail, in partnership with Action for Children and The Prince’s Trust, 46% of young people aged 11 to 21 in the UK find that writing down their thoughts and feelings about difficult emotions makes them feel better.

If you struggle with stress, depression and anxiety – like I do – writing poems, prose or keeping a journal is a great idea. It can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental wellbeing.

I find writing helps me create order when my world feels like it’s in chaos.

Here’s a useful guide to support you by the Mental Health Foundation.

If you’re feeling consistently sad and you’re struggling in your day-to-day life then you can get help. Please check out the Samaritans.

For me, poetry creates intimacy with emotions that I struggle to comprehend, emotions that plague me. But through poetry, my emotions – like myself – become multidimensional. They become metaphysical.

Here is a collection of my latest poetry:

WHAT IS A CHILDHOOD?
Is it when it’s bath time
Before Tea
Nap time then dinner followed by
Some TV of frolicking faeries
That almost lulls you to sleep
But you are carried with the upmost care
To your bedroom
Adorned with toys that smile with
Delight at their master’s return.

They stay as they tuck you
In as Mama and Dada sing
You a lullaby till your
Sleepy eyes kiss
So your mind dances with the
Stars and the Mr Moon at night
That becomes days spent running
Laughing, screaming, falling
Knowing that somebody will be there
To catch you.

For someone always does.

Look out for you as you
Wear your naivety like
A stain of protection
And love. Paternal? Eternal?

Knowing there is a home where you belong
And as you belong
You are cared for as you care
For others who would steal heaven
For you to have peace
A tranquillity of mind to make
Mistakes that would mould you
Slip ups that would shape your
Amour of confidence to brandish
Your heart for all.

For they cherish you
Even when you’re all grown up.

˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜
AM I BROKEN?
Like fragments of crystals
That forms the rings of Saturn
Yet are of no worth for
They are far away

Gone.

But still here
Watching, waiting, listening
Angry? Yes. Condemning? No.

No. No. No!

I don’t want Them
Them who are me
Or Am I Them?

Am I Just Broken…

Please

Tell Me…

I’m scared.

˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜
KEEP THEM SHUT
Open!

No close them; keep them shut

Don’t let it in
Don’t let it see

How you quiver and
Shake with fear and hate

Hate? You. Yes. Me

Oh no! Poor soul
“How can I help?”

Keep them shut
Don’t open them

Even if I want you to
Even if I die

KEEP THEM SHUT.

˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜
WHAT DO YOU DO?
What do you do when something is a problem
Reject it. Erase it. Forget it.

What do you do when you want something gone
Hate it. Isolate it. Kill it.

What do you when someone is a burden
Remove them. Bin them. Abandon them.

˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜

Our thanks to Thrive LDN’s Right To Thrive grant scheme for making this project possible.