The Lowly Place

The Lowly Place

I have scraped
the bottom of my barrel
to summon strength
to express
the fear I know best,
that one day
my illness will defeat me,
that I will be forced
to retire my pen
to eternal rest

I think of my muses,
my inspirations,
the best ones
who weathered
their own tribulations

I do as any sick poet would do,
submerged in word, struggling
against the ailing, failing body
to create anew
I write to survive, to have a reason to
stay and play being alive

Giacomo Leopardi,
nearly toppled over,
arm dangling over
a creaky-coiled bed,
wishing he were dead
to end
the suffering
of being held back,
trapped in every aspect
by what the world saw
on his outside,
his true thoughts
on paper he never dared hide

Frida Kahlo, from her sickbed,
masterpieces, her tired head
Her arms, strong to hold
the details
Her heart, her pulsing entrails,
on a canvas overhead
Beauty in suffering,
grace in despair,
life of torture,
breath of art,
return to air

Jackson Pollock painted his
pain on the floor, his
splatter poetry,
his constant cries of
“more, more, more!”
and then,
“no more!”
His demons banging
on his locked door
The lowly place,
the floor,
where all poets,
artists, human beings
find themselves

And Edith Piaf,
the little sparrow,
singing to salvage,
and for salvation,
though her voice
did quake,
though her nerves
did shake
I hear you all in
the background,
my hand trembling,
my own blood
slowing at the sound

This is my sickbed,
my lowly place,
beyond the 10th Circle,
through the 9th Gate,

This is the darkened space
beyond the shadow
of my eclipsed face

Here is where it all lies,
surrounded by the voices
of every lamenting artist
soothing my own cries

The end of the page is near,
my inkwell nearly dry
All I have is here,
my written visions
for wandering eyes

(March 23, 2018)

Published by Jennifer Patino


25 thoughts on “The Lowly Place

  1. This is a powerful piece. How you gave examples of artists continuing to create through their struggles, perhaps *because* of their struggles, trying to make some kind of sense of life that has ups and downs. Creativity can be therapeutic while listening to the spectrum of emotions.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I wonder how many people you’ve inspired to look up Giacomo Leopardi. (I don’t know why I have that gap when I was certainly aware of his fellow Romanticists.) Interestingly I was just getting back into Italian, for no reason at all except that it makes my brain happy; now I have someone to focus on. The others here… longtime inspirations. And you’re a new one. ♡

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m a big fan of his poetry. I read Zibaldone last year & a lot of his notes on language were tedious to get through, but hunting for the philosophical gems was fun. There’s an Italian biopic of him I really love too. I have some more of his on my shelf I’ll read eventually.

      Thanks for saying that. That’s very kind. 💜 You definitely inspire me too & I’m glad we’ve found each other.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks. I started when I was around six years old. The only thing that prevents me from writing as much as I used to be able to is neuropathy, which is very painful & affects my hands. I do try my best to write a little every day though. I appreciate you reading & your kind words. 🙏

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m sorry you have to go through that. But despite your obstacles you keep writing and you write intriguing stuff!

        You seem strong and you can overcome all this!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Your tribulations birth beauty. And it’s the essence of a quote I heard once,

    Your writing is so beautiful. Your mind must be a terrible place.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I hardly ever think about closeness and love, yet it’s usually the most things I write about in poetry.

        I don’t share too much of it. Mixed reviews and people are kind of weird when they read it.


      2. Writers never can predict how people react to what we write, but I do believe that there is an audience somewhere for every type of writing. The best we can do is just keep writing it anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m contemplating a poetry blog to post most of my stuff. I might take a vote to see how interested anyone is.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I want to tell you that you’re an inspiration— Like the creatives you mention here.
    You’re so good.
    I also wish to tell you that I pray for you.
    Of all the times I’ve ended my comments with my signature quote, when I say it to you, I want you to believe that I mean it: I wish you miracles.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is simply a great poem Jennifer! Something I can easily relate to! The examples of the creative people you’ve mentioned are inspiring! And your own experiences that you’ve shared here will give courage to anyone who reads this marvellous poem! My best wishes to you!

    Liked by 1 person

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