In Poetry Therapy, we use poetry as a way to heal. It’s a back door way to heal. Actually, in my opinion, all writing is healing. I took some sample poetry from an amazing compilation of teen poems by Writer’s Corps called “Paint Me Like I Am,” and asked my dad how he would want the world to know him. At first, this was too right brained for him. Usually he operates more left brained. So, I read him some more samples and then I used adjectives he had used previously to describe himself and asked him to delineate more on that.
Below is what Ernest, my dad, wrote, with little assistance from me. (He has arthritis and Alzheimer’s, so I’m his hand and placeholder.) What is amazing to me is that my dad was invested and even got excited to do it. He has started to call me now and has more days he talks about his life than not. He has written something our family can treasure, and I’m so proud!
PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU LIKE IT! HE GETS EXCITED ABOUT
PEOPLE READING HIS PAGE :0)
PAINT ME AS I AM by Ernest
Paint me working and doing my best
For I liked to make things better
Taking things that work that didn’t work before
Engines, motors, broken chairs and making them new again.
Paint me determined.
I made up my mind not to have any booze at all…
Or anything that would come near it…
I didn’t want any part of what I did before…
Paint me as keeping my thoughts and good emotions toward others
Requesting forgiveness for my stupidty…
Paint me as always looking for making a difference in life.
As time goes by, I make sure each day of my life that whatever I do and say is better…
Never wanting to give or get trouble…
Paint me independent wanting the peaceful life,
less noise and misery from people or cars and traffic and busses and sirens…
It gripes me a lot…I had enough of all that…
I have to get away from the racket.
Paint me as one whose mind holds onto better days
(don’t really care about money)
Whose richness is in the simple life,
The more simple the better
Let me just work on my cars and trucks and lawn mowers.
Paint me as determined to keep life in balance
And I’m skiing away from life itself
(the house, the dogs and the cats, and even plants.
Leave me with my critters.
Paint me without hateful words
Or holding onto hatefulness
For it puts me out of balance…
Paint me happy and content with my life.
***It might need some editing, but it’s great for a first draft. :0)