Poetry of Healing: Closer To Me

by Karen Capuciati

Christine Sherwood’s Closer To Me, a selection from her book, Help Me Remember Who I Am, is a mystical poem that speaks on many levels: accepting struggle as part of our life; transcending fear to experience peace; recognizing freedom in the present moment.

Christine said this poem represents her own passage into a state of forgiveness. She had struggled, naturally, wondering why cancer happened to her, but eventually learned to accept that life doesn’t always go the way you plan. She managed to let go of the anger and pain she felt about cancer altering her life, and by dropping that baggage, she found a way to welcome the life that lay ahead of her.

As we’ve mentioned before, Christine considers herself more of a conduit than a writer. She feels she simply captured the poems with pen on paper when they emerged from her soul during her recovery from a long, difficult battle with rectal cancer. “Sometimes I did not even understand what I was writing,” Christine explains in the book’s foreword. “Over time the poems revealed much about my process.”

But her prose is not just for those surviving cancer. Like all Christine’s poetry, Closer To Me offers us all a greater perspective for dealing with the struggles of our lives.

We are pleased to share with you this fifth, and final, poetry reading by Christine Sherwood, videotaped exclusively for In Care of Dad. The event took place in October 2011 at Lenny Foster’s Living Light Gallery in her hometown of Taos, New Mexico.

Listen to Christine’s reading and let us know what this poem brings to you.

Closer To Me

A sage offered me this option:
Thank all those who have caused you pain because it brought you closer to me
Many names and events come to mind that drag me into a mental arm lock with God
Because I can see how I have cherished the story of my suffering
And as much as I want to let it go
I want to hold it as my badge of pride and survival
I see how this keeps me from fighting the shadows of my light for endless stretches of darkness into endless
strings beyond time
Fear grips my belly and cries out; “No, do not say this, do not surrender to the interior war.  Fighting is the
only way to stay alive.  Who will you be without this conflict?  You need me.”
But it must be said or I remain a slave to the tyrant of my fears, chained at a breath’s distance from my
So, I will risk the unreal safety of fear’s confinement, for one moment of spacious peace
Thank you cancer
I accept the mystical purpose of your impact on this life
Thank you cancer
I accept that my soul invited you to my table
Thank you cancer
I accept this stark vulnerability
Thank you for bringing me closer to the fullness of me
And although I do not know where I am going or what to do . . .
Or how the story can end in a pleasant way
Is it not now glorious and free?

If you missed any of Christine’s prior poetry readings, they are right here for you to see: I Saw Her Face, Help Me Remember Who I Am, Cancer Is Kali – Kali Is Cancer and Breathe.

You can purchase her book at www.christine-sherwood.com.


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