A Poem And Grace Saved Me From Suicide: A Gay Senior Looks Back
I started this post many months ago, during the rash of teenage suicides, hoping to make some sort of statement that might help a younger person to cope, or take courage or simply pause and reflect but I found myself at a loss for words to do justice to the vastness of the problem.
So to those who are looking that suicide is an answer, I join the chorus of many who have said, “…take courage. Hang in there. It will get better.”
There are those who will listen to your stories and those who will know the exact loneliness and despair you feel but have survived to forge a future in a world changing towards the better.
Check for phone hot-lines or churches that are inclusive. Look for LGBT out reach programs and talk to them. Be yourself and be proud of you, for I have always believed, “God don’t create no junk.”
I knew at the age of thirteen that I was “different” and since the term gay hadn’t been coined as of yet, I only knew I was a “queer”, “puff”, a “fag-got” or a “homo.” So I wrote, plus wrote more, and there on the pages I saw my feeling brought forth bare and naked in words.
I’m lucky I grew up in the 60’s, the age that was going to make the world better and then followed by the “flower power” age which gave way to expression of self. Also I admit that my deep faith in a loving God, a God who created and cares for this creation, was at the core of my daily struggles.
So with faith, the 60’s and 70’s combined with my dream of being a writer, they shaped my values, my life and saved me from my own destruction.
Just a note of introduction to this poem, Seeking Soul, for it was my first attempt at poetry and written some 50 year ago. It started my love affair with the English language.
As a frustrated 16 year old and used my poetry to extinguish and fan those flames of youth at the same time. As I look at this poem, it is with love, for it is the images that I tried to convey that I hold most dear. This poem was followed many months later by Port of Call.
Billowing white capped waves kiss the gray horizon,
Ripple messages to a far and distant shore.
Dark wooded mountains reach for a star-filled heaven,
And make a celestial offering to the One maker of peace and understanding.
The final note is added to my symphony
As the wild call of the plains is heard,
For no-one disturbs this awesome tomb of death.
The sea, the plains, the mountains,
All seek the same peace my soul seeks.
The sea struggles for her freedom in the raging storms
And through her gentleness of the night.
Cold rushing streams,
Tall eternal evergreens,
Gray immortal stone,
This is the mount seeking freedom.
Scorched beyond compare,
Stretched out so far even the people living there know no ending,
Yet in this vast and wasted land
Is a harmony of peace and beauty.
Freedom a country? No!
Freedom democracy? No!
But it means the unceasing longing of my soul.
For like the sea I rage through life.
Yearning for a heavenly being
Makes me like a mountain,
Or like the plains, I lie dormant,
Searching for something but finding nothing.
Tho I lie dormant,
Or rage at my fellow man,
Believe me when I cry,
I seek the one and only peace.
Freedom of mind, soul and body,
I seek our ultimate end,
*Copy Right Tristan-Paul Hand, All Alone In A Crowd