“general human experience”

“I hold it true, whate’er befall; 

         I feel it, when I sorrow most; 

         ‘Tis better to have loved and lost 

Than never to have loved at all.”

-“In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 27”
Lord Tennyson to a friend, died of a stroke at the age of 22


the apprenticeship to become an artist

is a lonesome journey

to become a sufferer whose sufferings have rendered

into a vessel waiting

to be able to contain all pains unspoken

morph them from woe to bliss

an artist lives to imagine death

to live a life worth telling

worth experiencing again

 

countless names of poets left unremembered

buried in what we called

“general human experience”

we read Dante through Beatrice

we feel Poe through Annabel

but who would remember the joint tomb with no names

or the half-burned love letters without signatures

those who were closest to death before they died

got their lives commemorated the most after they have lived

 

because not even the Bard can tell you

how your heart feels being broken for the first time

how your head can spin finding cure every time

how your spirit may lift knowing peace in time

how time passes much faster and slower together

when you don’t know what to feel or say or think or know

that is why we have countless poems about grief

they are sufferers trying to suffer through

 

while some find contentment in the general human experience

it is not fun to be the sole victim

of your personal apocalypse

how can you tell you survived

when no one else is alive with you

if you don’t know how heaven looks like

how do you know you are not in hell?

 

maybe the hollowing of marrows

is the price an artist has to pay

a pre-installment for tranquility

a guaranteed spot in the eye of storms

the Scribe of nature

only by confining yourself to the brutality

can one witness the birth of chaos

some sketch the twirling of raging air

some translate the ferocity to fear and awe

the occupational hazard is the tricky part of

leaving harmed

but whole

 

Tennyson gave the world an answer

or more of a suggestion

“Tis better to have loved and lost

Than never to have loved at all.”

you breathers, live!

if you lived enough

the love lost, the loss levitated, the lesson learnt

they become you

you become bigger than someone without a name

an artist

 

I am not sure if I believe Tennyson

when he said lost love was once, love, still

how can a heart take hurt as granted

when all it asks for is to hold

Arthur died at twenty-two

a blind stroke took a life

he too was a poet

an educated mind

 

his voice was snubbed too early

now all we hear is Tennyson’s

mourning the short-lived life

but did anyone ask poor Emilia

where her dead heart rested

 

do I wish for innocent eyes

to read what I once felt?

it is the cross of an artist

I haven’t learned to carry yet

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