Poetry as Catharsis

Prompt by Ammol:  Write a poem titled, “Poetry as…,

The spire of the cathedral burns
old energies are cleared
in the flames

the abuse of children
and single pregnant girls
the ancient burnings of the witches
the persecution of mystic Christians
are exposed by the fire

The spire of the Cathedral burns
the people weep and wail
a cultural icon gone.
The old ways crumble
the edifice of power is

The cathedral dome
melts away
in the flames
Mother Mary
so long enclosed
beneath the overarching dogmas
of patriarchy
is released.

Open you hearts
she roars in the flames
free yourselves
from ancient chains
let them melt away.

Hear now the cries of Mother Earth
her pain is your pain
your pain is her pain

The cathedral dome
melts away

a new space is revealed
a space where healing can occur.


32 thoughts on “Poetry as Catharsis

  1. I’m not a believer (brought up Catholic so that probably explains it) and detest organised religion, all of it and that means you too, Buddhists. But the patriarchal monotheisms are the pits. Yet I was extremely upset at the burning of Notre Dame because it represents so much that has nothing at all to do with religion (unless you’re that way inclined) and so much to do with the history of a people. We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that everybody in the twelfth century ‘believed’. It isn’t the case now—3% in France these days are churchgoers.
    The trees that were chopped down to make the roof beams were oaks from primeval forest. There are none left. No oak tree in existence is as huge as they were. The loving absolutely naive care that the ordinary workmen took building this place, carving the statues and the decorations that nobody would ever see to me is breathtaking. So many died on rudimentary scaffolding during the building. That’s what I think of when an ancient building burns, the past, what can never be reproduced. There’s no question of healing or otherwise here, it’s a national monument not a symbol of discord.


      1. No, not at all. I just went off on a tangent. We lived in Paris for fourteen years, I had four children born at the maternity hospital just opposite Notre Dame, walked past it every day to work. Imagining Paris without it and what it represents was a shock. I’d never be pissed off about a poem. (a good one, as yours is, anyway) Your angle was one that hadn’t occurred to me and I just kept seeing that spire falling, over and over…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes I had the same image repeating in my brain. It is definitely a weird occurrence. It felt like something shifted when the spire fell. I was trying to sort out what it was in my poem. I have only been in Paris briefly but it made a big impact. It gets you in the heart. It is so beautiful. To have such a long connection with Notre Dame would make the fire especially traumatic.


      3. It sounds terrible, heartless even, but I (husband too) felt much more shaken by it than when we heard about the twin towers. The awfulness of that came later when the recordings, the images of the deaths came over and the scale of it sank in. That was shock at the human suffering, but the symbolism of the WTC meant nothing to me as it did for millions of Americans I’m sure. It was just a load of replaceable concrete. Notre Dame can’t be compared to that, though some people are trying hard.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yes, I can relate to those feelings. There is something of Twin Towers about it – something shifted I am sure. Some ancient timeline. I do feel something was released in the fire. Old traumas and yet also some feminine goddess energy that had been repressed. I imagine you will disagree and I can see your point of view but feel strongly that, energetically, there is a phoenix in the fire.


      5. I’m not sure it’s possible to agree or disagree. It’s an interpretation and we all see things differently, especially symbols. You see it as a symbol of the Catholic Church and patriarchy, I see it as a work of art. The men who paid for the building were probably brutes and murderers by our standards but they built for the glory of God not for themselves. None of them would have lived to even see the foundations laid. It took 50 years just to prepare the trees to make the roof beams. I understand what you mean about the fire releasing something through destruction. It’s another symbol and I like your idea of a phoenix rising from the flames. I’d probably see it in a much more recent, church like one of those ugly mock-Gothic nineteenth century piles or the Restoration Baroque creations. We all see different shapes in the clouds and they’re all there.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. They’ll build it back again, minus the parts that can’t be replaced but that the public never saw anyway. The Catholics don’t seem to see much of a problem. They see is as just a pile of stones. It’s God’s presence that makes it and God is still there, so it could be a tin shack and it would be fine. Philistines 🙂

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  2. Pingback: Burn | petrujviljoen

      1. Not at all. I think these ideas are ‘out there’. I didn’t dream up my poem from nowhere. I read lots of interesting articles about the Notre Dame fire and watched several videos of people speaking from their hearts. We are a collective – we help each other find the way to our own truth. Guilt is baggage we can leave behind now. 🙂


  3. Ah, I like how you define it as the purge of something outdated and bring to foray these uncomfortable truths and historical facts about an institution so revered — it’s such a thoughtful and thought-provoking take. For the catharsis, there has to be an honest acknowledgment and discarding of all that hurts and harms us.
    I love this: “in the flames/Mother Mary/so long enclosed/beneath the overarching dogmas/of patriarchy/is released.”
    Wonderful writing! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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