Divorce Chronicles: Life Affirming Divorce Poetry

eBook 2008, Price $12.95

Divorce is one of the most emotionally charged life passages that exists. Whether you are the one who wants a divorce, or finds divorce forced on you, your emotional moorings will be tested.

Poetry is the language of emotions. So, why is there so little divorce poetry out there? And why is what does exist so skewed and one-dimensional? Yes, divorce is painful. But it doesn’t have
to be devastating. You don’t have to be emotionally scarred for life.

The emotions you will feel are real, and need to be acknowledged and honored. Your feelings about your divorce will not be identical to anyone else's.

While that is true, there are common themes which wind through every divorce, universal experiences of separation and renewal, and (yes), even happy endings.

This book chronicles one divorce experience in poetry, from the first unwelcome whisperings that divorce is even a possibility, to the healed closure on the other end. In between, it charts the emotional course of the process, through the various stages, in a positive and respectful way.

Wherever you are in the process, if you want a healing and spiritual approach to your experience, you will find something comforting and healing here.

Why I wrote Divorce Chronicles: Life Affirming Divorce Poetry

I had been a divorce lawyer for nearly fifteen years when I realized that I, too, needed to get a divorce. Since there is little in life that is more emotionally laden than divorce, I looked for a book of divorce poetry which would reflect what I was feeling. I was shocked to find it didn’t exist. The closest thing I found was How to Survive the Loss of a Love, which was immensely helpful, as far as it went.

I’ve written poetry all my life, and have long kept a journal. Not surprisingly, the story of my own emotional journey through divorce ended up in that journal. At the time, I had no intention of publishing it. First, it was just too personal. And of course, I was well aware that we all think our own poetry is great, because we wrote it and it reflects how we feel, even if it would cause anyone else to hold their nose.

A couple of years later, my life partner, Lee, started encouraging me to publish it, not only because he thought it was good, but because it has a happy ending, something many people in the throes of divorce don’t believe possible. I considered it, but held back.

I then began sharing the manuscript with colleagues and friends as they faced their own divorces. They told me it helped them, even if their experiences weren’t exactly the same as mine. I was encouraged to publish it. I still didn’t. I got as far as having the book designed, and there it languished, lacking nothing but a cover layout, for years.

Fifteen years have passed since the poetry was written. People still tell me it helps them. Whether it is because enough time has now passed that it doesn’t seem so raw, or I’ve just become willing to take a chance on exposing those feelings, I don’t know. Whatever the reason, I’m now ready to share it, in the hope that it helps someone else.

If you get nothing more from it, realize that divorce is not linear. There are ups and downs, doubts and “what’ifs,” forging forward and backsliding. No one is right all the time and no one is wrong all the time. Although there are many common themes and feelings, your experience will not be exactly like anyone else’s, including mine, your brother’s or your best friend’s. However, if you go through the process consciously and thoughtfully, it can result in a happy ending. Mine did.

Divorce Chronicles: Life Affirming Divorce Poetry, Preface

The poetry which follows was originally recorded in my journal, where the process of my divorce was chronicled. It represents the feelings of the moment, reflecting the cycles and stages of my experience. I have resisted the impulse to edit it from my present perspective, preferring to honor the immediacy of the feeling at the time, and the poems are presented in the order they were written, reflecting the ebb and flow of the process.

When I began my divorce, I looked for a book of poetry which would express what I was feeling. When I couldn’t find it, I was forced to write it myself. It was written first as an emotional catharsis and second, to memorialize the experience. As such, the material is highly subjective. It is also colored by the fact that I am a divorce lawyer myself.

If anyone connects with the emotions expressed, if it helps another person through one of the most difficult passages of life, God bless. If not, God bless, and move on to something else that does help.

Table of Contents

Poetry Excerpts

Preface
6
The "D" Word
8
Why?
10
Separate Pillows
12
Christmas
13
Closure
14
On the Cusp
15
Growing Pains
17
The First Goodbye
18
Sanctuary
20
Reflections on an...
22
Notes
23
Time and Relativity
25
Germination
26
Anything I Can Fix?
27
Limbo
28
Mea Culpa
29
Spring Equinox
30
Formalities
31
Where Were You a Year Ago?
33
Uncoupling
34
Violation
35
Obligations
38
Cutting the Cord
39
Things
40
Interrogation
42
Fantasies
44
Retrospective
46
The First Vacation
48
Reflections
50
Shapes in the Fog
51
Hibernation's End
52
Letting Go
54
Nesting
56
Midterms
58
The Last Love Poem
61
Notes to the Mirror
64
Process
65
The Good Friend
67
Gardens
69
The Last Love Letter
71
Vows
73
Finals
76
Leap of Faith
78
Unfinished Business
79
Happy Birthday
86
The Universal Fear
87
Perspectives
88
It Takes a Year
89
Ghosts
92
Auld Lang Syne
95
Shopper's Baggage
97
News
98
Noel
99
Reconciliations
102
Memorabilia
104
Filing
107
Labels
108
Curtains
110
Christmas Again
111
Resolutions
114
Happy New Year
116
Beginnings
118
About the Author
119

Mea Culpa . . .

guilt is a
terrible
thing
it eats at your
heart
gnaws on your
brain
nibbles at your
soul
steals your
hope and
lodges in your
gut,
festering

if I’d known
it would feel like this
anyway,
I=d have done
something to feel
guilty
for

Spring Equinox

spring arrived at last
I thought the cold, dry
winter
would go on
forever

the sun is bright
flowers bloom
I filed for divorce last week

how odd
to wait through the spare, cold
dormant times
and then
when days grow long
the world’s in bloom
and every day’s a
promise
to choose that time
to bury
old love

shouldn’t it be the
other way
around?
April

Shapes in the Fog

ghostly branches
barely visible in the fog
mark my path
I strain to see the shapes
ill-defined and yet
inviting

it’s a relief to see even the barest outline
of a rock
a tree
a root
the merest hint of
discernible shapes
is proof that light
however pale
waits behind the thick white fog,
promising an end to the
density which
for so long has
blinded me,
muffled all sound
and forced me relentlessly
inward,
inward
to find and fill
the void within

Reflections on an Empty Picture Hook

a fire in the grate
old music softly
in the background
seems to fill the space
between
then
and now

I look at the bare spots
on tables
and walls
where parts of you were
yesterday

as the nest which was
ours
inexorably, relentlessly and
finally becomes
only
mine