Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday's Art: Alone

I'm starting a new tradition here at When Suffering Doesn't Stop called "Tuesday's Art." It's fairly self-explanatory: I'm going to share a work of art on Tuesdays. For earlier posts on art and pain, read The Art of Being in Pain.

To begin, I offer a favorite poem of mine from Edgar Allan Poe. By all accounts, Poe, a 19th century American writer, led a hard life. He was plagued by an unnamed mental illness (possibly bipolar disorder?) and addiction throughout his lifetime unto death, however some sources believe he died of rabies. A painful death in any event. He and his mother were abandoned by his father, and then his mother died all while he was still very young (Allan was his foster family's surname). Poe then lost his wife to tuberculosis after 10 years of marriage. He died two years later in what appeared to be a drunken stupor. (Source)

It's no surprise Poe's work is largely dark and depressing: an all-around an attractive indulgence for those dreary days when my nerves are as raw as can be and the pain of his poetically strung words can be so easily felt. I find this sharing of pain across the ages cathartic on difficult days. Perhaps you will, too. This painting by Füssli is one of the most poignant depictions of physical pain I have ever come across, though I cannot pretend to know what exactly the artist was going for.

     by Edgar Allan Poe, 1829
Johann Heinrich Füssli
The Nightmare

From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

Suggested verse to repeat if it's a difficult day is Psalm 22:11
PRC buddies, remember to breathe!
"Be not far from me, -------> 5 count inhale
for trouble is near and there is none to help." -------> 5 count exhale

**If any of you fellow sufferers out there have (or know of) works of art you'd like to share, please email them to me at smith.mtf@gmail.com, and I will post them accordingly.

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