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Alaska Writing Site
Poetry has the Power to Heal
By Audrey Shepherd
I believe that writing poetry has the power to heal. Many times I have felt down and needed to get all the misery out of me so I picked up a pencil and started to write. At first it was hard to tap into my inner self and put the words on paper. I’d get frustrated easily, but soon it became a second nature. Poetry has always been there for me when I needed an escape and I always feel better after I write a poem.
When I was in Pennsylvania visiting my grandmother for four months, I was homesick, and scared. It was my first time out of state and I had never really spent much time away from my family back home in Alaska. I had struggled to make friends, and had no one to talk to while I was there. In fact, I had just been in an argument with my best friend, Shadow, and he had told me never to text or call him again. I tried to tell my uncle what was going on when he asked why I seemed depressed, but I couldn’t find the words to tell him. He eventually just stopped inquiring. My grandma noticed that I didn’t talk much, and called my mom wondering if this was normal. It wasn’t. They wouldn’t have understood if I told them, and I felt like there was no one in the world to talk to. Heartbroken and alone, I turned to my poetry. I started spending days writing, and found that it was something I enjoyed.
After awhile I stumbled onto a site online called DeviantArt.com, and found that there were many people out there who felt the same way that I did. I made myself an account, and started to post my poems. Immediately, I received feedback from people all around the world. They encouraged me to keep writing, that my poems were astonishing, and I should keep faith in that. It made me feel ecstatic to finally have someone to read my poems and not criticize me for who I was. It gave me the courage to talk to my grandma and tell her that I wanted to go to a camp so I could make some friends. She helped me get into the camp and I had lots of fun. My poetry helped me to overcome this obstacle, and eventually even permitted me to have the strength enough to tell Shadow I was sorry, and wrong. He forgave me and things were better.
Another time poetry has been there for me was when I left school for a few months. I was confused and everything just went by in a blur. I was going to drop out, and be a high school mess up. Like before in Pennsylvania, I felt like I had no one to reach out to. I needed help to make the right decisions, but all the people around me kept telling me to just leave; I wasn’t welcome anymore. So I listened to them; I left. While I was gone, the only thing to connect me to what I knew was my poetry. I wrote about who I loved, and the things I missed. I even wrote about what disconcerted me and what I hated. Writing down the thoughts that I had kept inside for so long felt like a relief, and when I finally felt like I had let it all out, I came home again, refreshed and new. When the end of the semester came around, I had made my decision. I was going to come back to school. In this case, writing about what had hurt me in the past initially healed what was inside, and gave me the audacity to make the right choice no matter how hard it was.
To me poetry has always been my best friend, and the first thing I turn to when I need a chance to breathe again. It has given me strength in hard times, and helped me to make the right decisions. I will never stop writing. Poetry has the power to heal. This I believe.
Music has the power to change a life
By Abbie Schierholt
Music is a powerful, creative expression in the world. I first realized the power of music when I was two years old. Our house was always filled with music. It was never silent. As soon as I woke up in the morning, I would push my tape player and fill my room with Raffi singing “Baby Beluga, in the deep blue sea.” Throughout the days I would continue to listen to lots of different types of music. It was as if I couldn’t function without music playing in the background. The melodies had the power to make me feel happy.
When I was six years old, I went to a music camp in Cordova. I learned how to play the ukulele and hula; I was surrounded by instructors and other students that thought music was as special as I did. It had the power that made me feel included in a group. I continued to go back year after year to learn how to play the violin and fulfilling my need to be surrounded by other musicians. For the past six years I have been inspired to love music, especially my violin, by my instructor RFT. He has helped me realize that music has the power to communicate moods and emotions, stir up memories, and even tell a story. Musicians such as Celtic Woman, Taylor Swift, Dixie Chicks, and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra have shown me how music has the power to inspire, comfort, and bring joy to others.
In my own life, music has the power to change my emotions. When I’m lonely, I can listen to a song and think of happy thoughts. When my best friend’s dad died suddenly in an accident, we listened to the song “Held,” by Natalie Grant. The words of that song made her feel like her dad was still holding her in his arms. We listened to praise songs, and our overwhelming sadness was comforted. Berthold Auerbach was right, “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
Music also has the power to change your physical energy level. When it comes to homework and I’m feeling tired, or stressed, I can turn on a fast tune with a good beat and it will help me stay focused on my assignments. Songs with strong beats and fast rhythm make me move and dance. They can make a lazy feeling become energized. This can be very helpful when I need to do work around the house. It is also the reason sports teams play upbeat music before and during their games. The team gets pumped up and excited about playing their best.
Music has the power to communicate ideas and thoughts. In the song, “My Hope Is in You,” by Aaron Shust, the words express what Jesus went through and how a lot of us take what He has done for granted. Artists like the Dixie Chicks, tell stories about events in their lives. For example, in the song “Earl’s Gotta Die,” the singer tells how a woman’s husband abuses her and her best friend comes home to help her in the hospital. The two of them decided that they have to kill Earl because he will continue to abuse her.
Henry Giles says that, “A song will outlive all sermons in the memory.” For many years, I have been able to listen to a song and then almost immediately remember the words and the tune. When I was in sixth grade, our teacher Miss Woods made up songs that helped us memorize the countries of the world. Without these songs, I doubt that I would have been able to learn them all.
Music will always be a powerful part of my life, no matter where I go. It is a part of my soul. I need the power of music to lift me up when I am down. When I am lonely I can listen to a song and realize that I am not the only one who ever feels this way. Music can also give me the needed energy to get tasks done. My violin has become an important part of who I am. I can’t imagine living without it. Louis Armstrong says that, “What we play, is life.” I would agree. My hope is that I can teach others how to love music and play many instruments. I want them realize how music can enrich their lives. When I’m an old lady I can imagine sitting on a rocking chair, listening to music to comfort my old soul. "Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons, and you will find that it is to the soul what the water-bath is to the body." (Oliver Wendell Holmes) Music is Power!