Live Virtual Group Session: 6PM EST February 7th 2022

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

For this session our text was the poem Early Confession by Carolyn Forché, posted below. 

Our prompt was: “If I had never…”

More details will be posted on this session, so check back again!

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

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Please join us for our next session Friday February 11th at 12pm EST,  with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

Early Confession by Carolyn Forché
If I had never walked the snow fields, heard the iced birch,
leant against wind hard toward distant house, ever distant,
wind in the coat, snow over the boot tops, supper fires
in windows far across the stubbly farms, none of them
my house until the end, the last, and late, always late, despite how early
I’d set off wearing gloves of glass, a coat standing up by itself.
If I had never reached the house, but instead lain down in the drifts
to finish a dream, if I had finished, would I have 
reached the rest of my life, here, now, with you whispering: 
must not sleep, not rest, must not take flight, must wake.

8 thoughts on “Live Virtual Group Session: 6PM EST February 7th 2022

  1. Scarlet Kinney

    If I had never been born
    If I had never birthed myself
    Into this reality
    This time
    This place
    From the distant inscrutable place
    Where intent becomes matter
    Would I still dream the same dream?
    Would I still dance the same dance?
    Sing the same song,
    Disembodied, but fully conscious?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If I had never…

    climbed the mountain,
    I would never have had the opportunity to gaze out at my future and to search within my heart.

    The trail was treacherous on this late fall morning,
    with remnants of frost glistening on the tops of rocks,
    The leaves had fallen onto the earth,
    muting the sounds of Nature.

    Trudging to the top of the peak,
    I looked out onto the valley below,
    with its peace, serenity, and reassurance.
    I had conquered my doubts and fears.
    I had accomplished a task that I had thought was beyond my reach.
    As I looked out, a broad smile formed.
    To be there, at that moment, re-ignited my spirit.

    I stand ready to face the path ahead,
    to climb those mountains which lay in wait for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Scarlet Kinney

      I love the bravery, the courage you express in this writing, Michele. It really lifts my spirits at a time when they need lifting. And as is so often with your writing, you somehow transported me to that mountainside. I felt like I was climbing with you. Thank you!


  3. Terry Hourigan, R.N.

    If I had never gotten the cancer, I might never have known what my patients endured. It opened up whole new worlds of understanding: empathic steps, over the line. Confused, I asked; Bernie Siegel wrote back:

    you are now a native not a tourist and understand it is an experience and not a diagnosis that counts

    Liked by 2 people

    • Scarlet Kinney

      I’m so glad you posted this, because I wanted to tell you how moving, how poignant, I found it. Bernie Siegel is right, of course. It’s one thing to imagine what another person is suffering; to feel sympathy for them, but it’s quite another to feel the kind of deep identification and empathy that comes from having lived their experience oneself. Thanks for reminding us of what it means to be a “native” in the world of physical suffering and medical trauma.


      • Terry Hourigan, R.N.

        Thanks for your acknowledgment: I felt it also as I read what Dr Siegel wrote.
        He spurred me to think lots about this, that many of us are “tourists.”
        Over the next few years, I learned that empathy can be brought to bear from
        sources other than experiencing an illness. It can be learned, with some practice.

        Are you in the Columbia program? Do you live in Maine?


  4. Sophia Stephenson

    If I had never stepped into the shadow of the warrior,
    I would never have learned how to cast my own.
    Months spent in that warm darkness.
    A rebirth? Or a remaking?
    Maybe just an unveiling of self.
    To present to the sun.
    To present to the world
    To present to me

    Liked by 1 person

    • Scarlet Kinney

      I’m intrigued by “the shadow of the warrior.” At first it seems like a threatening place to be, almost overwhelming, but then you tell us that it feels like warm darkness, which to me suggests comfort, safety. I love the mystery of that juxtaposition. It makes me want to know more.


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