Whenever I get a chance, I show young people a video of Oprah talking about gratitude. She tells of starting each day with being thankful. Tells us how you will end up better off focusing on the 2 dollars in you pocket instead of the money you don’t have.
I preface this video by describing how Oprah had been abused, had to live with her grandmother and grew up poor.
On Thursday, I held an open mic. I knew everyone but one poet- Mboya Sharif. One of her poems was about Oprah’s abuse. It was a great poem. Powerfully written and performed.
So while I want to focus on the message that poetry gives people an opportunity for gratitude. The poem I heard was a powerful reminder that poetry is often about pain. That one of the values of poetry is to express pain and to have a discussion of terrible events that do exist in this world.
A book or an article about Oprah’s life would be an important read. But a poem that goes through the emotions someone has towards their abuser is immediate and powerful. This is a cliché, but it does communicate heart to heart.
I think of the entirety of The Civil War. It is worthwhile to study it, but everything is encapsulated in The Gettysburg Address.