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My poetry memories are rooted in grief therapy’s power.

Thanks to my dad, poetry was a bridge to a world of wonder growing up. His voice was magnificent, resonating with a depth and warmth that brought every word to life. One of my fondest memories is of him reciting “The Man from Snowy River” in its entirety. It wasn’t just the words; it was the way he delivered them, each line infused with a passion and clarity that made listening an absolute joy. Even then, I sensed the therapeutic power of poetry, a power that would later become essential in my own journey through grief therapy.

My dad was so calm and I’ve often thought that his love for poetry played a significant role in that. He would spend hours reading, learning, and reciting verses, immersing himself in the rhythmic beauty of language. This practice seemed to centre him, providing a peaceful escape from the chaos of everyday life.

The Healing Power of Poetry

It made me realise how powerful poetry can be, not just as an art form but as a tool for processing emotions and staying grounded. In times of grief or stress, turning to a favourite poem can be like finding an anchor in a stormy sea. Through the steady cadence of verses and the evocative imagery, poetry offers a way to navigate through feelings and emerge with a sense of peace and clarity.

Thanks to my dad, I discovered the profound impact that poetry can have on our lives, offering solace, inspiration and a reminder of the beauty that words can hold.

These early experiences with poetry sparked a lifelong appreciation for its ability to heal and connect, a gift I’ve come to cherish even more deeply through my work in grief therapy in Sydney and my connection with organisations like The Red Room Company, which fosters the creation and appreciation of poetry in Australia

How poems can help process grief

Grief is a profound and deeply personal experience that can leave us feeling lost, overwhelmed, and isolated. While everyone’s journey through grief is unique, there are various ways to cope and find solace. One powerful yet often overlooked tool in the healing process is poetry. Poems have a unique ability to resonate with your emotions, provide comfort, and help you navigate the turbulent waters of grief. Here’s how poetry can be a companion in the grieving process.

Expressing emotions

Grief is a complex mixture of emotions such as, sadness, anger, confusion and even relief. Poetry allows you to express these feelings in a way that’s often difficult to do through conventional conversation. The act of writing or reading poetry provides a safe space to explore and express your deepest emotions. Through carefully chosen words and metaphors, poetry gives voice to your pain, validating your experiences and helping you process your loss.

Finding comfort and understanding

One of the most challenging aspects of grief is the sense of isolation. You may feel that no one truly understands your pain. However, poetry can bridge that gap. Reading poems about grief and loss can offer a sense of community and understanding. Knowing that others have experienced similar feelings and have found ways to articulate them can be incredibly comforting. It reminds you that you’re not alone and that others have walked this path before.

A new perspective

Grief can often cloud your perception, making it difficult to see beyond your pain. Poetry has the power to offer new perspectives and insights. A poem can illuminate aspects of grief hadn’t been considered or provide a different way of looking at things. This shift in perspective can be pivotal in helping you. It can inspire hope and remind you that, despite your loss, there is still beauty and meaning to be found in life.

Creating a ritual of reflection

Incorporating poetry into your grieving process, whether through personal reflection or as part of grief therapy, can become a meaningful ritual. Setting aside time to read, write, or even recite poetry can provide a sense of structure and continuity during a time of chaos.
These moments of reflection can be a sanctuary, offering a break from the overwhelming emotions and allowing you to reconnect with yourself. Over time, this ritual can become a cherished part of your healing journey.

Encouraging mindfulness and presence

The rhythm and cadence of poetry can be incredibly grounding. Focusing on the words, the flow, and the imagery can anchor you in the present moment, providing a respite from the relentless churn of thoughts and emotions. This mindfulness practice can reduce anxiety and bring a sense of calm, helping us to cope better with grief.

A pathway to healing

While poetry can’t take away the pain, it can offer a pathway to healing. The creative process involved in writing poetry can be therapeutic, allowing you to express your emotions and gain a sense of control over grief. Similarly, reading poetry can be a soothing balm, providing solace and understanding.

The wrap up

Poetry, a friend in grief therapy, offers comfort, understanding, and healing. Whether you write or read poetry, it can be a powerful tool in grief therapy, aiding your journey through grief and towards healing.

If you would like to explore more blog posts, you can find them here.

And for meaningful tools like journals and family cards, visit my online store here. Discover resources to support healing and connection in your journey.


Cait Wotherspoon - Grief Therapist

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