Poetry can heal the psychic wounds

Breathing is poetry of the body and poetry is breathing.

An article on Spirituality & Health explains how breathing is close to poetry, which in turn is the sign of wellbeing.

As we sit for pranayama ( breathing exercise), we develop a rhythm known as Kumbaka. It is those subtle moments between inhale and exhale and vice-versa. Closing our eyes, we will feel these natural pauses between the cycles.

Now, as you inhale and exhale, read this poem –

As you read poetry aloud

do it so that you are breathing


Let the sense of the poetry emerge

             from your response to the rhythms

                          and tonal variations of the sound

                                     as well as the meaning of the words.

Robert Carroll, a therapist and psychologist, connects poetry with breathing. Poetry is a form of punctuation and line breaks. When we speak out loud, we pause for a breath.

Poetry is a world of metaphors. A canvas of memories and repressed emotions. Many therapists agree that poetry has healing properties and poetry therapy can help various disorders such as schizophrenia, acute psychosis, depression, prisoners, sexually abused children, terminally ill children, suicide survivors and more.

Sylvia Plath, a truly gifted poet and writer committed suicide and most of her poetries and renowned novel, The Bell Jar have deep resonations of depression. Following are  beautiful lines of her poems,

“I am terrified by this dark thing

That sleeps in me;

All day I feel its soft, feathery turnings, its malignity.

Clouds pass and disperse.

Are those the faces of love, those pale irretrievables?

Is it for such I agitate my heart?

I am incapable of more knowledge.

What is this, this face

So murderous in its strangle of branches? –

Its snaky acids kiss.

It petrifies the will. These are the isolate, slow faults

That kill, that kill, that kill.

From the poem “Elm”, 19 April 1962”

Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems

Only through poetry, Plath could voice out such darkness. Metaphors, spaces and line breaks help us sigh and breathe. To breathe is to heal. One breath at a time. In times of anxiety, darkness, depression and despondency.

How do we heal?


Write what you feel.

Write with feelings.

Instead of full page,


Create columns,

Write your life in columns.


Break your line,

Break your words,

Instead of one             space

Looooooooong press the spacebar,

Use metaphors.

Names of colours,

Simple words,


With every pause




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