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Fear. It can motivate us. It can cripple us. With so much capacity and potential, it is clearly an emotion that cannot be ignored.

The power of fear can influence us both negatively and positively. In ancient times, we know that fear acted as a protective factor warning of predators and dangers that threatened mankind. Times have changed…or have they? We could argue that with all that is happening in our world today, there are many reasons to fear for our survival as a society.

On a personal level, some of our fears can actually catapult us into a better place. We can be fearful of failure, forcing us to strive for success. We may be fearful of following in the footsteps of those before us, making us more careful of how we proceed. Perhaps we are fearful of hurting others causing us to reflect and become more aware of our actions.

Fear can be debilitating. We freeze. We avoid. We panic.  For those of us who suffer from phobias, we know full well the relentless grip it can have on us. I was amazed at the lengthy list of phobias I found on phobias.com. I am very claustrophobic. On a recent sightseeing trip in The Blue Mountains, Ontario, I had the “opportunity” to explore some scenic caves. Needless to say, I found a nice place to relax and wait for my husband and granddaughter to return. Even the thought of venturing inside those crevices and chambers made me catch my breath.


I would like to share with you two poems on the topic of fear. To me, the first one by Tagore, written in the early 1900’s is like an echo of more recent times. I like the contrasts made in the second one by Sri Chinmoy.

Where The Mind Is Without Fear

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.


I Fear And I Brave

Sri Chinmoy Ghose  (1931-2007)

I fear
The heavy weight of a fleeting second
When I think of
My ignorance-body.

I brave
The heavy weight of slow centuries
When I meditate on
My illumination-soul.

As our fears range from large scale and ominous to the simple worries of everyday life, they all have an effect on our decisions, our happiness and well being. One way to validate them is to write about them. So for today’s Poetics, I am asking you to open up and share your fear(s) with us in a poem.

What are you afraid of?

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