Hello, this is Frank Hubeny. The topic today is “frustration”, “disappointment” or “heartbreak”.
The following poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins inspired this theme:
Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend
With thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just.
Why do sinners’ ways prosper? and why must
Disappointment all I endeavour end?
Wert thou my enemy, O thou my friend,
How wouldst thou worse, I wonder, than thou dost
Defeat, thwart me? Oh, the sots and thralls of lust
Do in spare hours more thrive than I that spend,
Sir, life upon thy cause. See, banks and brakes
Now, leavèd how thick! lacèd they are again
With fretty chervil, look, and fresh wind shakes
Them; birds build—but not I build; no, but strain,
Time’s eunuch, and not breed one work that wakes.
Mine, O thou lord of life, send my roots rain.
On the surface as a literal complaint, Hopkin’s poem shouldn’t work and perhaps it doesn’t for many. He whines. He’s weak in his self-centered frustration and envy of those he perceives as unworthy who nonetheless get a better deal than he thinks he does. I want him to stop. And yet all that is resolved in the last line, at least for me. It is the only line I’ve remembered over the decades when I first read it. All Hopkins asks for at the end is rain.
The lyrics to the Bee Gees’ song on a literal level are sentimental. Do they work any better than Hopkins’ verse up to the last line? With such a weak character portrayed in those lyrics, I can easily imagine why Dionne Warwick may not have felt comfortable singing them. Although this was her “most successful solo hit of the 1980s,” according to Wikipedia, she supposedly said, “I cried all the way to the bank.” The view of co-writer Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees was very different. He likely spoke for the many whose tears over this song reached deeper soil when he simply admitted, “I cried my eyes out after we wrote it.”
Frustration and heartbreak are risky themes. The characters expressing these emotions of weakness look silly to some. That’s the risk. The reward, however, for writers who successfully take such risks is incredible. To those who sense what’s going on below the surface of this weakness, assuming there is something below the surface, find they are reminded of something they have forgotten, something they want art and poetry to remind them of, something they can hardly believe to be true that “love is stronger than the universe”.
Now it’s your turn. To participate write a poem and post it on your blog. It only needs to be vaguely inspired by the thought of frustration or heartbreak. Mine is simply a reference to homelessness. Whatever level or suggestion of frustration or heartbreak you develop, it may have a resolution, or it may not. If it has a resolution, it may be subtle or all over the place.
Copy your blog post and paste it in the Mister Linky below. Then enjoy the other poems linked with yours. See how the other poets developed the theme and leave a comment. You may also comment below. The Mister Linky will be open for two days.