In the introduction to this book Art and Simple Reality we observed that artistic expression is often intuitive. Lawrence LeShan agrees: “Before he begins new research, he reads to see whether poets and artists have already expressed the same ideas. If they have, he proceeds, knowing he’s on the right track.”[i]
Human expression, especially artistic expression, is a healthy outlet. As Dr. Bernie Siegel observed in his book Love, Medicine and Miracles, “It is probably the reason cancer is more common in convents than in prisons: in jail you can at least act out your frustrations.”[ii] Be that as it may, the following poem by W. H. Auden[iii] expresses the relationship between disease and frustrated expression.
She bicycled down to the doctor,
And rang the surgery bell;
“O, doctor, I’ve a pain inside me,
And I don’t feel very well”
Doctor Thomas looked her over,
And then he looked some more;
Walked over to his wash basin,
Said, “Why didn’t you come before?”
Doctor Thomas sat over his dinner.
Though his wife was waiting to ring;
Rolling his bread into pellets;
Said, “Cancer’s a funny thing.
“Nobody knows what the cause is,
Though some pretend they do;
It’s like some hidden assassin
Waiting to strike at you.
“Childless women get it,
And men when they retire;
It’s as if there had to be some outlet
For their foiled creative fire.”
POETRY – Self-Expression
[i] Siegel, Bernie S. Love, Medicine and Miracles. New York: Harper. 1986, page 83.
[iii] Ibid., pages 82-83.
Self-Expression – Table of Contents
- Beyond the Ouroboros
- Pashtun Poet
- Every Sister Cries for Her
- They Asked if There was a God
- A Climber of Trees
Find a much more in-depth discussion in books by Roy Charles Henry.