My one reader will know that I have a great liking for poetry (I like to think that I do actually have one reader who follows my mental perambulations through my writing, even though I have no idea who this long suffering person might be). I find solace and inspiration in poetry. The gentle rhythm of the metre and words I find peaceful and have a calming effect on me.
The particular poem I am writing about is just part of “Twilight” by John Masefield. Thinking of friends who have died the words of the last line of the poem are:
“Beautiful souls who were gentle when I was a child.”
It was the words “who were gentle when I was a child” that struck home to me. Now I had a wonderful childhood – with gentle people – so I have no direct experience of a childhood without gentle people but there seems to be a great deal of press coverage about people who would seem to have souls that are neither beautiful nor gentle and I wonder about the effect this has on the general public. This constant bombardment of negativity about paedophilia, child abduction, physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by people who should know better must give rise to emotions of resignation and helplessness – “there is not much I can do about it” and “if everyone is doing it why can’t I” sort of thing. Individuals who think like this have lost their moral compass and need some help and guidance
I fully appreciate that (fortunately) there is still a majority of “beautiful souls” who, in their roles as parents, as teachers, carers and mentors are doing a wonderful job with children. However, when one reads that about 1 in 4 or 5 women have suffered some sort of abuse by the time they are adults I am appalled and I am left wondering why this should be.
Alcohol and drug abuse are often raised as reasons for physical and sexual abuse but are no excuse – even when drunk one should still have a semblance of self control. I have been drunk in the past so I know - but I have no experience with drugs, never having taken any non-medicinal drugs in my life.
It is not the drugs or the alcohol that are the problem it is what caused the user (or abuser) of these substances to start using them in the first place; what emotional pain are they trying to dull; what anguish are they trying to hide; what memories are they trying to extinguish; what unbearable stress are they experiencing?
Answer these questions and half the problem will be solved.