Oh Me! Oh Life!

We all face times when we go to ground.  In the quiet and the darkness we can lick our wounds and take the long slow breaths that we need in order to recover, we can shout and scream and ask the questions we need to ask.  Why?  Why?  WHY?  We can hypothesise and romanticise and indulge our thoughts, even the dark ones.  We can do this without judgement, without fear of reproach.  We do this surrounded by our nearest and dearest, we go into hiding to feel sorry for ourselves and to feel safe in uncertain times.  But there is always a time to re-emerge.

I can’t help but defer to the brilliance that is Walt Whitman, specifically Oh Me! Oh Life!.  HIs words perfectly summing up the despair we all face at one point or another.  Put less eloquently we ask What’s the point?  But there is a point, as he explains, I must confess that this work was brought to my attention in the movie Dead Poets Society - if you haven’t seen it, drop everything and watch it now.  No, no, this is not an option, do it. I’ll wait…

… And we’re back.  Seriously, how good is that movie? For those that have already seen it and forgotten, or for those who did not have time or decided to not enrich their lives (it’s OK, there is no judgement here), here is the poem:


Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,

Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,

Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)

Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,

Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,

Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,

The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?


That you are here—that life exists and identity,

That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

But to return to my original thought, we all ask at one point or another as Walt phrased it, What good amid these, O me, O life? And his answer?  
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.  
Life continues my friends, for us and those around us, even when we face our darkest moments, even when we feel we can’t take any more, even with the passing of those we love, and even when we fall apart.  The sun keeps rising, people keep moving, the powerful play does indeed go on.  

It is time for me to return to writing my verse, to return to contributing.  Thank you to my nearest and dearest for helping me through, to family and friends, near and far that gave me space when I needed it and took it away when I demanded it.  They listened when I wanted to talk (read complain incessantly) and accepted my silence when I couldn’t talk.  They distracted me, entertained me, ignored me, kicked me up the bum when I needed it and most importantly loved and supported me.

Thank you

I hope to now return to my “normal” (I hate that word) self.  It is time, and there is much to do…
…I am here— life exists and identity,
The powerful play goes on, and I will contribute my verse.