April 13, 2016

Collision at the Caspian Sea.

Tj Holowaychuk/Unsplash

Collision at the Caspian Sea is about my experience in forgiveness.

An important person to me, an adult who was a responsible, loving and guiding figure in my life, turned to drugs—and, in turn, slowly unraveled our lives.

Out of respect for people involved I must keep the identity of this person private. I found out about the drug abuse when I was in university, and it turned my world upside down. I felt despondent, betrayed, ashamed, angry and so very sad. But most of all, I felt responsible for solving the problem without anyone else finding out.

I felt I needed to protect everyone from this secret, and I carried it with me for several months until I finally got the courage to confront the person, but it wasn’t any use.

I remember I was shaking and could hardly speak the words when I confronted them. And the denial was too thick—or as I believed at the time, they loved the drugs better than me. It was like Kurt Cobain wrote, “I love myself better than you/ I know it’s wrong but what can I do?”

It took time, spiritual practice, delving into Buddhism and the work of Gabor Matte to understand drug abuse as a form of self-medication. And it took even more time, several years in fact, to truly release my feelings of betrayal, shame, sadness and loss—loss of innocence and loss of what “should have been our lives.”

Because of Buddhism, I was able to release my attachment to all the “should-have-beens” and “could-have-beens,” and found peace with all that had been.

In this way, I was able to truly forgive them and allow my heart to be soft and open to them again, despite their continued drug use and denial. I am so glad I did, because that person is so worth loving, no matter what their struggles are.

The peace I finally felt and reached through forgiveness came through in this poem.

I hope that it stirs a deep release in all those who read it.



Collision at the Caspian Sea

Peace is in me now; peace is in me.
It’s been howling in the woods,
far above the city,
for a dangerous number of years.
Waiting for the midnight-pacers to hear its call
from city lines
and seascape places.

I heard it,
in the thunder rolling hills—
a long time ago
smoke swept you in its haze.
I searched to find a piece of your spirit—
did it still remain?
Smoke stung me,
made me cry.
An image burnt in the glimmer of your eye?
No time for your lies here.
I will shut them out.
With cement walls, built tall and miles long—
cobblestone upon cobblestone
I cut the clay
cobblestone upon cobblestone
I spread the cold grey
piece upon piece
between university classes
piece upon piece
piece upon piece
between midnight dance classes
piece upon piece
Solidly grounded.
piece upon piece
between doctor appointments
piece upon piece
and long hazel-voiced calls
Each piece, a fortress for my pretty pink heart.

serene winds and sing-song tides
these walls and scars,
leaving my heart of havoc
a haven of forgiveness.

Peace is in me.
And also, in you.


Author: Sareh Donaher

Editor: Toby Israel

Image: Tj Holowaychuk/Unsplash


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