Proper communication is a necessity for a good marriage, and military unions are no exception. In fact they may require a higher set of verbal skills to conquer all the challenges that military life entails. There are periods of long separation and then periods of transition. Sometimes the stress can leave a spouse searching for just the right words. I believe poetry is underutilized and undervalued. Let’s just jump in with a classic:
‘The Starry Night’ by Anne Sexton
The town does not exist except where one black-haired tree slips up like a drowned woman into the hot sky. The town is silent. The night boils with eleven stars. Oh starry starry night! This is how I want to die.
It moves. They are all alive. Even the moon bulges in its orange irons to push children, like a god, from its eye. The old unseen serpent swallows up the stars. Oh starry starry night! This is how I want to die:
into that rushing beast of the night, sucked up by that great dragon, to split from my life with no flag, no belly, no cry.
Of course you can pluck lines as you see fit into your daily life, but let me give an example of how to use this poem during a conflict:
Suppose your loved one comes home donning his combat boots after a drill. He has just been in the sand and doesn’t bother to wipe his feet or remove his shoes at the door. (Gasp)
You walk into the kitchen to find your recently mopped floor dotted with specks of sand, many of which have been pushed down abhorrently deep into the crevices of tile’s grout. The guy gives you an innocent look and then tosses his filthy hat onto the kitchen counter.
“What’s wrong?” he asks and you search for the proper reply.
Summon your inner poet: “I feel like a drowning woman thrown up into a hot, boiling sky.”
Make him mirror back your words and feelings for proper clarity. You know, the “I hear you saying that you feel like a drowning woman thrown up into a hot, boiling sky.”
Yes, that’s it. That’s exactly it!
Then make him clean the floors while you stare at this beautiful picture.
Now, we come to some great lines from a book. No, it’s not poetry, but it’s Wuthering Heights, so close enough. Post this quote to your facebook page in a very passive-aggressive way to show you don’t appreciate his freezing you out or perhaps not returning your calls. Especially if he is avoiding a conversation with you about money, moving, children…you name it.
“YOUR COLD BLOOD CANNOT BE WORKED INTO A FEVER; YOUR VEINS ARE FULL OF ICE WATER; BUT MINE ARE BOILING, AND THE SIGHT OF SUCH CHILLNESS MAKES THEM DANCE.”
Okay, after such explosive lines, we now need to turn to some endearing poems, for those times that you are crazy from missing your spouse, whether he/she be on TDY orders or a full year deployment. I’ve recently become a fan of Tyler Knott Gregson and can sit and browse his poems at www.tylerknott.com all day. This particular poem speaks to me as an army wife and the craziness you often feel during deployments.
Typewriter Series #1036 by Tyler Knott Gregson
Text for Tired Eyes:
Every minute I am not with you I can feel a piece of hope evaporating into the ether and I have run out of strength to reach up through the sky to try to catch it’s moisture, to feel it land on my hands and absorb itself into my skin and carry itself through the miles of veins that have lost their purpose when your hands are too far from my hands and there is no need to rush blood to the corners of these lips, no need to curl them into a smile for eyes that won’t see it. How do we stop counting the days, when it’s the hours that taunt us and the fact will always remain that it’s every single minute that you are not near me that attach to me like thousands of anchors and pull me deeper beneath the surface. I am drowning and choking and gasping for breath but it is not the water that I am drowning in, there are no swallowed fish in these lungs and I cannot taste the sea. Drowning not in water but in the sheer volume of tears that have gone unwiped by fingers taking leave of my hand they were holding. Choking not on a lack of air and not on the flavor of breath that I have forgotten but on the lack of you and the number of moments left unshared between us. On the life that flows beyond us endlessly while we sit on the shore and wait to be ready to dip our toes in, ready to jump with our clothes on.
Don’t be afraid to text or email a poem to your spouse when times are tough or you just want to share. Sometimes the right words are all you need.
*The relationship advice in this blog must be used at your sole discretion as I am not a therapist but merely a lover of words.*