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Poetry to resolve conflict?   Leave a comment

I’m not the easiest person to be close to.  I tend to be passionate about the things I believe and have high expectations for those close to me, though never higher than I expect from myself.  In the past, this led to some very loud and unpleasant arguments with my husband.  Recently, I found a new, far more pleasant way to defuse the situation – poetry.

About a week ago, he did something that upset me.  What it is doesn’t matter.  It started out the usual way – I yelled and cried, he went off in a huff.  If things had proceeded as they normally do, he would have come back later and I would have continued the argument.  I would have yelled, he would have become defensive, eventually we would have made up but nothing would have been resolved.

That day, I was sitting with my computer in my lap, still upset, when the idea came to me.  What if I tried to capture my hurt in a poem?  I opened my editor and started writing.  As I wrote, working to choose the words that would both keep the proper meter and capture the essence of my emotions, I grew more calm.  When I was finished, I e-mailed the poem to him.

A little while later, he came in.  I was still upset, though less so than in the beginning.  I told him to read his e-mail.  For some reason there was a delay in its arrival to his inbox but he finally saw my poem.  I don’t know how long it was before he came to talk to me.  When he did, he just said, “That was hard to read.”  I understood.

We talked a little about why I reacted the way I did, which had far less to do with the actual situation that it did with old hurts that were never resolved.  Instead of yelling, I could talk calmly.  Instead of being defensive, he was able to respond from a place of reason and love, after having time to think about my words.  For once, the hurt seemed resolved at the end.

A few days ago, I was feeling happy with him and wrote another poem.  I sent him that poem as well.  He said it made him far happier than the first.

Both poems are on my website – his choice.  The best part is that I have a new and better way to cope with conflicts with him.   I intend to keep using it.

How do you deal with personal conflicts?

If you are interested in learning more about me or my work, or in seeing these poems, check out my website at

Posted August 9, 2013 by Leoma Retan in Uncategorized

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