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bench

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I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
He said to me, you must not ask for so much.
And a pretty woman
leaning in her darkened door
She cried to me, hey, why not ask for more?

(From “Bird on a Wire” by Leonard Cohen.)

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“It is impossible to say just what I mean.” [1]
The truth has many viewpoints
each painted by the brush of experience,
trauma, abuse — the list goes on.
What we see and what we hear
depends on who we are and where we’ve been.

Emotions are unreliable —
they may be triggered
by childhood fears of abandonment,
years of bullying,
disease, alcoholic parents.
We all wear our visible and invisible scars.

Some scars we wear with pride,
others we try to submerge,
yet they rise to the surface unexpectedly
like putrefied corpses.
Their corruption taints everything we see
feel, hear or experience.

Worst of all is the insecurity,
inability to trust, unexplainable emotions.
Fears which no longer have relevance
can pull our carpet of security
out from under our feet and leave us sprawling,
helpless as the children we once were.

Is there any hope for the future?
Is there an escape from a haunted past?
Perhaps, for some of us, there is hope —
“Like a bird on the wire,
Like a drunk in a midnight choir” [2]
We can try in our way to be free.

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(1) From “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot.
(2) From “Bird on a Wire” by Leonard Cohen.

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