Updated: 5 days ago
By Annie Newcomer:
The Flapper Press Poetry Café features poets from all over the world and encourages everyone to discover creative expression through poetry.
This week, we feature the words of a Flapper Press regular contributor, Roger Desmarais.
Roger has written poetry about his experiences as a consultant to executives and their executive teams as a way to more easily connect with the emotional intelligence part of the total leader. This has opened the opportunity to write poetry to define the spiritual intelligence that is the foundation of ethical and responsible leadership. His recently published book of corporate poetry, “Disruptive Poetry: Upsetting the Perfect Corporate Status Quo,” taps into the three intelligences: Intellectual, Spiritual, and Emotional.
We reached out to Roger to tell us more about his life and the inspiration for his poetry.
AN: How and when did you come to Poetry?
RD: With an MA in Literature I taught poetry in high school for several years. Then with a PhD in Organization, Management, and Organization Development I began to use poetry in my seminars, retreats and off-sites with executive teams. First I wrote of my experience of the struggle executives had to go through to break from their positions of power and greed to sharing the organization wealth with the employees. In subsequent off-sites I shared some of those poems to help bring Emotional, Spiritual, and Intellectual Intelligence to the executive team. I then published those poems t the request of the participants. The poems helped the executives open their hearts to hanger. I successfully managed my consulting firm for some thirty-five years and believe poetry was the primary cause of change.
At 60 I ran a marathon and ultimately experienced a breakdown of my body from replaced knees to various surgeries. As I began to experience the losses associated with aging I turned my attention to the creation of a nurse on “The Gifts of Aging” which I taught at the university, senior centers, and retirement communities. Poetry of course was the primary vehicle for me and them as we began to explore the emotional and spiritual intelligence associated with growing older: of finding wisdom in loss and finding meaning in becoming elder. Poetry touches the heart of an individual beyond the brain and into the soul. AN: What do you hope a poet will take away from your poems? RD: I hope to provide a voice to that marginalized group of elders who have much to say about living - and they can provide models of what that means in their lives and in the larger communities. I would hope that other poets would would touch deeply their emotional intelligence and bring to the surface insights and motivations to enter the spiritual journey of the elderly and help others find the way to a successful and and gracious elder hood. First of all, the poetic form needs to move the individual poet to look deeply onside him or her self and from there move out to others. Obviously the focus does not have to focus on growing older. Poems open the word of beauty usually never touched in the ordinary movement of life. I found that poetry helps people find their way not only at the top of the executive and corporate world, but at the end of life when it is time to savor the wisdom locked in the heart and generated there over the years.
About the Poem:
Our lives are filled with the search for role, rule, and social regulation with which to inspire our world, guide our presence in that world of creativity and production, explore its evolution and mystery, and find meaning in our lives throughout our lives. There is an exhilaration in the bubbling force of life rising up within us through our growing years and developmental days, filled with successes, failures, and insights into reality. Until that life line of living begins to flatten out on our monitor of life, until all the lines of excitement begin to blend into one shade of gray, when our very reason for existing transcends the old bromides of time-honored escapes from the reality of youthful vigor to leave us, again, as we were, newly born with a future completely different from that of the previous life style: the difference between the exploding womb and imploding tomb.
Useless in Space
My world seems strange to me these years
Devoid of so much that used to be vigorous
Filled with so much newness and frailty
Lacking historic supportive belief and vision
Asking the age old question: what’s it all about?
Inside me there is this unquestionable drive for living
Created in the very act of living that long life
That continuous search for the fountain of youth
The research into the various creative ways of becoming
The ongoing competition with oneself to become better
To bring meaning into life wherever it is found
To enjoy the blessings of that life for the rest of that life.
Until now: the end of the rest of that long good life is arriving
The first insight into the road less travelled until now
That path that leads to the other side of this fertile life
Through the darkening forest and into the dark woods
A path not yet experienced except through its absence
Relying on the first taste of letting go of the little things
Gradually building to a significant loss of capacity and energy
Falling into the slow lane of life on the last fast lap through life.
Uselessness is an angry, misunderstood, and useless word
Utterly devoid of care or concern, completely filled with emptiness
The underlying theme supporting discard and abandonment
A ritual designed to separate the ‘worthless’ from the valuable
A final condemnation of any value associated with the object
The ultimate disregard for hidden truths or difference in values
A stedfast shrunken vision of the larger picture of life’s vision
The final observation to expunge the world of ‘old use-less-ness-es”.
The contrast between useful and useless is deeper than the abyss
Wider than the chasm between ‘full’ and ‘less’ - as in ‘empty-ness’
Higher than the tip of Mount Everest from the bottom of the Red Sea
longer than the distance between the Arctic and the Antarctic snows
Stretching imaginations beyond probable and possible, yes and no
Projecting reality and practicality beyond imagination and creativity
Demanding clear answers from the darkness of ignorance.
84 Degrees of Separation
It began a long time ago
It began from the beginning
It began before there was a ’me’
It began after the solid grounding
When there was only my essential self
Before my evolution into a separate self
It began before the sense of ‘I’” was realized
It happened in separation of my “self” from other
The evolution of “my self” from the ground of being
The growing development of my ego in the living world
Leaning how to navigate separated from the womb
Adapting to the rules of nature and of society
Learning to grow and develop into an adult
Developing personal skills that separated
Expanding the separation from mother
Experiencing oneness with self
Moving in ‘my’ space and time
A dance with ‘others'
A long time ago.
It began some time ago
The beginning of my return
Closing the distance between
Separateness and initial oneness
Returning to the ground of all being
Experiencing the gradual loss of skills
Feeling the shedding of mind power
Seeing the direction of evolution
Reluctantly embracing loss
Facing the real unknown
A long time ago in time.
Now I stand at my 84 years
The separation process working
Giving up old skills learned through life
Needing new skills to navigate a new world
Reacting against the loss of the power of the mind
Realizing the downward slope of the new road to the end
Returning to the young time when everything was growing
Realizing this process is a new development in returning
Shedding knowledge and skills no longer needed
Reluctantly following the lead of aging process
Reducing the years and degrees of separation
Returning to that time of a new separation
Finding sadness in separating from ‘me’
Trying to recognize a new in the old
Trying to accept this reverse
Facing an ending of me
Shedding my old me
Finding a new me.
As the old song went, “Yesterday was such an easy game to play.” Gamesmanship seems to always have been part and parcel of the similes and metaphors used to depict aspects of our lives: profound or simply fun. The last lap and the fourth quarter speak to an imminent end to whatever the activity might be. However, in the game of life, there is no competition for winning and losing: there is only living if we but see the rising trajectory of the evolution of the mind-body marriage and not get caught up in the anti-aging commercialism rampant in our youth-oriented society.
The Fourth Quarter
Deep into the last quarter of the game
The competition is keen and sharp but ending
My team is holding its own against the time clock
The game is on the line for all the marbles
There are never any tie games in this kind of game
There is no overtime given the rules of engagement
There is a lot of game left in the courage department.
Mid-game crisis led to clarification of second half strategy
Applied insights from perceived weaknesses and strengths
Blend into a new normal strategy for the fourth quarter
There is an energy of creative insight behind each decision
The offense is poised and ready to raise the level of competition
A new perspective encourages an uplift in commitment
The game is on edge and all are involved in the offense plays.
The defensive team is heroic standing against a strong force
The team is riddled with a growing list of serious injuries
Stamina is dwindling the longer the game continues
Individuals are digging in with all their power to prevail
All are hanging in with determination to survive the long haul
With a few more time outs remaining in the quarter
Perhaps there will be a little rest for the weary at the end.
Regardless, the game has to be played with the heart
The conclusion to the end game is why we play the game
Regardless of the winning or losing, bullied or not
At the end, with head held high, bloodied but not bowed,
We enter the final fray with courage and hope
Not to accept whatever the score might be
But to accept the