CRY Magazine
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CRY Magazine

The Living Years

There are so many songs… but this one by Mike and the Mechanics (1989) speaks to me right now. I heard this song again on my birthday last month and the ‘feels’ just hit me so hard in the heart, like a ton of iron bricks. I cried.

Photo by Ed Leszczynskl on Unsplash

My parents have just arrived by plane to visit us after two years of COVID travel restrictions. My heart stopped when I saw how much they aged. They move slower. They are more absent-minded. They cannot see clearly. They need help.

Waves after waves of sadness overwhelm me with the foresight of seeing the knowledge of passing time unpeel before my eyes. There is so much left unsaid, still. So much that cannot be said in the living years.

“Oh, crumpled bits of paper / filled with imperfect thoughts / Stilted conversations / I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got”

“We all talk a different language / Talking in defense… / So we open up a quarrel, / between the present and the past / We only sacrifice the future / It’s the bitterness that lasts”

Photo by Stephan Holzinger on Unsplash

My parents and I have not always seen eye to eye. I have never told them how their actions made me feel. In my family, we don’t talk about our feelings as much as we should. We have always been taught to think with our heads and not with our hearts. Constantly applying an external filter to validate (i.e. reason) and to ‘quantify’ the intuition (i.e. irrational). Feelings can always be invalidated, or better still, ignored over the merits of reason.

What do I know about feelings? My heart is an urn of buried feelings and mislaid secret dreams... Who is able to process this living grief? Is there a saying… when in muddy waters, try not to drown?

To be brutally honest, I haven’t found the courage yet. And, I know, I may live to regret it.

Lydia Davis’ poem… tells it like it is.

Head, Heart


Lydia Davis

Heart weeps.

Head tries to help heart.

Head tells heart how it is, again:

You will lose the ones you love. They will all go. But even the earth will go someday.

Heart feels better then.

But the words of head do not remain long in the ears of heart.

Heart is so new to this.

I want them back, says heart.

Head is all heart has.

Help head. Help heart.

Photo by Pierre Bamin on Unsplash

“It’s too late (it’s too late) when we die (it’s too late when we die) to admit we don’t see eye to eye.”




(Creat)ivity + (E)motion | A Medium Publication for Creatives Navigating Emotions

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Li Shen J

Li Shen J

Emerging poet & writer finding her way in her world of words and feelings. Tweets @lishen_sim

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