Solace in Suffering (Classic Wisdom Collection)

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Perhaps the gift would be to be able to see our prison with different eyes, hear with different ears, so the prison becomes a secure and creative place. Do we find solace in the literature? When I deeply felt the blues I sang them in my passion In that way, I felt I proved I still lived in my own fashion For in the feeling, life remained In that sense, I kept all possibilities From the song, the world I regained And arose from my darkness disability. When we read a written line It becomes us in some part We and the text thus combine To give solace to our heart There is solace in creation The divine is there to assist We can live by our intention So our joy for living persists.

I look back on much of a life of shadows Wherein there was solace in literary light And from that gift, my soul arose It still shines in what I read. I think, human beings are born free of their will but, chained with responsibilities.

He says this is a heavy weight becase this life becomes purposeless or empty. As regards the brevity and strict form of the sonnet I think, is much more capable to bring inner harmony and solace as these qualities paves the way to engage ourselves in the realm of thought. If so, there is, I believe, hope for us all.

Great reminder of the taste of Cod-Liver Oil — even in the 60s my mum was feeding us that stuff. I can understand that the constraints of writing within the form of a Petrarchan sonnet, which this is, or a Shakespearean one, might be a way to providing solace, especially after getting the rhythm and structure done correctly. However, I find the first four and a half lines very annoying at first glance. Perhaps that is because Wordsworth seems to say that confinement, whether by choice or not, is a form of freedom.

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Those lines, however, caused me to think about workers who, like industrial spinners and weavers of those times, have very little choice about the restrictions placed upon them by their workplaces. I think that Wordsworth means that we are free to choose our own destiny. The hermits, nuns, students and maids are romantically portrayed and in reality may not have been as content with their lot as he tells us.

His reference to nature in the bees is beautifully pictorial. Beautiful in its brevity. Wordsworth seems to be perhaps deliberately? In the first 3 lines the nun, hermit and student presumably find their narrow confines untroubling because their prayers and studies can roam as free as they like. Likewise, the spinners and weavers are set free, either by the regularity of the work or by their skill which gives their minds free rein. For the bees, roaming is part of their work, they alternate between freedom and prison in their own patterns.

But in the second half of the sonnet, the direction is reversed — it is now the weight of liberty which bears down too much, and the scanty plot which brings the solace.


We seem to have to move between the two dimensions to stay happy. For me, it resonated in that today there is a wealth of information and stimulation, which is potentially overwhelming. There is also a sort if expectation, probably media induced, that one should be doing exciting things. In fact, the truly happy people have inner resources that do not require constant stimulation and can find contentment in their everyday lives.

It seems in contrast to Keats who, if I remember rightly — and I may be wrong, was more into freedom. However, I guess that the spirit can still be free even if the body is restricted in some way. Not sure about the sonnet form bring solace, but it would certainly help to concentrate the mind. I am not sure about the rhythm — I am tone deaf and I think that may extend to rhythm. I am off to brush the dust of ages off my school literature books that my mum never threw away and revise iambic pentameter!! Interesting that we seem to fall into two types.

The peace of mind comes with training our mind to be content and focus within the soothing boundaries of the sonnet.


Solace in Suffering: Wisdom from Thomas à Kempis

Too much liberty is allowing our thoughts to snowball, catastrophise and get out of control. Whether our barriers are physical, emotional or phsychological we can escape by focusing the mind on the form and beauty of the sonnet and other works of literature. I believe that poetry comes from a deep upwelling of emotion and I have always found an escape from depression and anxiety in the witted word over a range of genres.

We also realise that we are not alone. Although my life has always been busy I think that my mind has been too free at times to wander, mull and build worst case scenarios and to especially worry about things I can do nothing about.

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I have always loved Shakespearean sonnets and do find deep calm in the form and the language. I believe this sonnet is however a Petrarchan sonnet because of the form including the rhyming scheme. These first set of questions from Nuns fret not, has made me realise some of the mistakes that had been made of the years with the mental health care. This reminds me of children who I have worked with who were given no boundaries.

They become confused and upset and sometimes display disruptive behaviour. This sonnet is beautiful! My mother tongue is Spanish and I used to enjoy sonnets in my language because of the rigorous structure of the sonnet which enables the poet to express so much in just fourteen lines. I remember myself writing a sonnet when my grandma died.

Thanks a lot! But if, when we feel the difficulties of this, we can remember the reasons for our choices, and the satisfactions that can be gained by working within the limitations, then that can bring relief, release, and a measure of freedom. So it seems to me that its brevity only invites longer contemplation, and we unpack the ideas that he has so neatly compressed.

Already this course is addressing the issues I am struggling to grapple with and taking me to the heart of my pain, illustrating the timeless power of literature to expose and explore human emotions. My prison is a luxurious and privileged one of early retirement in a beautiful part of France allowing my husband and I to escape the stress of teaching in challenging schools. But this comfortable life has weighed heavily because it feels that there is no purpose or contribution to society and I definitely feel that I have too much freedom.

Hence the choices made have created in my mind a form of imprisonment to the extent that I have found it difficult to allow myself to enjoy the pleasure of bumbling bees tumbling in the depths of an hibiscus flower in the warm evening sunshine.

Soporific shadow theater of the mind, inspired by Melville.

This sonnet has highlighted the need to take responsibility for how you view life as there is no need to be doomladen. There is freedom of spirit to be found within confinement and in recognising this we can break free from the real or self-imposed prisons that diminish our spirits. So already I feel empowered to enjoy my freedoms and be grateful for them rather than feeling guilty about life.

Hi Melanie Thanks for your post. I am a late, rather than early, retiree, from a self employed role that I loved and gave me purpose and fulfilment. Thank you, Mike.

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I will search out the text ou have recommended. Your role as a listener sounds valuable and interesting.

Solace in Suffering : Wisdom from Thomas a Kempis

I must explore the possibility of doing online voluntary work. Enjoy the course! The construct and form of the sonnet is truly soothing and invites gentle reflection. The sonnet is easily returned to as it does not require an overwhelming investment of time and energy. Unlike a lengthy piece of literature which can feel like a marathon, the sonnet can be tucked away and used again.


The rhythm reminds me of the lapping water of a lake. I am fortunate enough to live, like Yeats, in Co. Sligo and often go to the lake that influenced much of his poetry.

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I agree with previous reflections that the sonnet does seem to carry a wisdom, a gentle assurance and subsequent reassurance. As to the different sonnet forms, I did learn but along time ago. Look for-ward to reminding my self. The sonnet I have read and reread. Like a previous reflection, the meaning for me can change quite significantly depending on time and place, both physically and emotionally.