Poems about Personal Transformation

What was the journey you went on as you transformed the trauma of abuse into a state of personal transformation? Transformative learning involves experiencing a deep, structural shift in the basic premises of thought, feelings, and actions. It is a shift of consciousness that dramatically and irreversibly alters our way of being in the world. Such a shift involves our understanding of ourselves and our self-locations; our relationships with other humans and with the natural world; our understanding of relations of power in interlocking structures of class, race and gender; our body awarenesses, our visions of alternative approaches to living; and our sense of possibilities for social justice and peace and personal joy. transforming trauma into triumph… what does it take… what belief(s) allowed me to engage in transformative experiences… resilience… learning to breathe… learning to move… learning to trust…

I forgive you.

I forgive you.

One day, this may be true….

But for now and first off, FUCK YOU!

Oh, don’t worry…by “YOU” I mean me too.

But for now, let’s get back to you…

Yes, you!

You know who you are.

Dig deep, you know every last detail to be true. 

You are to blame and if you need a reminder, look in the mirror and say, “Fuck you!”

Should you choose to remain in the dark, I will no longer take part…

in this facade that we play in all night and all day.

I have an inner child to tend to, one that is waiting to shout, “Hurray!”

So day by day, bare with me as I say, I forgive you I do.

But also, momentarily, FUCK YOU!

Carlene, Canada
July 8, 2022

Goodnight to Me

Dark thoughts at night,

may you see the light.

Dark thoughts at night,

I release your fright.

Dark thoughts at night,

it’s my time to bite.

Dark thoughts at night,

it’s time to turn off the light.

Dark thoughts at night, 

it’s time for me to have a Good Night.

Carlene, Canada
July 8, 2022

The sum of my parts, makes me whole

Ricky (age 10)
No need to shed another tear
No one wants to spank or beat you, call you names or sexually assault you
You are safe. I will protect you
Spend your time…playing, laughing, enjoying nature…and just being silly

Rick (teen)
You have experienced ecstasy and hell
You’re just a teenager, but forced to grow up fast
No one sees YOU, the “real” you
You have taken it upon yourself to be the Protector
But now I need to protect myself
You are my sexual being, and you left me in a teenage mindset when navigating relationships

I know you were hurt by older married men – physically and emotionally
I know that you are still scared of “Daddy”
For God’s sake – your pen pal was raped and murdered at 15…by Daddy?
Did he order this to be done? I have no proof, just gut instinct
Elisa…We wrote openly and honestly, and I thank you for our friendship
Elisa…I am sorry. I miss you. I love you. You are an angel

You are no longer in danger
Don’t be angry
Don’t feel like you are missing out
Stop blaming others and just…LIVE
Try to be happy
Try to love. You are lovable, you know.
Kind, funny, sensitive, wicked sense of humour…
That is what we love about YOU

Richard (age 56)
It is ok to fear the unknown
Life is one big – What if? Maybe? Why? Why not?
You say it. You want that to be your life’s motto

It is a blessed life shared with a loving husband, supportive friends and family
Work consumed you, but was also your security blanket
“I’m too busy” was your excuse to keep people away
Now that you are retired…say YES or say MAYBE
Teach yourself to not say NO

Life is short
All we have when someone dies are memories
Fill the rest of your life with emotions and memories that are happy, sharing, loving and true to yourself
You have supported your community for over four decades, and it is ok if you need some help. Ask. Try to find your voice. Helping others helps you

Be strong, sensitive, silly, and vulnerable – let Ricky go
Be sexy, protective, and confident – let Rick go
Ricky and Rick are a part of you
They will always be there…in spirit, in memories

Rest your mind. Heal your body. Let your spirit soar

Eulogy for me, by me, for some time in the distant future:

Ricky – We Honestly Love You
“I honestly love you” is Ricky’s favourite Olivia Newton-John song

Rick – Dance like no one is watching, because “You Look Like A Dick To Me” (Olivia Newton-John song from Sordid Lives)

Richard – You are a Survivor and Thriver. Your infectious laugh, kindness and humour will be missed. You gave so much to your family (biological and chosen), friends and community. We love you. Namaste!

“How lucky I am to have known somebody and something that saying goodbye to is so damned awful…
He came to me to be a friend, and I knew some how he couldn’t stay
That he was someone I would know a little while
He brought a smile, and he was free, and he came to give it all to me
The chance to see the way he sees, so I could fly…
I tried to see, all that he saw in me, looking through Richard’s Window in the sky” (from Oscar nominated Olivia song, “Richard’s Window”)

Steve (my husband) - “No Other Love” is an Olivia song on her album, GAIA, which became our wedding song. I never thought in my lifetime I would experience sharing my life with someone, and truly feeling loved. Thank you for 27 years of shared happiness, adventure, and wedded bliss.
My Love…I’m too busy
My Sweet…You got to eat
I love you!
Eggplant emoji. Peach emoji. Heart emoji.

Author Statement

This past year, I asked for help.

I struggle with anxiety, depression and dissociation. I started attending weekly psychotherapy sessions and found them to be extremely helpful.

Life is a journey and I want to participate in all that it offers.

R.D., Canada
July 2, 2022


I have survived an epic moment
Sensed but not selected
Tied to this background
Support is an offering
The flow of strategy, an
Opportunity to share
Learning to practice
Implementation of this project
Blindly scribbling on paper
Reading that is encouraged
Reclaiming hope to see
Trauma and my brain
Winding down the brightest
Collars collapse into Bibles
It's about what I believe
Insight real, controlled hatred
Going towards home
Similarities from strategies
The health care provides
My journey full of resources
The healer proud of treatment
Experiences tender to the fold
Following the instructions on how I should proceed

Author Statement

I wrote this poem to describe the journey, the healing journey I have been on the past year and how I use the tools that I’ve been given to help me cope with the stress of daily life. I tried to show how art and poetry can help me overcome the challenges that I face everyday. This describes what I do in order to make art and how I feel about my life and how it progresses, while I make light out of Darkness.

Michele Dickson, Canada
July 1, 2022
Featured Image

Freed Spirit

Waywaymegwun, Randy Charboneau, Canada
June 19, 2022
Featured Image

Restorative Justice

Randy Charboneau, Canada
June 5, 2022


I was a child whose life had barely begun
You crept into my room and took me from by bed
I trusted you and you violated me
How could you

You stole my innocence

For many years I was afraid because I was too small
I knew it was wrong
“daddy’s shouldn’t do those things”
I thought my voice would not be heard
So shame kept me silent

One day I found the strength to run
But the flashbacks remained.
I saw you in my mind I could not shake you.
The visions in my head were overwhelming

Courage made me find someone who could help me heal
At first I couldn’t speak without tears getting in the way
The words wanted to come out but were held fast
As if trapped by a barrier.
I saw the words I wanted to say
But my lips refused to open

Shame kept me silent.

Eventually I found the words without barriers or shame.
It was like a dam had broken and the flow of water, was the words
The years have moved on and I’ve found forgiveness for myself
I know I still have some healing to do
But my past no longer has a suffocating hold on me
I rejoice in every new day
Because I chose to live each one knowing that I am here
I am a survivor

Author Statement

When I was told that I could write a poem about my childhood abuse to help others to heal and also myself, I didn’t know if I wanted to relive those memories again in such detail. But then I realized that if my writing these words could help someone else face their own trauma, then I had to try. It was hard writing those moments because I relived them as I wrote, so I thought of myself as a separate entity and was able to write the words without it consuming me.

IP, Canada
May 21, 2022

The Burn Barrel

A tenuous ego sits waiting for memories folded warm and cozy…aware of their place in the shadows, amongst the mold and cobwebs of emotional death.
The artifacts of youth mark the precipice…without anchorment their purpose long forgotten imprinted remnants.
The dust of dreams coat the surface, penetrating fractures of memories hoarded… stored but never hidden. Always peering out.
Razor sharp tears of anger slash deep along the skin, an attenuate memory provokes
the quicken of flies’ legs, a tickle.
Yet, darkness awakens with the skin swathed in alcohol. Serves the flies’ larger hunger for morsels nestled in the ruptures…
The folds of shadows warm and cozy quell not the soundless gargoyles screaming on the edge of duress…remnant soft dust and dreams in the interstices.
The kindling of regeneration, rejuvenation, and transfiguration
ignite the remnants of dust and pain, building a blaze, releasing the heat of regret…
Welcoming the blessings to let go, as the warmth of transfiguration engulfs the soul,
embers rise to the ethers…illuminating the darkness, home to old fears.
Rise…rise…rise to the occasion, leave room for dreams, the nascent appearance of hope… the inkling of new purpose beckons.
Dust embraces the ethers,
Fear embraces the ethers,
Pain embraces the ethers, scattering and healing.
A heart warmed by the burn barrels embers…envelop relinquishment, envelop freedom, embraces blessings with inner strength for forgiveness
A new path…a new journey, continuing…

Author Statement

I was honored invitation to participate in the poetry project. However, I faltered in the execution of the poem itself until the framework of my artistic endeavors embraced the regeneration and rejuvenation of my personal connection to the five elements, and led me to find my voice. This poem reflects my journey. Sometimes you got to get through your fear to see the beauty on the other side. — Poppa Henry, "The Good Dinosaur" Writing this poem took my deepest feelings and fears out of deep storage, for which I am simultaneously grateful yet trepidatious. Truth: I have spent my life walking between two worlds, one in which everything was as calm and bright as outward appearances would show, where I sought adventure, and often found it. I have had several successful careers and, at 72, I am still “young” – at least at heart. I have a wonderful, colorful family, and friends around the world with whom I still communicate Despite my successes and triumphs, I have spent much of my life angry, ashamed, disconnected, and alone in the deepest sense of the word. When my wife passed away from breast cancer, my grief offered no solace, compassion, or gentle hand of support to hold a person up; so, writing became my best friend. Through symbolism, I exposed shards of my shattered childhood and my deepest pain. Being part of the Gatehouse experience in the beginning was an overwhelming period. The demons of my youth were woven into the very fabric of who I became as an adult. In retrospect my inner child was at the helm of my ship, and me along for the tumultuous ride of my life. Finding the Gatehouse was a blessing. Through supportive individuals, I began to journal again, expressing my inner turmoil. The process forced me to face my demons and gain the courage to put them where they belonged – in the burn barrel. The pain of my childhood betrayal will never go away; but I can talk about it without breaking down. The process is ongoing; my friends call me “the turtle” because my actions are slow and deliberate. All of the above does not exhibit how far I have come - the next chapters are still unwritten, because something wonderful is always about to happen. The poem I submitted for the Global Poetry Initiative stirred up emotional dust for me, at the same time releasing it. My wish is that sharing my experience of healing, however slow the process is, will be words that comfort others, chosen by those looking for a guidepost for hope. My poem reflects my journey, and the journey continues. And I am blessed…

Frank J. DiMaio DC, MS, Canada
May 21, 2022

L I G H T & D A R K

She looked at her own face and saw true joy.
In her eyes she saw a genuine sparkle.
All those years she was missing.
And didn’t know it.
She simply thought it was motherhood.
The grief she felt.
At the years and connections lost.
For not being allowed to feel.
For not being allowed to speak up.
For not allowing herself.
For judging herself. For self-hatred.
And at the same time the joy, the gratitude, the Love she felt.
To be re-found.
To Feel.
To Express.
Do you know where she is? The true you.

Author Statement

These poems started to come to me with ease in January 2019, about 9 months after I had a concussion. It was after 9 months of really slowing down and resting (because the concussion gave me no other choice!) that these poems started to arise.

The first one I ever wrote arose when I realized how lost and disconnected I’d been for so many years. But now there was a turning point where I was starting to feel something different! I was beginning to experience joy, gratitude and health again. My first poem (“Light and Dark,” above) arose when I saw this difference.

Over time, these poems would come as “downloads” after I’d allow myself to feel emotions and hurts of past traumas. Sometimes they’d come during meditation or while being in nature. Other times they’d come after therapy appointments or after being in contact with a toxic relative. They came sporadically, sometimes months apart.

The poems have been an outlet for me to allow my voice, feelings and thoughts to come through; and with no expectation or pressure on myself of whether I’d share them or not. They’ve been a part of my healing journey and process. I hope they help others too now in some way!

Avdeep, Canada
May 21, 2022

Together we live to tell

This pain, this stress, this suffering,
I’ve felt and touched it, too.
Life is much more than this

This joy, this calm, this rejoicing,
I’ve felt and touched it, too.
Life has much more of this.

Take my hand, come my friend.
We cross to the other shore.
The waters are fierce and fast.
The waters are cold and deep.

But first we must calm our minds
To avoid false warning signs.
Breathing in, I am still.
Breathing out, I am strong.

Alone no one can cross.
Together we live to tell.
Alone no one can escape.
Together we climb from hell.

Hope, joy, and love are true.
So come my friend, take my hand.
Together we cross, together we flee.
Together we are a raft.

My healing is bound to yours.
Our old wounds are still fresh.
So come my friend, take my hand.
We cross to the other shore.

Author Statement

Writing this poem was for me an opportunity to share my hope and gratitude. I’m a survivor of
childhood sexual violence, and I’m also a firm believer that nothing is lost. The innocence I once
had is still there beneath the rubble. The hope and joy are still there, too

My healing journey has been like crossing to the other shore of a violently flowing river. I tried
to cross alone many times, always turning back. Those experiences taught me that I can’t cross
alone. I discovered, just as many before me, that two survivors together are a trustworthy raft.
Together we survivors can cross to the other shore, the other side of trauma and pain. Writing
this poem was a way to share my conviction. We recover. We heal. We triumph.

P Palmer, United States of America
May 21, 2022

The Gatehouse