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Please Hear What I am Not Saying

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A beautiful and enlightening poem I ran across today. The blog that introduced me to this lovely little treasure only published the first stanza. My curiosity was in overdrive. I had to find this poem. How did this man get the words out of my heart!

Please Hear What I'm Not Saying

Don't be fooled by me.
Don't be fooled by the face I wear
for I wear a mask, a thousand masks,
masks that I'm afraid to take off,
and none of them is me.

Pretending is an art that's second nature with me,
but don't be fooled,
for God's sake don't be fooled.
I give you the impression that I'm secure,
that all is sunny and unruffled with me, within as well
as without,
that confidence is my name and coolness my game,
that the water's calm and I'm in command
and that I need no one,
but don't believe me.
My surface may seem smooth but my surface is my mask,
ever-varying and ever-concealing.
Beneath lies no complacence.
Beneath lies confusion, and fear, and aloneness.
But I hide this. I don't want anybody to know it.
I panic at the thought of my weakness exposed.
That's why I frantically create a mask to hide behind,
a nonchalant sophisticated facade,
to help me pretend,
to shield me from the glance that knows.

But such a glance is precisely my salvation, my only hope,
and I know it.
That is, if it's followed by acceptance,
if it's followed by love.
It's the only thing that can liberate me from myself,
from my own self-built prison walls,
from the barriers I so painstakingly erect.
It's the only thing that will assure me
of what I can't assure myself,
that I'm really worth something.
But I don't tell you this. I don't dare to, I'm afraid to.
I'm afraid your glance will not be followed by acceptance,
will not be followed by love.
I'm afraid you'll think less of me,
that you'll laugh, and your laugh would kill me.
I'm afraid that deep-down I'm nothing
and that you will see this and reject me.

So I play my game, my desperate pretending game,
with a facade of assurance without
and a trembling child within.
So begins the glittering but empty parade of masks,
and my life becomes a front.
I idly chatter to you in the suave tones of surface talk.
I tell you everything that's really nothing,
and nothing of what's everything,
of what's crying within me.
So when I'm going through my routine
do not be fooled by what I'm saying.
Please listen carefully and try to hear what I'm not saying,
what I'd like to be able to say,
what for survival I need to say,
but what I can't say.

I don't like hiding.
I don't like playing superficial phony games.
I want to stop playing them.
I want to be genuine and spontaneous and me
but you've got to help me.
You've got to hold out your hand
even when that's the last thing I seem to want.
Only you can wipe away from my eyes
the blank stare of the breathing dead.
Only you can call me into aliveness.
Each time you're kind, and gentle, and encouraging,
each time you try to understand because you really care,
my heart begins to grow wings--
very small wings,
very feeble wings,
but wings!

With your power to touch me into feeling
you can breathe life into me.
I want you to know that.
I want you to know how important you are to me,
how you can be a creator--an honest-to-God creator--
of the person that is me
if you choose to.
You alone can break down the wall behind which I tremble,
you alone can remove my mask,
you alone can release me from my shadow-world of panic,
from my lonely prison,
if you choose to.
Please choose to.

Do not pass me by.
It will not be easy for you.
A long conviction of worthlessness builds strong walls.
The nearer you approach to me
the blinder I may strike back.
It's irrational, but despite what the books say about man
often I am irrational.
I fight against the very thing I cry out for.
But I am told that love is stronger than strong walls
and in this lies my hope.
Please try to beat down those walls
with firm hands but with gentle hands
for a child is very sensitive.

Who am I, you may wonder?
I am someone you know very well.
For I am every man you meet
and I am every woman you meet.

Charles C. Finn
September 1966
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    LOVE this!!! I first read it when I was 16 years old.. and it touched me to the depths of my being... and taught me to be be more than I could have imagined. It's nice to read it again now to realize just how much I've grown.

    THANK YOU for visiting my page and for the support... that's actually one of my greatest fears at this point... being kicked off of SparkPeople just because I hold a minority position on a number of things!

    However, since the blog is still there, I guess I'm safe for now!
    1775 days ago
    Even though you posted this many months ago, I was meant to read it today. I see myself in these verses, but I am learning that we have to risk to be ourselves and we can not expect others to give us what we can not give ourselves. In a way I was disappointed that the last lines were not:

    Who am I, you may wonder?
    I am someone you know very well.
    For I am you
    and you are me.

    For then he would be talking about self love. We must love ourselves before we can love others. But by loving others, perhaps we can inspire them to love themselves.

    Thank you for your blog. It is one of those that I have added to my notes for further study and inspiration. Keep up the Spark! emoticon
    1919 days ago
    The human condition... we bear the weight of mask and armor to protect the tender, vulnerable, valuable, truth within -- hiding not only from others but from ourselves -- often never to understand our own true being.
    2064 days ago
    I did not know this poem. THANK you for sharing it, it's amazing!
    2069 days ago
    I had forgotten all about this poem. I found it as a teenager back in the early 80's and it was a very powerful piece for me. Thank you for bringing back some wonderful thoughts from my youth. These words are even more powerful for me today!
    2115 days ago
    Wow, I've never read the whole poem before, thanks!
    2126 days ago
    I've read that before! Actually shared it with a friend who I felt needed to read it. It's a very good piece.
    2127 days ago
    The insight of Ego that lives with all of we wake up to this, then we can move to Presence....the spiritual place that exists on the other side of this. All we need is a crack to peek into what is true & pure & lives within.
    2127 days ago
    I like this. i have seen it before and i like how it makes me think more when i am around someone that confuses me. they may be going through something and need support or encouragment.
    2127 days ago
  • SAL2525
    Awesome poem! Very nice! Thanks
    2127 days ago
    Thanks for sharing!!!!
    2127 days ago
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