The Surprises You Find in Books #2

As mentioned before, I’m starting on a series of biweekly posts on my serendipitous discoveries (e.g. poems, songs, movies) I found from reading.

This week, I have a poem from Amy Harmon’s book Making Faces (more about the book at the bottom of the post):

If God Makes All Our Faces

If God makes all our faces, did he laugh when he made me?
Does he make the legs that cannot walk and the eyes that cannot see?
Does he curl the hair upon my head ’til it rebels in wild defiance?
Does he close the ears of the deaf man to make him more reliant?
Is the way I look a coincidence or just a twist of fate?
If he made me this way, is it okay, to blame him for the things I hate?
For the flaws that seem to worsen every time I see a mirror,
For the ugliness I see in me, the loathing and the fear,
Does he sculpt us for his pleasure, for a reason I can’t see?
If God makes all our faces, did he laugh when he made me?

Amy Harmon

This is an exceptionally woeful poem from a self-conscious girl who finds herself flawed and inferior to others. I love this poem not because of the meaning behind it (for it is a very sad poem), but because of its poignancy and how clearly it conveys the bitterness and distress that the writer is feeling.

We all have that part of ourselves we sometimes loathe and want gone (or at the least, hidden)… but, well, here’s a quote from the same book that I think is important to keep in mind whenever we are reminded of that “ugly” part of us:

True beauty, the kind that doesn’t fade or wash off, takes time. It takes pressure. It takes incredible endurance. It is the slow drip that makes the stalactite, the shaking of the Earth that creates mountains, the constant pounding of the waves that breaks up the rocks and smooths the rough edges.

And from the violence, the furor, the raging of the winds, the roaring of the waters, something better emerges, something that would otherwise never exist.

And so we endure. We have faith that there is purpose. We hope for the things we can’t see. We believe that there are lessons in loss, power in love, and that we have within us the potential for a beauty for magnificent that our bodies can’t contain it.

 


More about the book:

Making Faces

It’s been a while since I read Making Faces so I honestly can’t say much, except that this is a powerful and insightful book that has taught me a lot about beauty, love, loss, and self-acceptance.

Although this book was not my favourite of Harmon’s, I still highly recommend it. Harmon’s writing here is, as always, poignant and bittersweet, and I don’t think you can ever find another book similar to this.

The Surprises You Find in Books

One of the reasons why people (or at least I) love reading is the serendipitous discoveries we encounter in books. I’m not just referring to quotes of profound wisdom, but random things like songs, poems, movies and people which you’ve never heard of, that are referenced in books.

As an innately curious person, I always make it a point to search up these references and get to know them. Sometimes these references end up taking a special place in my heart, and I find them worthy for sharing, so maybe this will be a weekly or biweekly thing.

This week, I have a William Ernest Henley poem, Invictus, which I discovered from the book Mafioso by Catherine Doyle (more about the book later).

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be,
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

I’ve never taken literature and I know nothing about the rhyme, rhythm and structures of poems, but I feel this poem conveys a lot of strength and fortitude, making it a new favourite.

I also found a website explaining the poem in depth and in context of Henley, which you may want to check out to understand it better (if you’re a poem noob like me): https://invictusexplained.wordpress.com/

Tell me how you find this poem in the comments below!


More about the book:

Mafioso is the third and final book in the Blood for Blood series (see first book: Vendetta). This is a YA Contemporary about a girl who falls in love with a boy from a mafia family… but things get a lot more complicated when she finds out a secret about her own family. It’s kind of a Romeo and Juliet meets The Godfather story.

Overall I think this series is a four-star read. Not the best, but worth a read, if you want something light and easy to read, yet with mildly dark themes, bits of both action and romance, and somewhat thought-provoking.

I think the books get better as the series progresses, so don’t be too put-off if you’re reading it and don’t like the first book!

Exploration: Music – Week 1

A few days ago, I was at the public library when I chanced upon this book: 101 Artists to Listen to Before You Die by Ricardo Cavolo. It’s illustrations caught my eye:

IMG_0970

Anyway, so that’s how I decided to start a solo music exploration project. I grabbed one out of my many idle notebooks to jot down my thoughts as I listened to each of these artists. Along the way I found many songs with rather meaningful lyrics and thought to share them here.

This week, I explored 14 different artists. I won’t mention all 14, instead I’m just going to feature the (lyrical) gems I discovered! So this isn’t as much about music as it is about words & lyrics.

Continue reading “Exploration: Music – Week 1”