Touch: The Journal of Healing


Editor's Choice: A Terrible Beauty

In the summer of 2008, a poet colleague reintroduced me to the writings of Dennis Green.  I was familiar with a few pieces penned by him through my involvement in the poetry forum sponsored by the Academy of American Poets.  Dennis had been a moderator before I joined the forum in the spring of 2007.

Since last summer, I have come to know many, but just a fraction, of the poems and writings penned by Dennis, and during this time, I have learned to appreciate and admire his poetic mastery of the English language and his way with words, though nothing could have prepared me for "A Terrible Beauty" when I read it last November.  This piece shook me to my core with its roller coaster of a ride through the devastation and heartache of receiving a diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease and the cloud skimming flights of rising to the challenge to overcome life-altering obstacles, not only in the individual, but also in family members.

The following is a paraphrase of what I wrote to Dennis after I recovered from reading "A Terrible Beauty."  I was so moved, that I wrote a poem for Dennis, which shall remain unpublished, based on his speech.

Many images came to me while and after I read your speech.  When I closed my eyes, not only did I see these images, I also heard the roar of applause from an audience who would have sat in silence that day 'til your last word.  The silence lingered for a moment, and then all hell broke loose.

"A Terrible Beauty" tells of the courage, the endurance of PWP's, the people they surround themselves with and who surround them, the unbreakable bond that connects them, and the endurance of friendship, hope, and love.  At least this is what I felt, imagined, and heard.

So many cliché quotes come to mind when I think about how our lives are changed for the better by the chance encounters we experience during the course of our lives.  We family of poets come from different countries and continents, different careers and backgrounds, and different histories, all with our own stories to tell.  In my own case, I think about how my attempts at writing poetry grew from a need to "write-out" my feelings that have surfaced over the years from buried memories both good and painful.  But in your case, I think of the indomitable human spirit that burns so strong within each of us.  In some, it is an ember that glows always, but in others, there are times when it burns brightly and serves as a beacon to guide us and help us to put into perspective our own misgivings and misfortunes, and to be grateful for what we have and what we have been given.  You help me to put my life in perspective.

Dennis must take part of the credit for the launching of this journal, because after reading his speech, I decided that if I ever did begin to publish other writers’ works, I would want to publish it.  I returned to his piece many, many times over the ensuing weeks and months, and I drew strength and courage from its words.  It was just after one such reading this past February that I made the decision to move forward with this journal.  Today and in the future, all who come to this journal to find inspiration, gain new insight into the touch of humanity, and grow in their hope for humanity owe a small debt of gratitude to Dennis Greene, poet, author, and triumphant survivor.

And so, with great humility and gratitude to its author, I offer you a testimony to the indomitable human spirit, "A Terrible Beauty," and how that spirit grows brighter when challenged and inspires growth in those who are drawn to it.

O.P.W. Fredericks, Editor


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Touch: The Journal of Healing

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