The Pain


The following poem, which I have translated from Dutch, came into my life first in my early twenties. Following a traumatic medical experience I suffered some symptoms related to post traumatic stress and this brought about a lot of other feelings locked up inside of me.

I went to see my GP, because I wasn’t sleeping and came to the point I could no longer function during my internship during the day. At first my GP sent me to a Freudian therapist, and this relationship simply did not work out. I am sure that Freud was a brilliant man, however psycho-analysis is not for everyone. I then came to a Gestalt therapist, who really did wonderful work with me. One of the things she shared with me was this poem by Magda Maris. At the time I first read it, I kind of got it, but I did not get the true essence of it, I understand now.

Last week I reorganized my bookcase and found the book (‘Van Hart Tot Hart’), which has travelled with me all this time, and, remembering the poem, I decided to read it. I really feel that I have made amazing personal growth, as I now get the complete essence of the book and its meaning, and it made me feel accomplished.

I have searched for an English translation, but didn’t find one, so I am taking creative liberty to share this poem with you in my own translation.

The Pain

I am the pain;

I am the hurt love;

I visit when it is dark

And if there is light still

I will make it dark.


I am the pain;

The pain that is unaccepted;

I am already rejected;

Before I announce myself.


I am an unrecognized signal,

A denied reality.


I hide in many expressions

Sometimes in anger,

Sometimes in ridicule,

Sometimes in hatred,

Sometimes in apathy,

Sometimes in boredom, all pieces of armour around the heart

Where I have my stay.

I am the wound-energy of the heart

Where love has its throne. The heart is

The radiator of the love.

The heart that once trustfully

gave that love to

a wounded and blinded world

that was only able to reject it

in fear and pain;

and with that hurt it so much

that it too, had to make itself blind and insensitive,

through which it became of that world;

cold, hard and closed off,

afraid of the warmth of the love

that is the only one that is able

to reach the heart, to move it

and to bring movement to it


But when this movement hurts her, because

It makes old wounds bleed,

Is it odd,

That she hardens herself?


I am the pain,

I am the rejected heart-energy:

In order to avoid me,

In order not to sense me,

People will numb themselves

With hate

With ridicule

With indifference

In short, with everything

That seems to make me bearable.


I am the pain,

Because of me you are asleep

Because of me you do not want to wake up

Because of me your heart hardens

Which makes you lose contact

With your inner love,

With the energy of your heart,

The radiating energy that is ever healing,

To be connected to this energy is:

Being able to trust

Being able to surrender

Being able to act like a child, open and free.


I am the pain

You don’t want me

You don’t suffer me


Oh, if you would bear me with love

Feel me and suffer with open heart,

Mentally and physically,

I would be healing for you

To bear with love means

To want to feel me

To want to suffer me

To accept me as I am

It means: give up your fear for me and allowing me to be

No matter where and how I am

It means being willing to acknowledge

That you hide me

Underneath your anger or detachment.


I am the pain,

To be willing to bear me

Means that are willing to acknowledge me

In my sharpness, my harrowing truth;

I am not sweet,

I am not terrible.


I am the pain, nothing more

Nothing less

Who finds, feels and experiences me

inside themselves will heal!


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