Does poetry heal feelings?

Saturday, 23 June 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Does poetry heal feelings? There’s nothing like writing down your thoughts when you need to express them but you don’t know who is going to listen to you.Then, your pen becomes your best friend and that book – your journal, becomes your most prized possession.

An only child with no siblings to talk to, growing up in a home where both parents used to work, Ashfa Nilabdeen started penning down her thoughts from a very young age. Special occasions like birthdays of family members and times like when her friend had to go abroad brought out the creative talent in her as she attempted to make handmade cards and make up her own verses.

Words which came straight from the heart undoubtedly moved the hearts of those who received it and resulted in a showering of blessings and encouragement from all near and dear. When she was just eight years old, Ashfa’s father, a former intelligence officer heading the intelligence unit of the police specially investigating LTTE terrorist activities, got a posting in the Sri Lankan embassy in Riyadh due to security reasons during the period of the terrorist attacks.

Having to leave her friends behind at Bishop’s College, go abroad to a completely different school and establish herself all over again, Ashfa turned to her journal to help her make new friends and be appreciated by her teachers by continuing to make her cards and even once wrote a song for her favorite teacher on her last day at school.

A poem about her pet cat that got lost when she was in Sri Lanka spoke about her true feelings at that time and how she still missed him. She tried to understand the feelings of an orphan child and dedicated a special poem to one.

What’s special about Ashfa’s poems is that they are expressions of her true feelings and real life experiences, so you can understand who she is and what she has been through. For example, the poem called ‘the unplanned moment’ is about her firsthand experience when the tsunami hit Sri Lanka in 2004 – where she saw the water, the disruption in her neighborhood, where she felt fear and how they too had to run far to escape from it, leaving every thing behind and not knowing if they’ll ever come back to find their home as it had always been but they were lucky.

The poem ‘A dream come true’ is a story about how a friend had turned into an enemy and how it was all a dream at the beginning but she woke up one day to find it was becoming a reality.  When Ashfa, now a Grade 9 student back at Bishop’s College, was asked “Does poetry heal

feelings?” she responded: “Yes, definitely! It was my survival technique during the rough times and a means of expression during the happy times as well. As many friends as we may have, sometimes you don’t feel that they understand you as much as your most prized possession would – a journal’s a friend everyone needs to have, it will never let you down.”

‘Does poetry heal feelings?’ will soon be available in leading bookstores and for more information or to have a book signed by Ashfa, e-mail her directly on