joanne gallant-chilton

mindfully creating - always a beginner

Please Hear What I’m Not Saying

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While i was cleaning and purging the office in my home recently, i stumbled upon a very lengthy old poem i had sitting in a file along with a few other articles.  The poem doesn’t have a date or signed by anyone other than at the end signed Anon and in brackets ( When you can say this with your heart, pass it on. )

I received this poem, Please Hear What I’m Not Saying in the mid 80’s while living in Bangor ME. My life was a mess then and it was by the grace of GOD that i had been given a wonderful opportunity with a new way of seeing that would allow me to be a better person.   So many years later this poem still reminds me of where i was at emotionally and spiritually. I can’t believe I held on to this for so many years.  I am reminded change happens only when we face ourselves and admit to another human or to the GOD of our understanding that we need help. In other words, the moment we surrender and allow the masks to fall we create space for change to happen.  I feel it’s important and time to pass this poem on.

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, I wear a thousand masks,

masks that I’m afraid to take off,

and none of them are 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. Please.

My surface may seem smooth, but

my surface is my mask,

my ever-varying and ever-concealing mask.

Beneath lies no smugness, no complacence.

Beneath dwells the real me, in confusion,

in fear, in aloneness.

But I hide this.

I don’t want anybody to know it.

I panic at the thought of my weakness

and fear being 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 salvation.

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 that

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.

I’m afraid to.  I’m afraid your glance

will not be followed by acceptance

and 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,

that I’m just no good, 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.

And so begins the parade of masks, 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 can’t say.

I dislike hiding, honestly. I dislike the

superficial game I’m playing, the superficial

phony game.  I’d really like 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

or need.  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, very feeble, but wings.

With your sensitivity and sympathy, and your

power of understanding, 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 of the person

that is me if you choose to.

Please 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 and

un-certainty, from my lonely prison.  So do not

pass me by.  Please 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 harder I may

strike back. It’s irrational, but despite

what books say about man, I am irrational.

I fight against the very thing I cry out for.

And in this lies my hope.  My only 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 somebody

you know very well.  For I am every man

you meet and every woman you meet.


( When you can say this with your heart, pass it on. )

3 Responses

  1. Joanne’s talent continues to evolve. Her photography is outstanding, her jewelry is beautiful and feels made ‘just for you’,; she is emerging as a very skilled dowser, a creator of beautiful spaces and now a dedicated researcher of her family tree with an intent for a published book that could well become a film in the future.

  2. This is so wonderful to hear, truly I am feeling very choked up right now. Blessings

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