Writing - Sweet Regret - Poetry - 2011

bipolar disorder Depression feeling out loud figurative art lived experience poetry South African writer

Oh Regret,

I see you have come to visit again.

We used to spend day and night together,

Yes, I remember those times.

I was young and you were bitter.

Sweet Regret,

This time your visits are shorter,

Less bitter.

Maybe it’s in the weather?

Maybe it’s you-

You’ve changed for the better.

Your friends,

Disappointment, grief and heartache have come along too.

That’s fine- let them in.

We can all gather round and have some tea.

I’m so much braver now you see.

Let me tell you straight to your face, Regret.

I no longer fret.

I have lived.

I live still, not holding my breath.

You may taint my memories, a little.

You may mist my eyes, a little.

But this time, you don’t have me.

I guess I have you, this time, Regret.

I originally wrote this poem in 2011 and shared it on my inaugural blog, Yve’s Corner on Wordpress on 22 November 2011. Many of the times I write freely, as I did then, and I’d sometimes post it to get it out, not always editing it.  When I look at some of my old writing, I can feel the churning and yearning for expression, but have little no no recollection of writing it. I am considering looking at more writing and artwork because I’m curious as to why I can’t remember.

I used this poem years later (in 2018) as part of the artworks for the ArtReach programme (week long residency in Cape Town at the AVA gallery) in 2018 I created. The theme of Regret , something we all share , was really strong throughout the show. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with regret, and maybe that day, I had to speak to Regret herself. Maybe Regret seemed easier to speak to, more relatable or kinder, if it were a person, you know?

Regretful and hopeful, I guess, in one gulp.

Below, I’ve included the works I painted for the show. They were all sold, the entire framed series to one tourist couple. There was not an opportunity to take better photos without glare, but I think these should suffice. Following that, I’ll add the watercolor paintings which were the inspiration for the works. I painted them in 2018 in March - they were an expression of this feeling - these experiences around my birthday that same year.


 Me at the AVA Association for Visual Arts Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa for their ArtReach Programme in 2018.

 Yvette Hess AVA galleryTrying. 2018. Mixed media on mixed media paper.

Regret Yvette Hess AVA gallery

Regret. 2018. Mixed media on mixed media paper.

Yvette Hess AVA gallery

Feeling Blue. 2018. Mixed media on mixed media paper.

Yvette Hess AVA gallery

Music. 2018. Mixed media on mixed media paper.

The A5 watercolour works follow:

You can read the review of the show, written by artist and arts writer Scott Eric Williams, here

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