18 November 2014


Wilted fig leaves on a branch

Gratitude, you say, would heal my dis-ease
and reward me with healthy nerves and knees.

You pick up your youth, your vigor and glow,
give me a nod and out the door you go

leaving fresh air in your wake and new guilt
that pain in my back, legs and hands won’t wilt.

Yet I can’t imagine what’s left to do
now that I greet pain like an old friend too.

I knew you almost a decade before
pain arrived, but pain stays with me far more.

In fact, pain’s moved in with notebooks and all
and I’ve made up its bed right down the hall.

And I am so grateful for its company—
I see much love beyond its litany.

So I’ve given up guilt’s cold and harsh breeze
for healthy chats with victims of disease.

Dis-eases like Ebola and cancer
are blights awaiting humanity's answer.

Whether we heal into death or more life
our spirits are strong, we know health's our right.

Copyright © 2014 S.L.Chast


Sumana Roy said...

"we heal into death"..these are exactly my ma's words, she keeps on saying this for she is convinced that pain won't leave her, specially knee & back pain....however we all want to heal into more life...spirit is willing & we won't listen to what flesh says...great lines Susan :)

Unknown said...

Susan great words that put pain in its proper place.
It's own room - yes my pain has had it's own suite for one quarter of a century now. People either do or don't understand thinking a pill is the cure.
Be well and write ...

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I so resonate with this.....when you live with chronic pain you can either fight it (unproductive), or make peace with it and learn its limitations. Like you, I learned to live with it, and it became an old friend, love the idea of making its bed just down the hall. I, too, love the idea of healing unto death, or more life.

Kay L. Davies said...

Oh, Susan, this says it all. I haven't had a day without pain since 1980-something. It is my constant companion, and I've had to learn to live with it, because it seems unlikely I'll ever live without it.
Well said.
Luv, K

Anonymous said...

Whether we heal into death or more life... never heard that exact saying though it is beautiful. Wonderful, Susan

Kathryn Dyche said...

I love that pain has its own room down the hall. As someone who lives with chronic pain this really spoke to me.

rallentanda said...

I had no idea that chronic pain is so commonplace. There are Hindu meditativeways of removing pain but I think you have to have been practising these ways since childhood. Embracing pain verses fighting pain seems to be the quandary.

totomai said...

the dash in dis-ease entirely give a new meaning to the word and i like it's impact.

we all have battles, some are shorter, others longer but no matter what it is very true that health and to be healthy is everybody's right

Old Egg said...

Pain has moved in all right but it has to sleep on the floor...it might leave then.

Gen Giggles said...

Yes, health is a right we all need. I love the idea of pain bringing notebooks.

Justin Lamb said...

I like how you've accepted it and are now able to see past it to have empathy for others. That's great. Well written.

humbird said...

Acceptance and gratitude - indeed the first steps to heal. Understanding what for...and often the answers - in our past/present beliefs, which now don't have firm ground under, but were taught, trusted as absolute truth. ~ Thanks for prompt, Susan! Peace x

Myrna R. said...

This is a stupendous poem Susan. I too can relate to the pain. I will try to make friends with it. You helped me understand a different level of gratitude. Thank you.

Myrna R. said...

This is a stupendous poem Susan. I too can relate to the pain. I will try to make friends with it. You helped me understand a different level of gratitude. Thank you.