Tag Archives: support

Tell me again, will you?

flame

I missed another promise that I promised this time I’d keep.
The subjective implication of this
is matched only by the objective hook
that snags you as you pass it by:
it’s not the bleeding that ages you, it’s the scars;
think of sand put through the fire—eventually you become clear glass
but too fragile to hold on to, once made.

So hold me,
just hold me—for a second will do. Hold me as if to say
You do not have to break and I will never let you go.
So that when I do, and you don’t (as I will and you won’t
and that is the simple truth of it)
I’ll have that long trail of hooks and snags
and little drops of blood that I let joyously fall
(flung, really, cast out like little mendicants
with their tiny beggar bowls held high)
to find my way back to you, again.
Tired, I think, smiling,
I’m just tired.
Smiling.

up

Life is a journey and a long one. We are not, I hope, judged too generously on our few perfect moments, nor too harshly on our many failed moments, but mostly on our persistence to keep trying in the moments in between.

We should bring ourselves to account each day, but not to identify our failures—that’s corrosive. Rather, to value the good moments and the successes of the day, to cherish them and be thankful for them. Everything else, bundle up and pass off, asking God for His support and mercy. Life is about persistence, not perfection.

Thank you for reading Tell me again, will you? I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Poetry

That tree

Older, barer, thick and still strong
is that tree which shaded my youth.
Prickly and knotted with a rough,
gnarly bark, it was always there,
rooted in prayer and gifted with the fruit
of its many silent blessings.
It is I who have grown,
and grown to miss it,
although I know it stands there still—
all hard and solid, its crown assured,
the weight of its many years bowing it
to the ground, as it awaits the wood cutter’s ax.

But in the winds that blow and swirl
and curl down through the years,
that tree will live on
as long as there is me or mine
to remember it. My father.

up

With great love and thanks to the family’s wonderful, loving, strong-as-a-tree father, Jack Etheridge!

Thank you for reading That tree. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

13 Comments

Filed under Poetry

Chemo Café

All,

I would like to introduce you to a wonderful poet, Ms. Julia Dean-Richards. I have been following her poetry blog, aplaceforpoetry for some time now and wanted, out of my great admiration for her work, to highlight one of her poems, Chemo Café, an excerpt of which is below:

In this lively, loving place
anxiety etched on every face
my comfort is a cushioned chair
a pillow and designer hair.

I absolutely love this poem. I found the concept of treating a chemo therapy treatment center as a café as incredibly courageous and clearly coupled with a powerful, purposeful view of life and living. Julia has told me that the sessions are now long over and “there is nothing to worry about.” And while I am certain that her current health is the product of a professional and modern health system, I am equally certain that her health is also a product of her positive, committed view.

And incredible writing skills, of course!

My wife, Lyn, and I host a monthly interfaith devotional in our home. Everyone is encouraged to share a poem, story, prayer, idea, picture or image that encapsulates their understanding of the spiritual nature of the devotion’s theme. This past month the theme of the devotional was, “Into the Light.” I read Julia’s poem as my offering because I could think of no other poem that expressed such a wonderful sense of light and buoyancy.

While at Julia’s blog, please also check out Snailbeach Tails, her magical, illustrated book for everyone who loves stories.

Thank you for reading Chemo Café. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting both the Book of Pain and aplaceforpoetry. As always, I look forward to your comments as will Julia, I am sure, at her blog.

john

The comments are © 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The excerpt from Chemo Café is © 2013 by Julia Dean-Richards and used with permission from the author; all rights reserved. Neither this excerpt from the poem or these comments that accompany it may be printed or distributed in any form whatsoever.

5 Comments

Filed under Poetry

This long, long night

Khanum, of what shall we speak?
Of dashed hopes, of aching limbs,
of damaged loves and broken hearts?
But please, do not bestir Yourself.
If we do not pray in words then surely
through this long, long night our silence will say it all:
of our hope for that gentle kiss to send us into the mist,
of our fear to hear the quietest of sounds floating in the dark,
of our wait for the darkest shadows to reach out before the dawn…
And as I drift now—as You drifted then—this I know,
I will never weep alone again.

In Persian, the word “Khanum” is a term of great respect when added to a woman’s name and can be roughly translated as “Lady.” It’s pronunciation is a little tricky: the opening “Kh” is like “ha” but said with a little guttural sound. All together it is pronounced “Kha-num.”

In this poem it is directed to Varaqiy-i-‘Ulyá, or, in English, the Greatest Holy Leaf, the designated title of the daughter of Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith; She passed from this world in 1932, the last of Her generation. The Greatest Holy Leaf was universally known for Her purity, kindness, strength, determination, humility and Her constant service to Her Father, who said of Her, I can well inhale from thee the fragrance of My love and the sweet-smelling savour wafting from the raiment of My Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous. Be astir upon God’s Tree in conformity with thy pleasure and unloose thy tongue in praise of thy Lord amidst all mankind.

Such was Her loving nature and sense of kindness and humility that She was, in that Household, commonly addressed as “Khanum,” and was indeed, the Khanum.

Thank you for reading This long, long night. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

5 Comments

Filed under Poetry

In the wind

She moves, I think, through haunted air distractedly,
while everyone, madcap, breezes by,
quit now of worry and missing her hopes
that lie thick all around, gasping.
But what breaks her heart is, I fear,
what left her for dead in the first place,
so I pray
that it’s not over—and yet it is,
that it’s not over—say what you will,
that it’s not over—you are not drifting,
I will stand with you wherever you land.

A major life changing crisis is a difficult thing to survive and manage. The feelings and emotions are so intense and the risks so very real. But once it is over—well that’s the question, isn’t it—is it ever really over?

Certainly from the viewpoint of people on the outside of the event there may come a time when, for them, the crisis is past and life returns to normal. But for the person at the apex of the crisis it continues to be not just what they went through, but what in the end it means to them going forward.

Such were my thoughts when thinking about a dear friend who had gone through such an event. I instinctively knew there would come a time when the world would carry on, but that that was the precise moment when she would be at her most vulnerable, when she would most need a friend to tell her that she was loved and that she would be supported when she needed it. Someone who was not, “Thank God that’s over, ” because it is, but it isn’t.

I remember my friend telling me that she did not want her crisis to be the event that defines her; she was more before it happened and would be more after. And yet, how can you not review your life, review where you are, review where you’ve been, think about where you are going, after a crisis?

In the end, no matter how much you empathize, no one can understand more than the person who is living it, what they have been through and what it means. But what you can do is pledge to be there for them, whenever and however and whatever they need. You cannot live someone’s pain, but you can always help them live it and survive it. That is what friends do.

Thank you for reading In the wind. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

5 Comments

Filed under Poetry