I don’t usually explain my poems but today I am feeling the need to do just that. White willow bark tea was used for centuries to relieve pain. It contains the substance salicin, from which aspirin was originally derived.
These two poems are linked in my mind because, in the first verse, my ‘monk’ is facing west, in pain, probably sad. In the second verse, he turns and gains a new perspective, of the sun rising. And he joins the willows in praising the (risen) Son, the One who does not always take away our pain, but presumably, offers us another kind of healing.
This is where the prompt ‘willow’ led me today as I prepare to celebrate Easter. My wish for all is that you experience whatever peace and healing you need and desire, whether you are celebrating Easter or Passover, or simply the arrival of spring (or autumn)
It was your hazel eyes that anchored me to that day,eyes grown so large in your ruined body,pleading , begging me to leave the mask off your face,you were dying and you knew it, even as we denied it,burying that terrible truth in small talkof train schedules and plans for tomorrow’s trip back to sit at your side,when tomorrow was right there in your eyes. You begged for this bit of control,knowing that the oxygen was useless where you were goingwanting those last few hours mask-free,
Please leave it off, you whispered,your eyes widening into gigantic pools of grief,breaking my broken heart.
The doctors never told us you were dying, maybe I should have known, all the usual signs were there,and especially telling, the nurses wouldn’t look me in the eye.
Putting the mask back on your sad facewas the right thing for them to do,but your daughter who can still see your hazel eyeswhenever I look in the mirrorcould have (should have) let you do it your way.**** Yesterday morning I read this poem here: ‘Life’s A Bitch’ written by Viv Blake and posted on her blog. It greatly moved me and prompted me to write about my own father’s last hours, something I’ve never been able to do. If I knew then what I know now, I would have let him call the shots.
punch in the stomach
knocked clear across the room
struggle to inhale
heart dragged along
this tortuous, familiar road
questions with no answers
can’t wrap around it
words turn to ashes
live embers in my mouth
the soul longs
to erase the horror
protect the babies
tied in knots
powerless to console
cannot change what is past
what about the future?
Friday’s events invaded my thoughts this weekend, pushing all else aside.