You’re counseled

when waking to the quick of pain

distract yourself    concentrate on breath

let Divine Will have its way with you

accept what you cannot mitigate    ignore

or change


Emulate your father who refusing

mind-dulling medication

rushed his lunch   his pace

rubbing his shoulder

where scar sawed across nerve

never uttering a word

a man accustomed to preaching

the Word


Consider Higher Mind

where night has no starlight

a black so deep

mind is lost to mind


Meditate on an ancient Text

stay still 

like a mountain lake so far inland

no wind can disturb its surface

no force can break its rim






To live with chronic pain drains us

in its persistent assault

Nothing important can be done

or if done   done at the risk of harm

to ourselves   to others


Wounded the animal can’t be restrained

but turns against itself

or is it only humans who blunder onward

when one’s whole being yearns for retreat?


Are we blessed by narcotics

that dull body and mind?

Surely to live a lesser state does not suffice


Is there a way pain can be honed

to a keener point

to probe a nerve-cell spiraling

in another plane

where kinship and tenderness

can vanquish pain






When pain becomes mere memory of pain

to be calm is as easy as skin warming through glass

sunlight   veiled by cloud passing then passing on

sustaining as the sound of Father’s pink-finned Oldsmobile


might have sounded

Has it intonation? a sustained pulse?

an oceanswell still and still moving?  above the chatter

a silence that is sound?


Hear it the way you hear your mother’s voice

the way it comes back

the smell of fresh-washed flesh   her forearm

held by her left hand

her face turned slightly to the side and downward    away

from whatever was too bright   held in  cloaked

an unspoken sense of inevitability

who never uttered what her heart held of pain

except when in a heartburst he left her

for mere eternity