To Mary: This Too Shall Pass

When I consider
the frazzled reams of verse, written
when sinews simmered with rage,
when organs ached with dread and grief

when dams burst and words tried to drown sorrow
when fires failed to singe the fighting remains.
I picked through ashes even as the flames blistered my skin,
and still, he drove his bloodied psyche
between my ribs, piercing
the heart of me

I feel
remote
from those emotions

feels like a marathon masquerade of misery that I
mistook for reality, holing myself up
in the host’s attic, beneath
an old crate of broken memorabilia,
away from friends who might have explained
that the gates of hell
were paper mache stage props
and the pit was the cracked lens
of a reclaimed camera obscura.

When I single out a poem, I revoke details;
the nature of conflicts and pain inflicted,
but from a
distance,

as if I’m watching a documentary
or reading a book featuring the anguish of other families
skewered by other offsprings’ addiction,

Empathy for the innocents
seeps into me, yet when I read a verse
from this strangling chapter, I realise it was my life.
Memories  bite;
my heart contracts and my toes
instinctively curl away from a mud slide
that has safely flaked and dried.
At such times, I summon your voice –
your voice, with its warm Northern edge –
sharing your mantra,
gifting me the truth that calmed you
whenever the mud of the morass
threatened to engulf your chest;
“This too shall pass.”
“This too shall pass.”

New growth
breaks through decay,
willing the frayed remnants of pain to dissipate.
I take a breath of clean air
and luxuriate
in the mellow texture of grass
tickling my feet.

Dedicated to my friend Mary Beer. Mary, you are an Amazon whose whose words gave me courage, whose friendship made me feel less alone from the start, and whose strength continues to inspire me. When I was at my lowest ebb, it was the echo of your voice which ran through my mind: this too shall pass.

I posted this on my other blog a few months ago. I’ve edited it a little and added it to this blog so that you might read it, Mary xxx

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24 thoughts on “To Mary: This Too Shall Pass

            1. Aw, thank you. Sorry I’ve been away again the last few days. It’s been hectic, between family and friends offering me post-op assistance and me furtively upgrading my living room I haven’t had much time. I’m back in Oxfam although I’m off the rota until October, And yesterday there was the climate change march..
              I feel as if I’ve been freed from all the sludge…

              Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s hard for me to comment, I’m in bed on my phone, and I do have difficulty hitting these little buttons with my wobbly fingers. I remember reading this poem, and being choked up with emotion, you truly have suffered deeply my friend. and I do hope Mary reads your words. With your little changes, there’s a feeling of hope and light at the end of tunnel. All the best dear Jane, and lots of ((hugs)) 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is such a comforting phrase, isn’t it? I tell my son that when he’s in the depths of school or exam stress and can see nothing else. Life is a series of progressions and the nature of it is constantly shifting. If nothing else in life, we can expect change.
    I love your hopeful ending and your positive response to Ivor. All the light you receive is well earned, Jane x

    Liked by 1 person

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