Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sonnet: Watershed


Pain ravages her face and makes her old;
I see new bags beneath her sea-green eyes.
She stays in bed a lot, dreading the cold;
She goes for heating pads, never for ice.
I watch her wince when she exits the van;
It takes a while for her to straighten and stand.
Her disks won’t stabilize and nothing can
Restore their architecture to God’s plan.
I love her desperately and she’s in pain.
Her pain is amplified within my head.
The helplessness I feel is the same
All humans carry to love’s watershed.
Watershed makes rivers, even of tears,
Though grief remains after the water clears.

I have suffered degenerative disk disease for so long that it is a part of my life I endure without too much thought. But a fresh disk impairment can be disabling. Chronic pain is always better than acute pain. And Kathleen, my wife, is suffering acute pain. We all stand by helplessly so often when our loved ones suffer, but often there is nothing to do but stand by. Thus the genesis of today's verse; I hesitate to call it a poem.



  1. Anonymous2:28 PM PST


    Even moreso in this narcissist age, public policy is a function of scale or at least NIMBY. I had a recent conversation about this with a friend. Consider these crude metrics between today and the Civil War era:

    300,000,000 current US population
    100,000,000 households
    3,000 US casualties

    .003% of American households have suffered a casualty.

    27,000,000 US (free) population in 1860
    9,000,000 households
    620,000 casualties on both sides

    7% of American households suffered a casualty, probably more due to larger households.

    You can't tell me NIMBY isn't a big factor. Besides, it's a volunteer military too.

    take care

  2. Well, that was one factor to consider, as I mentioned in my string of questions. But the Vietnam protests were not just about the dead; they were about an antiquated vision of America's foreign policy delusions...I admit the fact that far fewer families are touched personally by this "war," that's obvious. But where is the philosophical righteous indignation?

  3. Anonymous11:42 AM PST

    it's leaking out into innumerable blogs, perhaps not unlike this one, and not making it out to the street. A few keystrokes and the angst, oh so eloquently wrought, is wasted.


  4. Anonymous11:08 AM PST

    To say nothing of the adults, America's youth comprise a nation of heartfelt bad poets. A middle class military wouldn't last a day. Better to maintain the charade of a 'volunteer' force, you know, those kids shoe-horned in due to limited further education access or decent job opportunties.


    "We’ve got a nation of teenage poets cultivating a rich crop of sensitivity. Where do I get my soldiers?"
    -- from Adriano Shaplin’s play 'Pugilist Specialist'


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