As I sit at home, handicapped by my broken ankle, it’s becoming easy to think of things that I wish I could do. Reading stories of travel and adventure help a little.
In one of my old books of poetry I came across this one from Rudyard Kipling. I found it intriguing even though it’s not the first time I’ve come across the concept. When we allow ourselves to enjoy the moment, to get lost in the moment, there are no differences between us. We’re only held back by how we define ourselves.
As always, I appreciate your comments.
Or ever the battered liners sank
With their passengers to the dark,
I was head of a Walworth Bank,
And you were a grocer’s clerk.
I was a dealer in stocks and shares,
And you in butters and teas;
And we both abandoned our own affairs
And took to the dreadful seas.
Wet and worry about our ways–
Panic, onset and flight–
Had us in charge for a thousand days
And thousand-year-long night.
We saw more than the nights could hide–
More than the waves could keep–
And–certain faces over the side
Which do not go from our sleep.
We were more tired than words can tell
While the pied craft fled by,
And the swinging mounds of the Western swell
Hoisted us Heavens-high…
Now there is nothing — not even our rank–
To witness what we have been;
And I am returned to my Walworth Bank,
And you to your margarine!
In an unexpected and unfortunate event, I broke my ankle in two places last week. The biggest lesson learned and learned quickly, pain pills are something to embrace in the early stages of recovery because Pain during recovery can be just as intense as Pain during injury.
Between the frequent periods of narcotic sleep, and with the thrum of my heartbeat felt in the tips of my toes I tried and tried to remember the author of a poem about Pain I had read in my childhood. After finally being cognizant of the world around me, I was able to pop open my laptop and finally found it.
For those of you who are willing, I’d love to hear your interpretation of the following poem or your own poetic interpretation of Pain. You’ll note that I give Pain the honor of capitalization throughout this post; after five days together I can only consider Pain part of my immediate family.
Hymn to Physical Pain
DREAD Mother of forgetfulness
Who, when Thy reign begins,
Wipest away the soul’s distress
And memory of her sins.
The trusty Worm that diest not –
The steadfast Fire also,
By thy contrivance are forgot
In a completer woe.
Thine are the lidless eyes of night
That stare upon our tears,
Through certain hours which in our sight
Exceed a thousand years.
Thine is the thickness of the Dark
That presses in our pain,
As Thine the Dawn that bids us mark
Life’s grinning face again.
And when thy tender mercies cease
And life unvexed is due,
Instant upon the false release
The Worm and Fire renew.
Wherefore we praise Thee in the deep,
And on our beds we pray
For Thy return, that Thou may’st keep
The Pains of Hell at bay !
~ Rudyard Kipling