Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Bars

Image Source: John Buchanan

Living with pain is not easy but I have been given a number of tools which help me to endure it, one group of tools which I use a lot is the cognitive suite. This helps me keep my thoughts, emotions, feelings and behaviours aligned.

During the last month or so I have been kept indoors by a combination of the rain or the pain. I have tried to keep myself as busy as possible, but there are only so many drawings I can draw, poems I can write or times I can watch ‘Homes Under the Hammer’ on the TV.

As I have struggled to keep my feelings in check I have taken to watching what has been going on outside through the window and I have realised that I have felt imprisoned. A few days ago I realised that the rain on the windows has added to the illusion. This realisation was the genesis for a poem. I hope you like it.

The Bars

Staring through the bars on the window
I watch the distant trees sway in the gale.
The three fruit trees in the garden
have lost the blossom that appeared two weeks ago.
Grubby pink petals now wash along the ground
and gather in the corners of the drive;
it looks like there'll be no plums this year.
The grey sky, full of cloud, seems to brush the ground,
its watery mass drives hard at the faces of passers-by.
They dash from door to door trying to stay dry.
Here I sit in the warm living room
a cosy blanket wrapped around my shoulders,
staring out through the rain soaked window,
a prisoner to the rivulets
which trickle down the glass pane.

John Carré Buchanan
12 April 2013


  1. Constant pain is very hard to deal with as I found out myself not too long ago. You just can't think straight or communicate with others properly. It's no joke. I hope that the cognitive therapy that you use is helping or at least alleviating most of the pain.
    Enjoyed the poem John, it felt so real as I read it. Sounds like we have similar views ie: 'its watery mass drives hard at the faces of passers-by', we've been having rain for the past couple of days too but today it looks much brighter.

    I hope that you have a much better weekend John.

    1. Thank you for your comment, I am glad you like the poem. Fortunately my ability to control the effects pain has on me by using my thoughts is pretty good. During a recent procedure I was offered Gas and Air to relieve the pain, as my cognitive functions were impeded by the aesthetic I actually found that there was an almost immediate rise in the pain. As the anaesthesia wore off I managed to get things under control again (but it took some time). I believe this shows how effective thought is in in dealing with pain. Once again thanks for your excellent support.

  2. That's a beautiful and elegant poem, John! Moving as well. I don't know about you, but I actually have come, most of the time, to prefere un-rhymed poetry (or poetry where the rhyming is less obvious than the usual end of line scheme) since I find rhyme distracting from the actual meaning and flow of words. I am glad you didn't try to add a rhyme scheme.

    1. Thanks for your kind comment Andy, I was told that I should experiment with prose poetry some time ago and I have been giving it a go, seems to work quite well.
      I have lso found that by using a speech recognition programme I have been able to free up my whole mind to concentrate on the poem rather than using a significant portion of my mind concentrating on writing the poem. I have found that this really helps.

  3. Hi, John- I came to your site through the flag counter, forums. Sorry to hear about your back pain. My husband threw his back out a few months ago and was out of work for two months! I can only imagine having to live with that for even longer.

    I really liked your poem. I can see how the rivulets of water would appear like prison bars. Our spring and warm weather has been especially shy to return in New England, and I'm VERY ready for nice days again!


    1. Janyaa,
      Thank you for your kind comment. It is actually my leg that is in pain, not my back, but you are right it is very unpleasant. I'm in my 5th year now with 2.5 out of work and the pain is getting worse all the time.
      According to our weatherman things are supposed to improve soon, but I guess we have all heard that one before;-) I'm hoping for a good long summer this year as warmth seems to make things more comfortable.
      Thanks once again and all the best.


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