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Sunday, 2 February 2014

The Glacier

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Chronic Pain often results in sleep deprivation. This leaves me lying alone in a darkened room, long after the rest of my household has retired. These periods of time are when I feel the effects of CRPS the most. The potentially lethal combination of pain, depression and tiredness grate on the very fabric of my soul and survival becomes a major battle, often one I don’t particularly want to win.

I was engaged in yet another round of mindful thinking last night, trying to rationalise the thoughts; ‘why does time always drag so much?’ and ‘can’t I just skip to the end?’ I explored a number of different answers before deciding that the most appropriate answer at that point in time was; ‘because life is shit and no, not yet.’ Not perhaps the most mindful answer, but certainly one that felt closest to the mark at that specific point in time.

I penned a few notes to help me address the questions when I was in a better frame of mind, and these led me to write the following poem.

The Glacier

Seconds drift slowly by.
Layer on tortured layer.
Gradually minutes form
then grate past, slowly.
A relentless, glacial, plod.
Onward, onward, then, on.
Minutes form a solitary hour.
Slowly the mass builds,
each second layered on the last.
A clock's hands glide smoothly,
yet beneath the glacier
immeasurable forces rip and tear.
Ice gouges bedrock and rents
shards from the once mighty granite,
leaving nothing but pulverised till
strewn at its terminus.

John Carré Buchanan
01 February 2014

This poem is linked to Poets United.

21 comments:

  1. I emphasize when you talk about ongoing pain which effects your sleep. I've had this many times and hopefully I'll have an end to it at the end of Feb (major surgery), especially since the last surgery didn't help.

    The pain gnaws at you, and it's hard to concentrate or communicate effectively with others, and sometimes people don't understand the amount of pain you are in. It's very hard John.

    Those are the days when every second is like 24 hrs. I can't wait for the next day to arrive but when it comes, I can't wait for it to end. A very poignant poem.

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    1. Rum Punch Drunk, Thank you, I know you understand this better than most and your continued support is very much appreciated. I hope and pray that your surgery will do the trick. I am also glad you liked the poem. All the best JB.

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  2. I definitely empathise with your pain and suffering. I don't suffer constantly as you do with the stuff that gets me down (the physical stuff based on having an aging body with arthritis, tendinitis, plantar fasciitis and so on which can (and has in the past) developed into gout; but I can relate to the way it prevents sleep. So I can only reiterate what I've said before: I sincerely hope it gets better for you someday. It must be awful for you and you have my total sympathy.


    As for the poem, I like the use of the slowly building glacier as metaphor for what you go through each night and am wondering if it would behoove you to develop it more, or is the poem able to stand on its own merits without doing this? (I am in two minds about this, since the poem does seem to stand on its own quite well, but, on the other hand, I see a missed opportunity. This may be just a personal quirk of mine, however.)

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  3. Nevermind the earlier comment! I've read it a third time and reckon it has developped the glacier metaphor as far as it needs to and done so quite well.

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    Replies
    1. Andy, thank you for your two comments. When I first wrote this poem it did go slightly further, but I decided that it went too far and scaled it back a bit. I think this was the right thing to do as it leaves the reader a bit of wriggle room, within which to insert their own baggage.

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  4. Whew, you really have given a vivid picture of chronic pain. Not easy to live with (this poem makes me empathize), and I can understand that at these painful times time would seem to move very slowly. The glacier metaphor is inspired. I GET it.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Mary, I use my poetry to help live with the pain, it's something constructive that makes time pass that bit quicker.

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  5. I always love a good metaphor, and the relentless grinding of bedrock is such one... The few times I have been in pain is just a sip of what you feel...

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    1. Hi Brudberg, Thanks for your kind comment. I'm glad you liked the metaphor.

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  6. I do not suffer from chronic pain but clinical depression and insomnia. I empathsize with your pain and wish you well. However, every day I say to death and the end...not today. It keeps me going. Excellent poem. Toni spencer is kanzesakura

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    Replies
    1. Hi Toni, It's great fun isn't it.... My writing keeps me going and the lovely comments folk leave are the icing on the cake. Thank you.

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  7. I hate to hear about this. I have chronic pain and sleep can suffer due to it. I recently got a body pillow (of all things) and I must say it helps me sleep so well. I strongly believe in exercise now that it's helped me with my life so dramatically. Riding my bike (although hard at first with lots of falls) has been like a miracle for me. (Just tipping over not hurting myself falls.) I hope you feel better soon. Chronic pain is such a mind blower that's why I had to get out of my head and try exercise. Depression and pain is bad. Get better my friend!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Bekkie, I know where you are coming from. In the last 9 years I've gone from fitness to wheelchair to Half Ironman triathlon and barefoot waterskiing. Excercise and sheer drive help, as does the mental stimulation of writing poetry and blogging. Thanks for your kind comment.

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  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Hi sorry I had some finger trouble with your comment and it iswas deleted, you are right it's pretty painful. Thanks for your comment.

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  9. Chronic pain and sleep deprivation are both well known to me. I like the aptness of the glacier metaphor. Wishing you better dreams tonight. We live in hope, right? A wondering...have you done a sleep study for sleep apnea? I have it and the C-PAP machine i now use is helping. For three nights in a row i have wakened in the morning having slept thru the night for seven hours. Trust me, this NEVER happened before. I was always awake for hours in the night. Worth trying a sleep study.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sherry Blue Sky, Thank you for your kind comments. I am glad you liked the poem and I wish you many mour nights of peaceful sleep.

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  10. I am very glad I don't have chronic pain – but I had a father and a husband who did. I think you found a wonderful metaphor for describing it in poetry.

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    1. Hi Rosemary, Thanks for your comment, I am glad you appreciated the metaphor.

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  11. Your glacier is a great analogy. We are all of us here fortunate to have poetry as our panacea!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Indybev, We are fortunate, it is a great outlet. Thank you for your kind comment.

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I really appreciate constructive feedback. If you are able to comment it would be most grateful.