Thursday, November 8, 2012

Poetry of a Pain

I have migraine attacks sometimes, and this is for sure nothing to worry about. Migraine is part of our culture, and part of me. There are jokes about it, mainly pointing it as the best excuse of a wife to commit her marital duty. I can tell you, and my husband can tell you perhaps even better, that's actually not very funny. So today, having a migraine attack and trying hopelessly to count how much do I have to pay for the kids' daycare, I googled "migraine poetry" and this one came out... and struck me. It is not particularly poetic maybe, but is so personal and true that I couldn't pass over it.
For Poetry Wednesday (since my migraine attack started yesterday and continues today after a painful night, I guess I can post it also on Thursday).

P.S. For those of you who don't know, my friend Julia is hosting the Poetry Wednesday on her blog Flakedoves.

A Parent's Lament

by Sandra Jaspen Hughes

He was just a baby, but I knew
The signs were there, I could see his pain.
A sudden shriek, alligator tears.
He clung to me in his anguish.
Help me. Help him. Help me help my son.

Blond, blue eyed, and smiling,
Running, climbing, tumbling, laughing-and then
He needed to stop.
He needed to sleep.
It hurt. He hurt. I hurt.

I can’t go to school, it’s too bright.
I need to stay in bed, turn off the light.
I’m missing my friends.
I’m missing my field trip.
I’m missing my life.
He’s not making this up. Can’t someone help?

Mama, I can’t see one side of the TV.
Mama, I can’t see all my fingers.
Help me, Mama.
I’m scared, Mama.
Make it go away, Mama. Make it go away.

Tall, blond, athletic, dynamic.
Playing forward in the Big Game.
The noise is unbearable,
The court is swaying;
Come pick me up, I can’t drive home.

Of course he’s in school.
What do you mean? He’s not in his class?
Where is he?
Find him, don’t punish him, help him.
Safe! Sound asleep in the school library.

My baby is sick and needs help.
My son just wants to be normal.
He’ll say he has the flu.
He’ll say he has a cold.
Putting on a face, he tries to mask the excruciating, yet invisible pain.

What will happen when he grows up?
Can he earn a living? Will someone love him?
It’s not “just” a headache .
It defines his every decision.
Did I do this to him? Is it my fault? Is it his?

If nothing can stop the pain, what will happen next?

The man has a headache.
The headache has hold of the man.
Relentless is the pain.
Brave and courageous, he searches for relief, for cures.
Help him. Help us. Help him live his life.

© Sandra Jaspen Hughes, 2011


  1. Evelina, migraines run in my family, basically all of us have had them at one time or another. I'm sorry to hear you have one now! Hope it's moving on by now. I cannot imagine how I'd feel if my small children started having them!

    1. Amber, thanks for coming over! Luckily, my kids are safe for the moment. The pain would be greater than my own, that's for sure.

  2. Evelina, I am so glad you are posting on Poetry Wednesday. I love poetry and I always look forward to reading everyone's post. Somehow I missed this last week, but I wasn't online much.
    I am also sorry that you are suffering from migraines and hope that by now it has passed.

    1. I was hesitating about joining Poetry Wednesday, because I still can perceive poetry best and in most immediate way only in my mother tongue. To read a poem in English for me feels still strange, or at least it has to be written in a simple way in order to has the direct, immediate effect that poetry is supposed to cause.
      Oh, migraines are annoying, I feel dead for three days but then it's over. That's the good thing of it, one knows that it can't last forever (not in my case, luckily; such terrible headaches that last for weeks and months do exist though...)