Driving research of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS),
Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), Fibromyalgia and Post COVID .

I Can Do No Other

By Suzanne Ward

To be sane in a mad time is bad for the brain, worse for the heart.
— Wendell Berry, “The Mad Farmer Manifesto: The First Amendment” 1973

The fixers have left,
Thank God.

I had wanted to bury the roses today
but was caught up in grief
wordless
distracting
compelling
life-altering.

I’ve come to accept it
Like a heavy wind I must hunker down in
to keep from being blown over
Kneeling hurts less than being felled time after time.
The effect is the same:
stasis of body.
I still forget sometimes and thud, I hit the ground reeling.

I know it in my body now
Wracked but not unto death
Bigger than a wave it dismembers who I think I am and enfolds me in its depths.

It calls from beyond and within like hurricane’s eerie green light.
With the light, I know I will again be sucked from the world I thought it.
I relinquish naming, framing, planning and completing —
skills I’ve honed, as if for all occasions, in my sheltered life.
The shelter has blown away.
I’m learning new ways of being with this storm,
embodied in disjointed compact emptiness.
No wonder many kneel to pray. It is my posture of heart.
I can do no other.

Felled or hunkering with the roses
we each are pruned,
awash (my eyes sting as if to remind me I am living blindly),
and bounded in cloth of mundane subsistence.

We are dropped.
I, at sea,
to descend the depths, if I allow,
to learn a new way to breathe in cold darkness.

At the bottom (or is it?)
staggering numbly, embarrassed, ragged, exposed, angry, or accepting
this inconvenience that has become my life,
the ocean depths, once so soothing, now where deep speaks to deep, whether I’m listening or not.

This storm?
This sea?
I have let them become me.
Is that itch a bud
growing in the marrow of my pruned heart?
I hold my emptiness and wonder
as I push away wonder.
I wait.

And you?
You hold hope.
You do not judge or abandon.

In solitude we wait together.
The storm abates, for now.

We have been practicing resurrection. Have you noticed?

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