Humbled by Pain

A Thanksgiving poem:

Humbled by Pain

As my body breaks down and crumbles,
collapses into and upon itself,
I defend this dwelling of pain and decay
with inner strength born of necessity.

I steady the walls with new self-control,
and stuff its rooms with gratitude,
I brace its beams with the power of will,
feigned confidence forced to be real.

This I can do on clear days of sunshine,
bright times that make darker fears seem impotent,
but much life is lost to a failure of spirit,
fast fading will, and faltering courage.

With body exhausted and mind in retreat,
spirit and soul both untethered and drifting,
I escape each breakdown with just the essentials,
to start once again or remain in defeat.

It’s an arduous path climbing ever uphill,
with new strengths imposed on the way.
I must gather what’s broken and repair yet again
the wreckage inflicted by pain.

I restore and rebuild whatever I can,
try to give up and forget what I can’t,
assemble and patch the remaining pieces,
aching to make myself whole again.

I restrain the urge to wage war against pain,
and refuse to confront its demons,
I struggle to control my focus and break
the chains of my desperate fear.

Pain will extract its victorious price
from all those who remain unyielding,
too stubborn and strong, or unwilling to learn
of the grace underlying surrender.

Pain will hunt down the pride I conceal,
devour the arrogant flesh of my hubris,
it will strip me down to my skeletal frame,
made vulnerable, and finally humble.

-A. Byczkowski

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