Thursday, November 10, 2011

To my comrades (with an update)


Not the one who takes up his bed and walks
But the ones who have known him all along
And carry him in --

Their shoulders numb, the ache and stoop deeplocked
In their backs, the stretcher handles
Slippery with sweat. And no let-up

Until he's strapped on tight, made tiltable
And raised to the tiled roof, then lowered for healing.
Be mindful of them as they stand and wait

For the burn of the paid-out ropes to cool,
Their slight lightheadedness and incredulity
To pass, those ones who had known him all along.

-- Seamus Heaney, from Human Chain, 2010

I realize after posting this poem, that it's only as good as you knowing the Biblical passage that inspired it, the healing of the paralytic at Capernaum by Jesus. Here's the link to the passage on Wikipedia.


  1. Thank you Seamus, Elizabeth and, of course, Sophie.


  2. i don't even have the words.

    may i repost?

  3. Angella -- Of course. Isn't it amazing? And I literally opened the book up to it this morning, looking for inspiration -- anything at all.

  4. Wow...someone who gets it. Wow.

  5. Love to Sophie. Love to her sometimes lightheaded, numb-shouldered mama.

  6. Definition of COMRADE
    a : an intimate friend or associate : companion b : a fellow soldier

    Love to you and that beautiful girl of yours, as the battle continues.As you wait.

  7. I really love that portrait of Sophie.

  8. Reminds me of my father. I have always been mindful of those who stand and wait, ever since I was a little girl.

    I love this poem.

  9. i've never seen this poem before and i'm just stunned.

    thank you, elizabeth (via angella)

  10. Yes. I recall that Bible story, read many beautiful. Thank you for sharing this lovely poem with us. Healing does not always mean "cure," does it?

  11. Oh Wow. Of course this made me cry. Their selfless, faithful, hopeful, all out love. I'd never thought about them. (Probably because I relate to the one who wished for healing.) But this speaks to my pain for those who love me, who bestow this kind of faithful love upon me. Who wait with me and wrestle with me, through the hard stuff. Bless them. Bless you.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...