Black Salve

Discussion in 'Spirituality/Worship' started by lostleaf, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. lostleaf

    lostleaf Member

    Last March I was diagnosed with mold illness and told I had to move out of my home and let go of all my possessions. I had been too fatigued to have friends and the only place to go was with my ex, so I did - myself, my car, my laptop and the clothes on my back. A few months later, still sick, I discovered I have homozygous A1298C MTHFR.

    I had so little to start with - little money, no energy, no people, no health insurance. It was painful to discover I still had so much to lose.

    The ex has been good, kind, patient, and understanding - a gift - and I believe I am on the way to healing and a healthy home because there is nothing else I can believe. But the last 5 months have been hard and often it has been a challenge to find a reason to live.

    I wrote this poem last night. it is sad and not particularly hopeful, but it made me feel better and so, although i don't generally share my poetry, i'm sharing it with you in case it makes you feel better, or not alone, or understood.


    i cough
    the ashes of my ancestors.
    they swirl about and within me
    a charcoal cloud thick with abandonment,
    sick of abandonment.
    a black salve
    bandaged against me
    drawing out, drawing out, drawing out
    the last few remnants of

    the remnants that didn't get left at the river
    the remnants uncaptioned by poetry or photo
    the remnants not draped with beautiful cloth or ornament
    the remnants not in the sprouting herb or rising bread
    the remnants disallowed the vision of wholeness
    the remnants not in the ashes of the last rebuilding
    or the one before
    or the one before
    or the one before
    or the one before
    or the one before

    there is an altar here
    made of meteorite.
    i have laid upon it.
    the lines of my palms
    drawn out by the black salve.
    fingernail marks cling to the old stone
    this altar that may well be
    the last of Me.

    i cough again and swallow.
    i furtively scan the sky for a phoenix,
    the ground for a diamond,
    surely there must be one of these
    amongst the ash.
    and then i quickly look away lest
    the power-that-is-not-me
    perceives my desire.

    i cough and disappear again,
    and reach for the tired hand that has
    promised kindness.
    a few wet tears wash trails in the ash,
    and I do the dishes.
  2. Soul*

    Soul* Well-Known Member

    Lots of strenght to you to find your way in all this. You are not alone. We are all linked in one big world family of souls.
  3. windblade

    windblade Active Member

    Very powerful, LostLeaf! I could relate a lot to the images, the feelings. I get dragged into that state often from Severe PTSD. Just the other day this happened. Terrible! And for that one time found healing in listening to an interview with Jean Vanier (With Krista Tippett 'On Being'.)

    My husband had mentioned how good it was. And I found a rare person in him, where in response I could feel all right in the world. Which I hardly ever feel.

    I hope you do a lot of writing! I read much, much poetry. One of my great solaces. I just read your poem again. Powerful in original, deep -truth images. You surely have a gift. It's a gift to me because people rarely feel or speak, as I feel. And your images are like a message in a bottle washed up onshore.

    I had shared with you a while back about my battle with mold illness also. Just this month I have been healing almost completely after a year of mold illness from hurricane/ flooding. The inflammation/swelling of my lips has now gone, so I can eat, smile, talk without pain. Also skin fungal rash. Also gastritis, intestinal inflammation, etc.

    Keep taking good care of yourself!!! So thankful that you have a good, kind friend in your ex to give you shelter of home and friendship. Grieving with you over the black clouds, the ancestor poisons. Praying for light and a healing salve for your wounds, as I search for more healing for myself.

  4. springwater

    springwater Well-Known Member

    lost leaf

    I feel for you, along with you. I hv many of the the feelings you
    do. The stanza with "I"
    resonated most. I hv spent many moments, large chunks of
    moments of my life, feeling abandoned, by my earth family
    and the other family. I too hv felt sucked out, emptied by
    Life. Sometimes by people, family, sometimes circumstances.
    By the very act of having been born, sometimes.

    However, I know there are many things to look upon and cheer.
    Many occasions and times to remember and cherish and
    I know I need to not forget there is beauty, and light
    and forces of good out there. I need to not forget to
    Hang on to my faith and belief that I can draw on these
    forces and receive help and guidance to make it through.

    In this I am helped greatly by dear sweet Judy. She is
    an inspiration and reminder of the spirits strength
    and endurance and innate goodness

    I am praying for you, lost leaf, that you find more support,
    Succour and a way out of your troubles and that you will
    soon find reason not just to live, but to sing and dance
    with joy.

    You are a gifted writer. Thank you for sharing.

    God Bless
  5. springwater

    springwater Well-Known Member


    I am truly happy to know your mold related health issues are better. And the gastritis,

    Yay!!!! Doing the happy dance...Arumba!!! Arumba! And jiggity jig!

    God bless
  6. lostleaf

    lostleaf Member

    Thank you, everyone, for your kind, supportive words and prayers. I love hearing the way the words resonate with you.

    Writing the poem was a catalyst, I think. Today is the first day that I felt like the trajectory had changed - now the crumbling is waning and the building is waxing. What a relief to feel.

    Judy, I am so happy to hear your encouraging story! I am glad your perseverance has been paying off! It must feel so good.

    Who are some of your favorite poets? I think I am forever stuck on Hafiz. (happily)

    Oh, and... I <3 On Being. I will definitely look up the episode you mentioned.

    springwater - "you will soon find reason not just to live, but to sing and dance with joy." Amen, sister. I hope to see you right there with me.

  7. lostleaf

    lostleaf Member

    Hah - synchronicity. My ex, who is now again my current, mentioned that very episode of On Being to me just two hours ago.
  8. windblade

    windblade Active Member

    Kim - that's so amazing that your boyfriend mentioned the episode of Jean Vanier! Vanier has been on the periphery of my awareness for decades, as he is many times called a living saint. When I listened to him for the first time last week, I just fell in love with who he is. And this is something I will need to cultivate, but felt such a tremendous relief and release of heavy burdens because here is someone who looks at people not in a competitive way, or by the many ways that society creates an elite and rejects others; the sick, the wounded, the damaged. But he sees the value of each of us, inside our situations.

    He was just the right, rare person at the right time for me.

    I looked up this book by Hafiz just now, " I heard God laughing: poems of hope and joy." I have felt such a strong connection to the Sufi writers. I mostly know Rumi, and have come across wonderful pieces by Hafiz. The Sufi great inebriation with The Beloved is the same to other Western mystics that I love. I just read 3 or 4 poems and felt filled up to the brim.

    (Sorry for the change in font - these boards haven't worked out all the quirks yet!)

    This year I have been reading the poems of Mary Oliver. Because I've felt so uprooted this year after having to leave the house that I lived in for over 20 years, and start new from the mold. Oliver's poems have been so comforting - she is one of the greatest 'nature poets of our time.

    I also love Gerard Manley Hopkins, Denise Levertov, for humor Billy Collins. T.S. Eliot, many more.

    I'm glad that your poem was a catalyst for you! I read it again - there is so much in it that I can relate to.

    I love talking about poetry.

  9. windblade

    windblade Active Member

    Spring - Yikes, that font in my previous post is like a giant yelling! Wasn't planned.

    I had shared with my DH how you had lit a lantern in prayer at the monastery. He was so touched that it was for him too.

    I am so thankful for the heaping encouragement that you always bring to me. It has such a sustaining, inspiring influence! Thank you, dear friend.

    Prayers for your family - all members.