Monday, November 26, 2012

Touch of Winter

It comes as a shock each year, when those first icy tendrils, the frosty fingers of chilly old-man winter, reach down and touch me. My first reaction is to cover up with as much flannel and fleece as I can find, burrow into my favorite chair, grasp a full mug of hot tea, and dare the frosty one to find me. He always does, of course.

Although it makes great sense to cover exposed skin in cold weather, and insulation helps tremendously, true relief from the cold comes from the fires within.


Touch of Winter

The dark and cold of night persist,
Til later in each day;
The ice and snow even resist,
The morning sun's bright ray.

The probing frozen-fingered draft,
Finds each nook and cranny;
Its chill touch felt, both fore and aft,
Nose to toes to fanny...

Although accustomed to the chill,
aptly barricaded
By fleece and down, it reaches still;
Swiftly, though unaided.

Short wintry days and long cold nights,
Are spent seeking redoubt,
From frozen sting and icy bite,
And keeping Winter out.

But best defense comes from within,
To reach your cozy quest:
Let clothing insulate your skin,
Your heart will warm the rest.
Mick McKellar
November 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Jag

I was thinking about my breathing limitations while writing this, and wondered if I could describe the intense distress and fear that come with having to fight your body to gulp a mouthful of air and ease the agony and the ache as first the periphery (hands, feet) feel the loss, then the major muscles and the core take note, and finally confusion and darkening of vision arrive. It is like drowning or being smothered. It is perhaps less intense and distressing for me, because I've lived with bronchial asthma since I was five years old, but the fear and the pain are real.

When I showed this to Marian, she was against sharing so much detail about the experience — that people don't want to know what it feels like, even slightly, to be me. However, let me be clear on one point...I am one extremely lucky guy! In my discussion with my doctors, it became clear that all experiences with blood and marrow transplant and the ensuing Graft vs. Host disease (GvHD) are different. The vast majority do not make it this far, and most are not in nearly as good health as me.

The Lord must be powerful to have carried me so far already!


The Jag

Slumped within his swivel chair, he ponders
Rheumy eyes half-closed and breathing shallow;
Dining on his life, and other wonders:
Pain and fear to chew, and pills to swallow.

Half through his thought, begins a coughing jag,
Enough to make his mighty muscles squeeze,
From murmurs in the dark in his air bag,
To whooping barks sprung from a tiny wheeze.
The hacking links together, to form chains,
Until their massive weight triggers despair;
As every muscle in his body strains,
Til he near passes out from lack of air.
Coughing leaves him shattered, dizzy, gasping,
A quaking pile of clothing in his chair.
His mellow voice is breathy and rasping,
Gulping what little zephyr remains there.

Stairways are not friends, walking is not fun,
Washing dishes leaves him weak as jello.
Ev'ry one knows, it's difficult to run,
When it feels you're breathing through a pillow

Mick McKellar

November 2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Grey Soliloquy

Sometimes it's just the smallest thing, a coin on a counter, a smile on a friend's face, a tear in a child's eye — that can be the catalyst and the seed for a glorious mind journey to places new or long forgotten. Such a thing happened this afternoon. I opened my front door to check on today's deposit by the blue bird of business and purveyor of solicitations, my friend, the postman. Rounding the door to approach the mail box, a stray beam of intense golden sunlight touched my eyes. After my cataract surgery (October 23, 2012), my eyes have been extremely sensitive to bright light. Hiding in the dark recesses of my home to avoid contact and potential exchanges of germs, viruses, and assorted bacteria, has done little but weaken my eyes further. So the touch was agony. It also got my attention.

When I could see again — it took a few minutes — I received a gift. The cerulean sky was stirred by froth and wisp of high clouds, and frosted by gentle, puffy giants under their sway. The air no longer held the crisp, sharp edge of early morning and offered the cool, soft caress of a bright fall afternoon. The sword of light pricked my lugubrious balloon, full of the coughing and gasping and lack of sleep from the previous night, and alloyed with the cabalistic contents, converting night into grey. This is not the dull, leaden grey of dungeon dirt light, but the bright golden grey of the morning's first light as it warms the dawn mists away.

It lifted my soul and set my spirit to flight. I share my thoughts in this grey soliloquy.


Grey Soliloquy

The sun, a dagger in my eye,
Does pierce my study, grey.
That golden orb, a gilded scythe,
Cuts through my mental drey.

By searing touch of golden fire,
My tangled thoughts are kissed,
And foggy, dark, and dense as mire,
They dissipate as mist.

I cannot dwell upon my fate,
Or where my dangers lie;
When high clouds use the wind to bait,
A bright November sky.

They tease me with the power to think,
And though my reason raves,
I’ll leap from intuition's brink,
And wallow in its waves.

I lose my worry — black and white;
The glorious day dissolves,
The stain of dark and endless night,
Through which my world revolves.

The tangle loosed, the edges keen,
Grow soft in glowing day;
The darkling world I've always seen,
Is fuzzy, and it's grey.

And though grey seems cold victory,
Against the throes of night,
It glows with friendly warmth for me,
And glorious is the sight!

Mick McKellar
November 2012