pain speak

carrot cupcakes

I read this article, How to Talk About Pain, while sipping on my hot coffee and milo, after our brisk early morning walk. It struck a very loud, clanging, and still jangling note in my mind, which was already being forced to listen to an insistent pounding basso continuo created by some tiny pixie with a sharp fork stabbing at the walls of my skull from the inside. It is a cold morning, and I had to wear a beanie, and gloves. Lucy was happy, and wanted to bounce and run around in the open grass field, and it always breaks my heart to have to tell her, “No, no, baby girl!” There is no fenced area for her to do that safely. She is obedient and she stops when I tell her, “No,” but I feel sad. I also know I don’t give her as much joy as I want to. The spirit is yearning but the body is far too inadequate and weak. Pain is debilitating.

Literature is bursting with meandering murmurs, whispers, groans, majestic declarations, sonnets and symphonic cacophony about love, death, betrayal, hatred, relational agony, and even insanity. There is, however, a dearth of vocabulary for pain. Just plain, simple, excruciating pain. Not the grand conundrum of suffering, but just PAIN.

As one who has lived with pain all my conscious and subconscious life, and one whose vocabulary is reasonably robust, I find myself flummoxed, baffled and just simply stuck, where it comes to describing this one sensation that pervades every fibre of my life.

Perhaps, pain is such a confronting juxtaposition of multidimensional complexity and utter simplicity at the same time, that prose cannot adequately express the confounding sensations, the perfidious ebbing and flowing, and, for some of us less fortunate, that treacherous sinking feeling when one realises that it has taken hold of every aspect of one’s embodiment. All I can muster, now, is fragmented stringing of hapless words, words that carry merely minuscule flakes of cogency to reflect the awe-ful and awful torment of Pain.


Monkey on my back

Claws dug into flesh

Clinging fast

Invisible oozing

Bloodstained fear

Basso continuo

Evil delirious jeers


Elephant inside my brain

Dancing prancing

With wild abandon

Stabbing bells

Shattering gongs

Thorn strewn pathways


Primal rites

Nameless Sacrifice

That would not die

Reaching for cupcakes

Swimming in dry tears

Flogging the silent howling

Bite by bite


Don’t cry

When you swallow

Be thankful

There is food

Be grateful

For your Angel

Who waits


By your side


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