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The Host

I once met Pain.

In It came,

Dressed up so nice

I'd mistook It for a rainbow in a trice.

Ah, It was anything but.

It was reticent,

As a severely diseased person off the mend.

Seldom there,

And yet never here.

I tried to talk to It,

But It’s eyes were quite unlit.

Pupils white,

A fairly perturbing yet unusually moving sight.

For a mouth It had an endless abyss,

Faintly echoing strange whispers in a hiss,

With intermittent eerie silences.


Without preamble or warning - one moon,

Pain left.

I’d grown fond of It.

It was strangely familiar,

Almost filial,

Living on in me

As a nostalgic kin.

Maybe word got around,

I’d been kind and swound,

Or just that I’d been,

However I could therein,

I had stayed.

I wonder why I did sometimes.

And stranger yet,

Why I did what I did when It left.

You see,

Along came Its brethren with glee.

Not long after Pain had left

It’s abyss behind.

In came Hurt,

Legs weary, head bowed, inert;

And lay in my bed.

Then Fear,

With a swaggering stance did appear,

Sitting right down on my dining chair.

Next came Angst in a rainy storm,

Stalking off to dry Itself warm


To the balmy porch swing.

Soon Bitterness,

Ambled into my kitchen - smugly ingenious;

For the rest,

Unanimously confessed,

- "It's the best cook of us all."

The last to arrive was Guilt,

Wrapped up in It's heaviest quilt.

It couldn’t find a space anymore,

So It silently, albeit heartily, swore

And plopped itself right on my lap.

I’m not used to these guests,

Their strange bequests,

Rather unearthly forms,

And complete lack of norms.

But you see,

I was a host rather bourgeoisie,

And I missed Pain.

These guests are now

My roommates somehow,

So I’ve rented a bigger house for this trial

In a quaint little town called Denial.

And sent a postcard to Pain,

In hopes that It will visit again.

And till then,

With this constrained ken,

I must be The Host.

Picture Credits: A slightly edited version of "The Scream" by Edvard Munch.

While many consider "The Scream" to be unmatched in its blatant expression of what it is like to be human, Munch in fact intends the very real, yet inaudible scream to be "The Scream of Nature". Munch had painted the Scream as an autobiographical representation of his memory, - 'I paused feeling exhausted and leaned on the fence […] My friends walked on and I stood there trembling with anxiety'. In that moment, he confessed to hearing a scream so loud, he felt it must have emanated from the nature around him. The Scream is thus, (in extremely simple terms) a representation of a humanoid figure who is shielding their ears from the loud scream around them. (There's so many layers to this work of art and universal symbol of anxiety that unbundling all of them here would hardly be sufficient.)

In relating to The Scream, I related more to the silence of it, and decided to explore the silent side of pain; especially one where it maybe seemingly absolved, while more potent others come in lieu of it. The rhyme scheme and line count is intentionally unpredictable to build the sense of unsettled discomfort that accompanies a topic like this. I'd love to discuss further nuances, perceptions and ideas with you. As always, please feel free to connect!

[P.S. - Apologies for temporarily irregular Sunday blogs. As Glenn Schweitzer very aptly puts it - "Resting is not laziness, it’s medicine."]

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