A Hospital Chaplain Reflects on Poetry and Dying

What I call chaos theory might be what you call god, either way, I like this man and the words he writes and the poetry he quotes, very much. It’s a realistic and compassionate article and he avoids clichés the way I avoid cauliflower.

“I’ve found the lines about cursing God, “Shame on Him,” to be true. My supervisor had told us—me and my fellow chaplain interns—that we might find it appropriate to tell a patient that it’s all right to be angry at God. It takes me a while to say this to someone because a lot of my patients believe that to question God is to curse her very nature. They believe it’s God’s will for them to suffer. Some refuse pain-alleviating medication because they believe God wills them to suffer like Christ. “Sometimes, God sucks,” I eventually tell one woman around midnight before she goes into surgery the next morning for a cancer.”

Word.

Longreads

A few weeks later, my friend sends me a copy of Dunn’s poem “A Coldness.” The speaker says about his sick brother, “From then on he was delusional, / the cancer making him / stupid, insistently so, and lost. / I wanted him to die. / And I wished his wife / would say A shame / instead of God?s will. Or if God / had such a will, Shame on Him.”

I’ve found the lines about cursing God, “Shame on Him,” to be true. My supervisor had told us—me and my fellow chaplain interns—that we might find it appropriate to tell a patient that it’s all right to be angry at God. It takes me a while to say this to someone because a lot of my patients believe that to question God is to curse her very nature. They believe it’s God’s will for them to suffer. Some…

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blahpolar

battlescarred, bright, bewildered, bent, blue & bipolar

5 thoughts on “A Hospital Chaplain Reflects on Poetry and Dying”

  1. What’s wrong with cauliflower? I just got a visual of UFC fighters and their “cauliflower” ears. That and cream of cauliflower soup. Now I’m craving a poem, a haiku or something “On compassion and cauliflower” or “Ode to Compassion and Cauliflower Soup”. Like a Chicken Soup for the Soul. What do you think compassion smells like?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m hoping that compassion smells something like hot chocolate. As for caulipoems, I googled (of course I did) and found a surprising amount of very odd poems. This is the only one I liked:

      Midnight at the Grocer’s

      The lonely little girl in me
      Wants to hug the scared little boy in you
      Until you stop being scared and I stop being lonely. 

      But this is a grocery store.
      And you are a stranger buying cauliflower.

      http://hellopoetry.com/words/155791/cauliflower/poems/

      Liked by 1 person

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