A Lunch with a Gift.

I had lunch with a homeless man.

But not just any man. An elderly man, a former high school teacher…and a former patient of mine from a charity clinic where I used to work.

It happened as I was driving through downtown, stopped at a light beneath an overpass. Suddenly, I heard a familiar voice. 

“Hi Doc!”

Since we were both hungry, we did the natural thing: we went for lunch at a nearby cafe. Despite intrigued glances from others, we had a lovely lunch. Looking back, it may have been one of the most enjoyable lunches I’ve ever had.

A few days later, I was contacted by the clinic who informed me that I had received a letter from a patient. And here I will share it with you—in a form put into verse by me but which maintains its original wording:

Dear doc, you have been so kind to me.
Why, you even took me to lunch.
I wish I could give you something in return,
but I know I don’t have much.

So I write these simple words to you
in hope that on those days
that they’ll make you smile and give you strength
and peace in many ways.

You are a doctor to many,
but an angel you have been to me,
who encouraged, cared, and healed my pain,
and a light you made me see. 

I am sad that you are no longer my doc
but am glad that you are my friend.
And I hope we can keep in touch
until the very end. 

So why did I share this? Because I was “challenged” by Liz to give a gift to someone. But now I realize—I don’t think I succeeded in giving anything to anyone.

Rather, the gift was given to me

 

 

Tomorrow.

Cheer that blossomed within our hearts,
stirred by your presence at each day’s start,
yearns to wilt when you depart.
But our song will sing again, tomorrow.

The smiles that pierced through saddened guise,
the rays which conquered thundered skies,
they ache to dim neath heaven’s cries.
But the sun will rise again, tomorrow.

For many years our lives you blessed,
but the hour has come for you to rest,
to soar upon hills on golden crest.
So have no fear, tomorrow.

For on that day, I know we shall meet again.

Dedicated to Pam, in memory of Sammy ♥

Forgotten.

Stains of sorrow from ages past
capture frost within the haze.
 A spirit scarred, of treasures stripped,
It yearns to find the way.

Haunted by a stillness cruel,
this wanderer amongst the trees.
Solemn, aching, silently–
she fades into the breeze.

Pearl.

Twilight rent by a glittered moon
betray truth of a latent fear.
A gilded smile, a heart once proud,
joys tarnished by the salt of tears.

Captivate this wearied soul,
serenade her with a love divine.
Let the grains of silt that wounded her
be patterned for a jewel’s design.

Journey.

Veiled by shadows neath verdant timbers,
woolen skies’ tears dissolve to mist.
Fears immured by fragrant breezes,
doubts enfold with tendered kiss.

A promenade from frond to bloom,
a gentle nudge down path unknown.
Through sacred sites, its secrets saved,
this one she takes–she takes alone.

A Season’s Parting.

Diffused in haze, pristinely breezed
dances autumn amidst the blooms.
A frore caress, its moonlight kiss
beneath the cloak of a morning dew.
Misted rainbow, painted frost-
chilled whispers of a promised hope.
Silvered winds through golden skies
weave bouquet upon a kindled soul.

Butterfly.

From the shadow-frosted timbers
to a soul-caressing ray.

From unrelenting sheaths of silt
weighed beneath an earth’s decay.

From ebbing bud to rising bloom, 
hearts exhumed to wakened eyes.

As winter’s curtain takes its bow,
spread her wings…begin to fly.

For now she is free.

Cherished.

Fervid waters of a love unborn
stir shadows in a twilight dance.
Cheek flushed beneath a nectared kiss,
heart ravished with singular glance.

Repose her upon the horizon pure
over blooms of lavender sheen
to be searched beneath an open sky
as she descends into oblivion serene.

Angel.

Cursed by thirst unquenchable
beneath a blazing sky,
Gaze distorted by burning mist
that wells within her eyes.

A soul that weeps before mankind,
for truths they’ve never seen–
of jaded hearts, of bleeding flesh,
of wounds that lie between.

An angel to the suffering,
a guardian to the soul,
a seraph who has fallen,
sunk within beguiling shoal.

Who will deliver this fragile one
whose eyes, too worn to cry?
To lift her up on mended wings
into the blazing sky?

Unrequited.

When a smile,
portrayed as guise of fire,
rusts as your presence departs…

When a caress,
lingered with twilight glow,
is but a shadow trailing
scarlet threads…

When a love, unreturned,
plays master calloused
to a fading hope…

Set a seal upon shallow heart,
you whom my soul desires,
and let me be released. 

Melancholia.

Heed the echos of a heartache,
anguished sear of reverie.
Feel its scalp bleed down her face,
scathing tears of memories.
See the eyes that once freely smiled
fading with defeat.
As silent fields in which she lies
drift away with night’s conceit.

Awakening.

A mare among king’s chariots,
a lily amidst the thorns,
She is a dove hidden in cleft of rocks
sheltered from the morn.

But cast one glance upon her eyes, 
and spice flows forth with wakened winds.
Come my love, to my field, he says,
Rise up and come within.

Lifted are plaits of ornaments
that shielded scars beneath.
Rent is the veil that guarded her
from vulnerabilities unsheathed.

She is a cluster of henna flowers
denuded by the Foehn,
A hearth dimmed, its fire quenched,
within which embers now burn.

Ophelia.

Chant of thunder, orchestra of wind,
a breath of heart’s unrest.
Lightening flash in half moon’s glow
unearths laments repressed.
Raindropped streams upon her face
masking moistened eyes,
lead her gently by zephyr’s call
into awaiting skies.

Dream.

                 Silent
                     whispers
                        of a
                         wistful 
                         heart   
                        beseech
                      us  
                   not
                  to
                 leave, 
                so
                let 
                 us   
                  glide 
                    in    
                       your
                          sweet
                               tide   
                                     until 
                                                the
                                                         ebbing
                                                                            eve…

What the Stethoscope Hears.

What do I hear when I bring you to my ears?

What story does your body unveil?

I hear your heart,
the clap of each valve,
sloshes of vigor from lumen

to chamber to reveal
resilience and strength.

I hear your lungs,
the whisper of bronchi,
each crackle, each wheeze
unearthed with your breaths
to expose a hundred secrets.

I hear your bowels,
the timbre of that song,
divulging their activity
to massage a burden

through labyrinthine depths.

I hear your thyroid,
the swoosh of velocity,
fluid chased through vessels
to evoke visions of an
overzealous organ.

I hear your liver,
a resounding echo
against my fingers,

betraying your history
by disclosure of its girth.

So what do I hear when I bring you to my ears?

I hear the story that is your life.

To Let the Heart Speak.

Dear Diary,

What do I write about when I have nothing to write about?

When my lips have nothing to say?

Do I paint for you portraits
of hollow chimes adrift
in dew whose songs
mesmerize with
each sway of
the wind’s
caress?

Do I liken you to a single rose
who has but endured a
winter’s wrath to
weave a quilt
of fragrant
hues?

Or do I reflect upon my life as it is,
to tell you how much I treasure
the privilege of being able to
help you, to care for
you, whenever
you are
ill?

Do I try to express how tremendous my
heart feels when I tell you that it is
going to be alright, or when we

know that it may not, that
we will 
conquer it

together?

Do I admit to you that whenever you
smile, my day is brightened,
my heart is warmed,
and that when you
weep, my soul
tears with
you?

And do I tell you how much I appreciate you-
your presence, your courage- as you
battle through your illnesses,
uncertainties, and fears-
while reminding you
that you are an
inspiration
to me?

So what do I do when my lips can find no words?

I suppose I let the heart speak.

Ode to a Cat

Oh Saman.
You’re so round.
You just go ’round and ’round and ’round.

Aww Saman.
I like you.
Cause you’re just so fuzzy too.

Though others may giggle
when they see you wiggle,
my heart you kindle
cause you’re just so gentle.

So Saman,
you and me,
buddies for life we’ll be.

•      •      •

♦ An Introduction to ‘Saman’ the Cat ♦

Ambaro.

Within arid depths of a land below
abides the humble village of l’Ambaro.

A world where clothing is prized but threadbare;
a world where meals are luxuries proved rare.

A world where days with famine are fraught;
a world the remaining earth long forgot.

But this is a place where
pure are the hearts,
simple are the joys,
the love of each part.

Where drums hum daily
their languid song,
enchanting the children
all the day long.

Where families dance into
the hallowed night,
merriment echoing
under faint moonlight.

Where sand curls freely
about their feet,
naked, synchronized,
stomped to each beat.

Until finally twilight
snatches the hills,
descending upon them
a shuddering chill.

Then filled with cheer
they part by the number
into their huts to
unite in deep slumber.

This is the place the world left behind–
a place that will always be in the back of my mind.

•      •      •

ambaro

 My host village of Ambaro, Southern Madagascar

The Drowning.

Anguish
as waters frosted by twilight
weigh upon gossamer wings.
Deceived by a thirst unquenched,
I descend upon a reflection,
sinking into myself.

Imprisoned
within bitter tides,

I reminisce of a life relinquished–
where pinions sway unfettered
above blossoms coaxed by spring,
flittering from bud to bloom,
each bead of nectar
a fragrant haven.

Peering above to
heavens turned black,

tapestries of stars taunt
as they unbraid before me.
Below bitter waters,
shadows enshrined
whisper silently,
beckoning.

By the lure of
exhaustion

I succumb
to the abyss’
waiting embrace,

the warmth within now
a quivering of a fading flame.

I enter into the void.

The Tearing.

 


I
weep
under the
silent shadows
of a thought unborn.
Ardent flames, its lingering kiss,
bittersweet sigh of a withering embrace.
A mind deceiving, its essence departing,
threadbare wishes abandoned within
the remains of a waning heart –
a heart entrusted to you
to love.

 

When the Heart Stops.

A cardiac arrest. A resuscitation made. A life recovered.
One patient tells me his experience.
This is his story.

Death.
Amid the chaos enclosing,
beseeched by an ambiance of ages to come,
I hear the seraph’s dulcet calls.
Immured by words 
divine and bittersweet,
they sculpt the frigid air,
and I am comforted.
As flesh is pierced, poisons forced,
I am held in tender embrace–
its whispers an oasis to the fears
that boil within my breast.

A skyward calling, its promised hope
glistens the starlight above me.
Memories, regret, longings and dreams–
a cycle ripened to revolve anew
cascades within my being.
I then behold a fleeting sight–
a son, wife, a father, my life–
their love commanding,
gazes imploring.

Therefore
with a strength untold

I fight
until with the sun
I am ushered
out of the grasp
of the ebbing eve.

I open my eyes.

 

•      •      •

◊ The Cardiac Arrest – A Physician’s Perspective ◊

•      •      •

 

Rain.

Streams of raven clouds bend low
through a slice of crescent glow,
into guarded boughs below,
I run to your embrace.

Thickened dewdrops wet my skin
weigh upon breath’s waiting grin,
mesmerize my soul within,
I linger ‘neath your wings.

A song forlorn the sky reveals
a muted rhythmic secret sealed,
Heaven’s lament, abandoned zeal,
I kiss away your tears.

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