Hope & Healing Through Photography and Poetic Expression

My Pain Shadow – II

On the deserted beach
I walk with a pain shadow.
Hip searing with each step
I move forward slowly.

My joint tears away.
A sharp arrow pierces through me.
I stop to find stillness yet the
pain shadow follows.

Gazing into the ocean,
I inhale deeply
then exhale with force
trying to release the pain.

But it won’t let go.

I must abandon this pain shadow.
This constant companion.
This unwelcome thing.
That has attached itself to me.

19 years of unrelenting pain.
Countless attempts to escape
to normal days, when the beach
meant walks and waves; picnics and laughter.

I climb the wooden stairs to look down
on the wide expanse of shoreline.
In pain I stand tall above the sprawling
desolate beach that goes on forever.

I envision myself burying the pain shadow
beneath the sandy surface,
deep in a restrictive dark hole
where it can no longer define my world.

And in that moment I am free.


42 responses

  1. victoriaaphotography

    Beautifully written, Robyn
    Perfect photo to accompany these words.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:00 AM

  2. Oh I am absolutely in sobs – what a beautiful, intuitive poem. You are a hero, hero, hero (and a poet!)

    March 24, 2012 at 3:48 AM

    • Julie – you are too sweet. No sobbing allowed on my account! Not feeling like much of a hero, but still marching forward to the best of my my ability. So glad you liked the poem too:)

      March 24, 2012 at 8:09 PM

  3. eremophila

    Great writing. I understand that moment when it all changes.

    March 24, 2012 at 6:23 AM

  4. KUF

    Wow really moving and what a great shot

    March 24, 2012 at 7:07 AM

  5. Mindy

    Well done! oxo Mindy

    March 24, 2012 at 7:17 AM

    • Thanks so much Mindy!

      March 25, 2012 at 6:47 PM

  6. Linda Roeder

    I feel so sad

    March 24, 2012 at 7:27 AM

    • Oh Lin… it is what it is. Will get to enjoy that beach somehow this summer!

      March 24, 2012 at 8:18 PM

  7. Robyn, so well written. You have captured that feeling of how the pain is always there. Even on good days, it is hiding and waiting to come out of the shadows. I love how you said I stand tall looking down at the beach. What a sense of empowerment becasue we all at some time feel defeated and small. Well done!!!!

    March 24, 2012 at 7:44 AM

    • Amy, thank you so much. I’m so comforted in just knowing someone like you can identify with the feelings I’ve expressed here. Chronic pain is a hard topic to bring to light, and especially to create art around. And yes – I did feel empowered as I stood tall that day – looking down on the infinite shore. I hoped it was symbolic that one day I will feel that way in my reality. I’m so glad you commented and so appreciate your encouragement!

      March 24, 2012 at 8:32 PM

  8. williamricci

    Robyn – thank you for the courage to share your words and photos. There is peace in the photo and emotion in the words when separate. Together this offers a glimpse of a lifetime of struggle, and pure strength and grit.

    I would love if you would submit and share some of your poems and photos with Stone Path Review.

    March 24, 2012 at 8:44 AM

    • Oh William – thanks so much for your very thoughtful comment. I love the way you expressed the delicate balance here between the struggle and the strength that is born of it.

      Will revisit the submission deadlines for the Stone Path Review publication. Do you think something like this would be appropriate for your readership audience there? Again, thanks for your kind words…so appreciate. RL

      March 24, 2012 at 10:59 PM

  9. Oh, goodness, I didn’t feel like crying this morning, but then came you. I feel so deeply for you, Robyn, I know that pain shadow well. It’s unwelcomed glue-like nature that annoys us and traps us. Bury that dang thing in the sand…. keep trying, keep breathing. Keep writing exquisite pieces of poetry and letting it all out- out and gone. I’m thinking pain-free thoughts for you this week.

    March 24, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    • Susie – thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful words. Yes – you have summed it up well here, and I’ll keep working at it until pain shadow is a distant memory, or at least just background noise instead of blaring sirens. I really appreciate your good wishes and am thrilled you enjoyed the poetic piece too! It’s hard to write about this subject – but hopefully therapeutic as well! Thank you with love!

      March 24, 2012 at 11:03 PM

  10. Robyn,
    Its beautifully written and I know not easy to let it out there, but you’re doing
    great….keep going….keep praying…

    March 24, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    • Thanks recoverythrumylens. I appreciate your encouragement and support – will keep forging forward in every way I can!

      March 25, 2012 at 12:01 AM

  11. Beautiful writing Robyn, the photo lends a wonderful quality to your words. Esspecially like the fisheye approach to the photo.

    It is my hope that sharing aleviates some of the pain confined in your heart.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    • ftwr – So delighted you enjoyed the photo. Lots of emotion built into this series. It is not easy to self-reveal on this issue, but hoping it does prove to be cathartic somehow for me, and also help others in similar situations to be aware they are not alone and we should all ‘stand tall’! Thank you so much for visiting!

      March 24, 2012 at 11:08 PM

  12. Kathy

    Beautifully expressed. Keep standing tall!

    March 24, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    • Thanks Kathy – need the reminder sometimes. Perfect mantra too ~ will remember it!

      March 24, 2012 at 10:49 PM

  13. This is a piece with great feeling. Maybe because I often find myself in a similar place I don’t see it as a dark piece, but an honest heartfelt one.

    March 24, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    • Lisa, so appreciate that. It’s exactly how I approach it – with honesty and feeling from the heart. I know it’s hard for loved ones to embrace this though, and some would rather not. For a long time I was also in some level of denial. Still hard to believe it’s been 19 years – but I’m first coming to terms with this shadow of pain, and do think embracing ‘what is’ may help the healing. This is my hope. Thank you!

      March 25, 2012 at 12:00 AM

  14. Gina

    Oh Robyn- You have me in tears. I know exactly how you feel. Although my pain is getting better, and my muscles are getting stronger, the beach is off limits. It is so difficult living on Lake Erie, walking down 57 steps, and taking a chair with me to sit and watch the dogs swim . I want to walk on the beach PAIN FREE so bad! The soft and uneven sand is just not possible. The pain on the beach is way better that before the surgery, but I am not strong enough to walk it yet. When I do, the 57 steps up are very difficult. Some of the exercises I am doing, are helping me walk on uneven pavement better. I hope it continues to get better and by summer I can walk the beach. If you want to give me a call, I can explain the exercises to you. Maybe they can help you too. It would be great to both walk the beach pain free this summer! p.s…. I hope you don’t mind. I am going to post your link to my FB page. I like this poem so much and the photo too. It touched me a lot. I can relate to this too much……

    March 25, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    • Gina, I wrote you FB, but certainly am honored you decided to re-post this on your wall. Will be in touch soon. I’m having issues with walking even off-sand unfortunately. Maybe can pick your brain re: rehab strategies. I’m so proud of you and thrilled for how your recovery has gone. Keep it going….you will sand walk soon – I know it! Sending Love…

      March 25, 2012 at 6:42 PM

  15. Paul Mazzaferro

    I feel your pain in every word. Mine has,relented some and have periods of semi normalcy….but I had 13 yrs,of the same shadow and your words fit like a glove

    March 25, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    • Thank you so much Paul. I’m sorry to hear you have encountered some regression. The fact you made so much progress in those 4 weeks must indicate you can have holding gains. I’m waiting to manage some myself – but fear my fight has just begun. I’m glad the written piece here resonated for you….helps to know we are not alone and in combined good energym I think we are stronger. Hang in and stay in touch!

      March 25, 2012 at 10:39 PM

  16. Malou

    A very moving poem that touches the soul, Robyn! I can feel your pain with every word. 😉

    March 25, 2012 at 2:42 PM

  17. emgb1

    Beautifully written Robyn! I understand deeply the feelings that your words bring to life. Chronic pain is our constant companion. Your blog is truly amazing. Much love to you : )

    March 25, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    • Oh thank you so much Elizabeth. Hope you are hanging in. I do know the constant companion too well. Never thought I’d try channeling it into an art-form for therapy! I’m really thrilled you enjoy the blog so much! Sending Love~

      March 25, 2012 at 6:44 PM

  18. vg feel same mgt fleming ireland

    great feel the same

    March 28, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting on this. Sending healing energy your way (all the way to Ireland)!

      March 28, 2012 at 3:02 PM

  19. One Hip Chick

    Love the poem!

    I know and feel the words that you have written. I have suffered all my life with that foe,”pain”. no one can really understand unless they have been through it. It gives me some relief just reading your words.

    Thanks so much for sharing.


    March 28, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    • Ina – thanks so much for this comment. I so appreciate your stopping in. Totally agree that pain is almost an altered state of some sort, and unless somebody lives it, not an easy thing to understand or relate to. I’m not sure I ever could have back 20 years ago before this began.
      Also very touched that the post could bring you even a small amount of comfort. It does help to know you are not the only one walking this walk through life. Be WELL! RL

      March 28, 2012 at 3:06 PM

  20. The only pain I have known is an ageing body and getting beat up from work every day. It does not compare to yours, but I love the way you almost make art out of pain. You do not let disadvantage define you, but you make poetry out of it. I could ask the question of what makes you different from others who just become bitter and negative? Maybe you could explain it, or maybe you cannot, but I’m glad you have made a choice to create art. In this world we have artist, and those who are not. You are an artist.

    May 26, 2012 at 5:30 AM

    • Thank you so very much justacowboyforchrist.

      This may be the most insightful comment I’ve read regarding this topic. I so appreciate it. To answer your deep question, I believe it is simply my unrelenting desire to be part of the beauty and joy life offers, that brought me to the artistic expression of my suffering. It’s not always easy and these days I’m having a very tough time, but to be quite honest – it is what feeds my soul and allows me peace – even for brief spells. I am an optimist by nature and have always loved interaction with others…. and now that I’m so limited in this capacity, my art and blogging projects have been a gift for me.

      Please know how much your reaching out has meant to me. ~ Robyn Lee

      May 27, 2012 at 1:07 PM

      • You deserve every word of it. Draw strength where you can, sister, and continue to choose to be an artist. It is always better to leave the world a better place, to add beauty rather than grief, and to turn the valley of Baca into a living stream. (Psalms 84:6-7)

        May 27, 2012 at 1:24 PM

      • Thank you and blessings always 🙂

        May 27, 2012 at 1:27 PM

I am most grateful for your thoughts and comments:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s