Thursday, April 2, 2015

NaPoWriMo Day 2: Creativity & Pain

Thu, Apr 2nd – Creativity and Pain
This poem should explore creativity as a healing salve, as a shield, as a weapon, or as a negotiation method to use when dealing with physical and/or psychological pain.

An Imperfect House

When you live in a creaky house
You learn its personality.
Its exhalation and sighs
And how, when you step here,
it will groan in protest
And how there its warmth
Always attracts purring cats and babies.

A new house - a good house that
Hasn't yet experienced aging or running children
Or joints that no longer quite line up right
Is hard to get to know.

It's the chewed up doorframe
From when a now-grown man was two,
It's the chimney that whistles in storms
And the crack in the ceiling
That always inspires stories - remember that day?
Remember? Remember? We were so scared!
Said laughing around the table at fear now past
And fear that can be faced again if needed

A creaky house has lived,
has been stuffed full of life
Of pain, and joy and terror
And making do and getting by
And it knows
And you know
It will be ok, even if not all of it works
The way it used to or 'should'. 

You can't trust a new house, a perfect house.
It hasn't survived anything yet. 
If it is very very lucky,
it will one day be less perfect
And more strong.

~ Lynda Hardy, 2015

I'm not sure this bit of ramble actually gets at the topic - except that my chronic pain stems mainly from rheumatoid arthritis, which means that sometimes it is pain - at other times it is swelling that reduces mobility with or without pain, and there is also an element of deformity.  My hands particularly are  "joints that no longer line up quite right".  These various issues, except for the last, vary from day to day so that every task comes with a few questions:

  • Can I do this the way I usually do, or do I need to find a creative alternate way to do it?
  • Can I do this in a new and alternate way or is it just beyond me to deal with it alone?
  • Can I / will I ask for help - is there someone who can nearby, that I trust, that understands that asking is tough?  Will they let me live in my imperfect house and still allow me my dignity? 
  • Or shall I just let this task go for now?

In terms of 'creativity and pain' they are totally tied together - creative problem solving is the only way to be functional in a shifting world where one day your hands don't work and the next day your knees are screaming and a third day your elbow may decide to dislocate while in a really awkward position.

My imperfect house handles all that - not without damage and not without a lot of quirks, but it has been tried and tested and that is enough to put me into 'ok, what new way can we do this thing' mode instead of falling apart when things get hard.

Not that a little howling angrily up the chimney at the storm isn't a part of my arsenal!


  1. Good work, haunting and poignant.

  2. the house metaphor is very rich and effective in this piece. I enjoyed every word, and the wisdom in every room. Pain demands that we find a way to look away from it, even as we acknowledge it, and move on, I think, at the best speed we can manage. A pleasure to read, and to join you in this month of poetry.

  3. Oh I loved your rambling! I was reading it as the house was your body, and how we see the wear and tear of the home is equal to that in our ageing house is a wreck lol, but I keep propping up the ceiling and papering over the cracks and smiling :D XXX

  4. From one creaky house to another, I loved the memories you evoked, the richness of being in a house well lived in. Wonderful!

  5. I love the imagery you create of old creaking houses being alike old creaking joints, both have faults we learn to live with, both need tender care.

  6. The imagery on this was amazing. I loved the feeling of comfort from this.

  7. The imagery on this was amazing. I loved the feeling of comfort from this.

  8. I think your house is beautiful, Lynda <3 <3 <3

  9. I love the idea of a new house being inexperienced. That old houses are better for their age. Wonderful work.