Writings and Witterings



If there is pain
chronic pain,
if there is pain
constant pain,
pain that’s been present for years,
can the pain-free imagine?

Those with pain see
the way the pain-free
never quite knowing
what to say.

See this glance once,
never mention

For they are
look away.

The truth is this:
they know not
what to say.

Polly Robinson Ā© 2013

Chronic Pain


24 thoughts on “Chronic

  1. A really contemporary feel here. And an interesting subject to explore.


  2. We really don’t know what to say, do we? You’ve made me think of colleagues with the unapproachables (migraine, lower back, etc.).


  3. Chronic pain can be physical or emotional, and the latter for sure can keep others from knowing what to say. Which is a shame, because those are the folks who might just need those words the most.


    • Carrie, you’ll see a post from Amy below which I’ve replied to with some of the things that were on my mind when I wrote this – you wrap it up well with the phrase ‘physical or emotional’ – and I agree, these may be the people who need our words most.


  4. Indeed. This is a sad truth, Polly, captured well in your poem.


  5. A lot of people stay silent for fear of saying the “wrong” thing and upsetting. Others of course are simply thoughtless.


  6. I know many people who live with pain. It is a hard life. Your description is true. Thank you for the excellent poem.


    • You’re right, John, there are so many silent illnesses, lots of unseen conditions that cause pain and distress and make it a hard life.

      Thank you so much for your comments.


  7. So very true – the poem captures this superbly.


    • Thanks Alex – I was thinking about silent illnesses, you’ll see I’ve listed some in my response to Amy, below, but one that I’ve only recently considered is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder … that’s an evil condition … so much to learn about it still, I’m told.

      Thanks for your thoughts and comments on the poem.


  8. Polly, I am NOT saying this to “blow my own horn.” Perhaps it is because of my mental disorders that I tend to ask people who are in obvious pain if they’d like to set a spell and talk. Before I know it, they are unburdening themselves of so much repressed tension and pressure… and they are breathing more easily.

    My mother had arthritis and chronic back pain (I have a bit of the same arthritis in my hips, but I sit on a hot pad and it goes away). I remember all the times her face was pinched or her mood snappy. Also, I get migraines (probably from all the psych meds), and that is excruciating, but only lasts until the pill kicks in.

    So I’m the odd one out here, and yet your poem resonated with me for precisely that reason: Why don’t people engage? Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself, “How would I like to be treated?” A good start. Bless you for this post. Amy


  9. Bless you, Amy, for your kindness and understanding to those with such troubles. This was written for people – some of whom I know – with silent illnesses. An attempt to show things from a different point of view.

    There are so many silent illnesses and often people ignore them. I’ve heard those who say they ‘don’t believe in them’ (I imagine this to be largely due to ignorance and find myself hoping it doesn’t happen to them as with their attitude it would be doubly hard to deal with).

    These are the sorts of conditions / diseases I had in mind: Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Hypermobility Syndrome, Fybromyalgia, Lupus, Migraine, Back Pain for instance … and mental illnesses, Bipolar, Depression, Schizophrenia – these are just as examples as the list would otherwise go on for pages. They cannot be seen, except, as you say, in a face pinched with pain or a snappy mood, but for sure they exist.

    Thank you for your comments; if this helps one person to think about what it must be like, I’ve done what I set out to do. Here’s hoping šŸ™‚


  10. You got the feel of the pain in words. I’m sharing on my Lupus groups on FB.


  11. Your poem is really effective, Polly. It makes me feel pain as I read it, so it works. It also makes me recall times I’ve been in pain, whether physical or emotional, and times I might have been insensitive to someone’s else’s pain. Well done!


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