I feel myself slipping,
The line between reality and sanity
I walk on
a beckoning abyss.
has waged too long.
A Hand appears
out of the light.
I am brought
back from the edge.
from my chains
do I fear the edge.
|This poem, "Angel," was written during one
of the more disheartened phases of my residency days. I first
shared this poem with a "Renewing Life"group, I was surprised at how many
people were touched by this poem.
An AIDS social-worker had been struggling to make sense of the suicide she had witnessed, as a young person jumped to his death outside of her window. It seemed like such a waste of life, and such a contrast to what she was dealing with daily...losing young people to AIDS. This poem helped her to understand the "rim" on which that person might have been walking, before "succumbing to the voices of the beckoning abyss." The poem was displayed at the community AIDS houses in Santa Barbara, to provide hope for the residents; additionally it was displayed in the office of one of the local AIDS physicians for his patients. Angel was read at a recent funeral of a young man with Down's Syndrome, to help his family and friends understand his struggle and the need to finally let go after many months of battling infections.
It appeared in Peace of Hope, an inspirational and life-affirming quarterly publication for those affected by cancer and other life threatening illnesses.
I have shared the poem with patients that I have seen with depression, or after the death of a loved one, that they might find their own Angel and way out of the darkness and depression.
It has helped friends through the transition phase after being relocated, in a new unfamiliar environment and provides them hope to deal with the emptiness and isolation that result.