Tag Archives: pain

Maid of the Mist

Water Over Niagara Falls
I peer over the edge
At the rushing water below.
Not content
With second best,
It beckons.

Nor can one-fifth
The world’s freshwater
Plunging o’er its brink
Satisfy its thirst:
It calls out.

Two million liters
And more,
Per second,
Pass its lips.
It cries out.

The Maid of the Mist
Found escape from shame—
Refusing a mate arranged—
In the fifty meter drop;
So the legend goes.

The horseshoe calls,
Calls to me.
With my mass
Going o’er the brink,
It could be content.

With my body
In its depths,
Its thirst
At last
Satisfied.

For all the pain
I’ve caused her,
And her, and her,
I could do this
And feel justified.

All the pain
I will yet cause,
One small leap
O’er the rail
Could forestall.

But I see through the mist;
I see the pain
That leap would cause.
I linger, watching,
Then walk away.

She’ll not have me,
Not have me today.
Her rival Victoria
Retains first place.
The day remains beautiful.

© 2014 H.K. Longmore

Is Suffering Really Necessary?

Suffering
Author’s note: I wrote this last week, in two cities and over hundreds of miles in the air, before Robin Williams left our sphere of existence. While that event and the subsequent news and social media flurry may color how you read this, and while some of it may even apply, to think I am making any statement about that would be incorrect.

This post showed up in my FB feed the other day stating:

It is interesting to realize I was taught to believe that suffering was healthy. Suffering isn’t healthy, nor necessary. Ever.

Someone commented on that post saying that pain is necessary, but suffering is not. This idea is not restricted to that post or its comments. Over at society6.com, Josh Lafayette has an art print expressing this idea. And there’s a picture incorrectly attributing the idea to Buddha (the tl;dr version of the article: “Imagine someone in Asia posting ‘Jesus quotes’ (which are actually AA slogans) under a picture of Santa Claus, and you’ll get a feel for what’s [wrong with this picture]”).

The problem with reading the dictionary when you’re doing your spelling assignments in second grade is that you can’t let people misuse their native language with impunity. So let’s take a look at the root word “suffer“, as defined by the descriptive linguists at Merriam-Webster:
You won’t believe what happens next! Oh, sorry, this isn’t bait. I’ll leave that stuff on buzzfeed.