Complicated – A Poem

This was originally posted on one of my other blogs, Nobody’s Normal. You can read the brief narrative of how it came to be here, but I wanted to republish it at Discovering Writing because it’s fruit of my deepening interest in the craft. (I was in a similar place emotionally when I posted, albeit much less poetically, this, “I don’t know what to do.”)

This quote, from the great Martin Luther, was part of the inspiration for my poem.

“There are times when our hope despairs; these are the times our despair must learn to hope.”


I’ve grown convinced of how little I know.
I don’t know how: physics, mathematics, chemistry, genetics…

Worse still, I don’t know why: brilliant minds and damaged brains, refreshing breezes and destructive hurricanes…

None of them are Normal, but one of my sons has Cerebral Palsy. The wheels light up and it glows in the dark, but it’s still a wheelchair. The iPad is cool and a dog will be fun, but they’re poor replacements for voice and strength.

Cerebral Palsy is a Jane Austen novel, and I struggle with my alphabet.
How did his brain get damaged? Lack of Oxygen, simple as A-B-C.
Why did his brain get damaged? Um… Because he, uh… Well…, Austen.

Some say there is no why. They believe everything’s causeless, purposeless, wonderless. It is what it is; deal with it.

I hate that idea.
Because that idea leads to hate.
Hate them. Hate me. Who cares?

Others say there is a why. Things do have a cause, a purpose, a reason for wonder. It is what it is; look for it.

 I like this idea.
Because this idea leads to hope.
Hope for a reason. Hope for tomorrow. Someone cares.

The Bible says, “faith is being sure of that we hope for.” I believe God is there, but I don’t know what to hope for. I want Caedmon to run, play, feed himself, chase his friends, dance, speak his stories, dress himself, and bake brownies if he wants. Can I hope for these things? I’m sure I’m not sure they’ll ever happen.

Faith as small as a mustard seed can move a mountain,
but a mustard seed is a mountain next to my faith.

Yet every trip to the physical therapist is motivated by hope.
Each time we practice making a P sound we’re prompted by hope.
Hope for improvement. Hope for one more step, one more sound,
one more reason to… hope.

 Caedmon is the springtime.
Cerebral Palsy is the pollen.
Every time my hope is smothered in a yellow cloud of despair, Caedmon’s relentless, transcendent joy washes it away and teaches my despair to hope.

I don’t know exactly how, but I pray.
I’m not sure if it’s foolish, but I hope.
Perhaps, on days when they meet, my faith will be strong.

Maybe a mountain will move.
But where did that mountain come from?
It’s complicated.

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