Things to Pack in a Hospital Bag

7 Jan

Take an extra pair of arms,
to wind ’round yourself,
on warm sea-smell nights
when life chills your bones.

Fortitude is a must.
3 packets, easily accessible,
right next to the cup
you’ll stir faith and cocoa in.

Strength, to haul up the skin and bones,
that carried you through babyhood,
brushed your teeth as you fell asleep
in a time when cavities appeared only in teeth.

Steel to solder the wavering will,
Anger at life’s brittleness,
Cream to soothe anguished spirits,
a broom to scoop up heartbreak,
love to pour into the sad, sore hollows,
and napkins to soak the role reversal in.

Before you run out of space,
you’ll run out of words,
and lurk in your own life

31 Responses to “Things to Pack in a Hospital Bag”

  1. gooddaysunshine January 7, 2009 at 9:57 am #

    Hey OJ…hugs. I hope your dad’s better now

  2. Mamma Mia! Me a Mamma?!? January 7, 2009 at 11:03 am #

    This is so beautiful, so moving.

    I don’t have any words to tell you how much it touched me…

    Hugs to you and bestest of best wishes for your father.

  3. M.... January 7, 2009 at 11:25 am #

    Hugs Hugs and all the strength,fortitude,love…you need…
    I hope your dad ( from gooddays comment above ) is better…

  4. Revathi January 7, 2009 at 11:55 am #


  5. Pallavi January 7, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    Oops! Read the comment above and understood.

    Sending prayers!

  6. Nino's Mum January 7, 2009 at 1:03 pm #

    life becomes more brittle with every new lesson learnt. sigh. a gentle hug for your dad. Also, play him his favourite music. No hospital better than a song.

  7. Orange Jammies January 7, 2009 at 2:25 pm #

    gooddaysunshine: Thank you. The surgery seems to have gone smoothly, but we’ll really know about its success only later.

    M4: Thank you so much.

    M: You delurked just in time to be supportive. And I’m glad.

    Revathi: Thanks, girl. I’ll get to your cousin’s email in a few.

    Pallavi: Received with gratitude, Pallu.

    Nino’s Mum: He usually loves music deeply, (and I’ve inherited that) but increasingly, he seeks peace in silence.

  8. Thinking Cramps January 7, 2009 at 3:20 pm #

    Hey OJ – hope your dad is better soon. You need all you wrote about and more. Take care.

  9. In love with my life January 7, 2009 at 5:07 pm #

    Hi..hope you dad gets better soon. And having loved dear one’s around works as the best balm i guess. My prayers.

  10. wordjunkie January 7, 2009 at 5:12 pm #

    Big hug, OJ. Glad to know the surgery went well, and wishing him a speedy recovery.

  11. Shivani January 7, 2009 at 6:20 pm #

    Get well soon to the daddy & ((hugs)) to you. Brilliant poetry as usual 🙂
    Take care

  12. sukanya January 7, 2009 at 8:40 pm #

    *hugs & prayers*- strong woman!

  13. Anamika January 7, 2009 at 9:44 pm #

    That was beautiful. Prayers for your family.

  14. Happy Karma January 7, 2009 at 9:51 pm #

    Hand holding, gentle conversation and yeah just the warmth of dear ones- he will sail through. Hugs and Prayers!

  15. Chips January 7, 2009 at 10:49 pm #

    Hugs to you OJ and prayers for a quick and speedy recovery for your dad. Hang in there.

  16. Aunty G January 7, 2009 at 11:38 pm #

    ditto all of the above and one more BIG, warm, tight [{(hug)}]!

  17. Piper.. January 8, 2009 at 4:16 am #

    ohh I didnt know your dad was unwell. But I`m so glad he`s doing much better now. You`ll be in my prayers tonight. Here`s to a speedy recovery. Hugs

  18. Mish January 8, 2009 at 7:37 am #

    hey! just figured from the other comments about ur dad…hope he is doing better now! the poem was lovely…i think it captures a hospital and the emotions you need for it beautifully!

    I was hospitalized for 3 days last year coz of a broken hand – had had to go thru surgery as well…and i def remember needing fortutide along with the cup of faith and cocoa!

    you do write beautifully OJ! My prayers and best wishes are with you…


  19. dipali January 8, 2009 at 7:52 am #

    All the very best for your Dad’s recovery.
    Tears are welling up at the beauty of your poem.

  20. maidinmalaysia January 8, 2009 at 8:20 am #

    A steaming cup of cocoa for kind-hearted OJ, 3 packets of fortitude, two scoops of faith, and a dollop of all our love

  21. Suki January 8, 2009 at 9:59 am #

    Big, big hugs and many many best wishes. And that was beautifully written – all the more beautiful for its simplicity.

  22. Sujatha January 8, 2009 at 11:19 pm #

    Hugs and best wishes OJ.

  23. ink & olives January 9, 2009 at 12:44 am #

    hey, figured from the comments above. hugs and prayers. 🙂

  24. Orange Jammies January 9, 2009 at 9:23 am #

    Thinking Cramps: Thank you, girl. For your message too. Hug.

    In love with my life: You’re right. I can’t imagine what help I’d be, were I back in my NRI life.

    wordjunkie: Thank you. I’m sorry I haven’t had a chance to reply to your email.

    Shivani: Hugs always welcome. 🙂 Okay, make that usually.

    sukanya: 🙂

    Anamika: Much appreciated, Anamika.

    Happy Karma: Oh, the holding bit is true! One hand is already out of commission.

    Chips: Thanks.

    Aunty G: Only one? Oh alright, mustn’t be greedy!

    Piper: Thank you for being so generous with your prayers. I know you need them for your own family too. Fortunately, there are enough to go around. 🙂

    Mish: Is your hand well now?

    dipali: Oh dear, don’t cry! 😦

    maidinmalaysia: I like dollops. 🙂 Even just the sound of them.

    Suki: Thanks, Suki.

    Sujatha: 🙂 Hello and thank you.

    ink & olives: I think they’ve helped. Really.

  25. rajni January 9, 2009 at 11:39 am #

    Hope your Dad is well on the road to recovery now((HUG))!

  26. Pallavi January 9, 2009 at 3:07 pm #

    Saw ur GTalk status. Yay!

  27. Orange Jammies January 9, 2009 at 3:56 pm #

    rajni: We’re getting there limpingly. 🙂

    Pallavi: 😉 Yay indeedy.

  28. Mish January 9, 2009 at 4:46 pm #

    yep its fine now…! 🙂 hope ur doing alright!

  29. Gentle Whispers January 9, 2009 at 5:19 pm #

    I hope your dad gets better soon. It;s so heartbreaking to see someone so strong all along falter..

  30. dipali January 9, 2009 at 7:55 pm #

    Strength, to haul up the skin and bones,
    that carried you through babyhood,
    brushed your teeth as you fell asleep
    in a time when cavities appeared only in teeth.

    These lines, OJ, are the ones which spoke out to me so loud and clear. As a child I’d pretend to be asleep so that Dad would carry me to my bed. And today those arms are just skin and bone.

    How’s your father doing now?

  31. Orange Jammies January 10, 2009 at 10:24 am #

    Mish: Glad to hear it. I’m alright, thanks. See my muscles? 😀

    Gentle Whispers: You’re bang on. My dad was always so strong, he carried me up four flights of stairs even when I was as old as 8 , he won Karate medals, and as a child I believed the train to our village started only when Daddy pushed it.

    dipali: That’s what hurts me the most too. Dad’s a little low because his best friend returned to England yesterday, but I’m trying to cheer him up with stories from the ongoing family wedding. It’s hard though, when your legs can barely hold you up.

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