This was composed by a very gifted and beautiful soul: a regular contributor to our poetry project, and dear friend of mine, Janavi Held, whose life is gradually being taken from us by an incurable illness. She has been suffering from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Internal Adhesions for six painful years now, and neither her insurance nor the government healthcare will help her. She reaches out to us, her sisters, as a last plea. This is a poem she wrote yesterday on her birthday, in which she offers us the gift of her friendship. May it touch your generous hearts and inspire you to reach out to her in her plight.
The last time I was able to leave the house was by ambulance on my way to the hospital. After many long hours in the emergency room I was admitted and taken upstairs. After everyone left I sat on the hospital bed, knees to chest, bracing my body against the pain and trembling.
The light of this cold day was fading. I turned my eyes to the large window, a window I hadn’t seen before, as it seems I’ve been looking out the same window for years; at the same trees and sky and flowers, the seasons changing and rolling by, folding into each other. But, this evening as I gazed out this new window I tried to look beyond the gray of the hospital roof in front of me, I looked as far as I could see out at a bit of sky and the dimming, blue, winter light. In the distance the I saw the ever-faithful view of the Rocky Mountains also dressed in blue sparkling lights, and white sparks of snow and ice glimmered in the the fading light. Now –in this quiet moment– wet, warm tears rolled down my face as I remembered a line from a poem a by a dear friend:
“Unveil yourself of your flesh shield/and let your spirit out into the dance.”
I cast my glance into the wind, chasing after it, and the beauty of the fading light, as I felt the dingy walls of the hospital collapse. And for a moment I was free. Weeping sweet tears I feel asleep.
When I was nineteen and took up the practice of Bhakti-Yoga, I was told by a dear friend that in ancient Vedic times gifts where given to others’ on one’s birthday. So, today I give you the gift of a poem about friendship.
I AM STILL HERE
Life speaks in turns
love comes out of season
and I find in you
a love that stays
the light has gone away
and flowers have closed
their precious eyes
I am still here alive
listening to the sounds
and sometimes the cries
and visions of your life
with me they drench
with your sweet smile
in you I see the heart of
as you have loved her
from your birth
she sings through your eyes
and dances in your heart
as you write and paint and
dance your life into art
to you my friend I lend my heart
for I treasure Yours
and keep her safe
where time does not decay
and love never falls away.
(I wish I could write more, but I can’t type well anymore; these words were dictated).
My Sister Sue, my God-mother, Marcia, and my cousin Erica, have started a fundraiser. If you are inclined please share the link widely, we are dependent on all of you to spread it around, as our resources are limited. Click this link to help. We would be most grateful.
Wishing you all peace & much love
Janavi Held started writing poetry and wandering around with her father’s camera as a child. At the age of nineteen, she began practicing Bhakti yoga. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Goddard College where she studied poetry, photography, and media studies. She is author of Letters to my Oldest Friend: A Book of Poetry and Photography and in 2017 two of hers poems were shortlisted for the prestigious Hamilton House International Poetry prize and were included in a book titled Eternity. Her poetry also appears in several anthologies that emerged from the Journey of the Heart Poetry Project, to which she has been a regular contributor, and is featured in the Bhakti Blossoms anthology on poetry by contemporary women in the Bhakti tradition.
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