IHI logo - stories of the COVID Crisis

"Sometimes, this illness, this suffering, wants to break my soul."

By John Newman

Atlanta, GA
United States

A medical student shares a poem he wrote during the pandemic reflecting on the meaning of life
during a time when so much life was taken. Damyata means "control" in Sanskrit.

Damyata: "Control"

What is life?
It is the alveologenesis
But also the breath's final retreat.
It is the sun on the run
Chasing the morning sleet.

Thank you, but
I’ve had enough
Reality for a lifetime.
I’ll need a vomitorium
If it goes on like this.
It’s chewing expired headcheese
Or gnawing on spiritual gristle.
It’s a cold truth brain freeze
Making your temples and your temples whistle.

Sometimes, this illness,
This suffering,
Wants to break my soul
Like a horse
Or its legs
Years of being
Tossed off
Then, all at once,
I’m tamed.

But this is the lesson
Etched in ember
I keep behind my lids:

In the end, ‘tis
a brave thing
a holy thing
a human thing
To learn
To control
To heal
And love
Oh, to love
To love what science can touch.

Share your story from the COVID-19 Crisis.