age and illness have been

great, if not painful, teachers

for instance, I’ve learned

no matter how useless

my body may become

I can still serve a purpose


my body may devolve

into a twisted, painful mass

but as long as my mind

and my emotions are

even partially in tact

there is still reason to be


Like on FacebookFollow on Twitter




About John White

I've written off and on my entire life. It took years for me to finally take putting words together seriously. Now it's not, nor does it ever feel, like work. Writing daily has become habitual. No day is complete without words having appeared on the page.

Posted on April 14, 2015, in Poetry and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 51 Comments.

  1. I love the message here. Beautiful written!
    We expand in our time of darkness, pain and sorrow. And every life experience – good or bad serves a purpose. We all(!) serve a purpose.

    • Thank, Amina! Sometimes the hard part if to find our purpose or where we fit in but once we’ve found it, it can be hard to fulfill that purpose through problems and illness.

  2. Great words John, exactly my point,as along as there is passion in my pen I will write

  3. Sometimes it is from the center of that twisted pain that our greatest purpose becomes known to us. This one resonated well.

  4. Dear John,
    In a reaction to reading some of your poems lately, here is one of mine. https://lichenfoxie.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/mind-the-mind/

  5. The mind is a powerful tool, capable of convincing the body to do great things when in our youth. But as age takes hold the body rebels and the mind knows better than to argue for it too has become wise with age. It must serve a new ‘purpose’ – – provide comfort, reassurance, solace to its companion, the body, for it knows all too well how lonely life can be without it. Press on… Fulfill your purpose! 🙂

  6. The message in your words is timely. Don’t squander your mental gifts. A year ago this week my father succumbed to the pitiless effects of Alzheimer’s. I am thankful every day that I am in full possession of my mental faculties. Thanks for your insight.

    • Thank you, Eric. I lost my grandfather to Alzheimer’s. It’s a horrible disease. When a loved one becomes a stranger and they know no one, it’s truly cruel. If we challenge ourselves mentally everyday, at least according to many doctors, we might escape the grip of this disease. Either way, let’s use what we have and contribute as much as we possibly can. 🙂

  7. This is a wonderful reminder that we have purpose.

  8. Great message here. Many older people continue to do wonders with their lives. Actually, I think this is one of the great benefits of electronic communication and social media.

    • Thank you, Kate. Too often I missed the true value of the elderly around me as I grew up. You’re right that social media could be a great way to let the older generations speak up and contribute more. It’s great to meet you!

  9. there is always reason to be, thank you for this lovely post. Much love and light to you. Michelle

  10. Thanks John for sharing. It has always seemed to me that those who are unable to share the low points in their lives have a more difficult time at least emotionally. My own experience has taught me not to draw into myself when I am in need. People are so much better at helping others than we sometime allow them to be. I just want to add that you are a very good writer, I enjoy your posts (when I am able to view them), and it is the writing itself that keeps me going, I am 82 and my second book is coming off the press any day now. I wrote the second in three months, but that wasn’t the end as you know..it’s when the work begins. I am so sorry about your dad. It is a heart-wrenching disease and as Reagan used to say it is the long good-by that is hard on everyone. Take care, stay busy and trust in the God who loves you both.

  11. Thank you, Marie! I agree that we need to not draw inward for fear of dying long before death comes to call. That’s one of the great benefits of writing – an opportunity to let it out. Bukowski once said poetry gave him a chance to scream and he just needed to scream. That’s true for so many of us.

    Whether I can really help is up for debate but I can at the very least share what I’ve learned and hope that some of what I have to say sticks. Anyone to have the courage and fortitude to live any length of time, much less 82 years, has much to tell and many lessons to teach. I look forward to reading as many as you are willing to share.

    • One thing I’ve learned is not to doubt the influence we have in this world. A seed planted may not even grow where it is planted for the winds take it where it should be. It is the same with the people with whom we have contact, we probably will never know when and if it is there. But that’s okay because our job as people on this earth is to plant not to harvest. I hope you will have a great weekend coming up.
      We are scheduled for a freeze tonight (27 degrees they are saying) so I rushed out just before dark to cover my tender plants recently put into the ground. One never knows quite what to expect here in the mountains, but the bonus is that you know you are alive as you keep up with what happens.

      • If any wisdom we share sticks or takes root then the lives we live have meaning. Who knows when and where that will happen. I agree. The spring cool-snap has headed through here though not to 27 degrees. The seasons are grudgingly changing.

  12. This is very beautifully said, as I have come to expect. The perfect reminder that although our bodies may grow weak and brittle, we still have the ability to share our journeys. We still matter and can still find ways to touch and affect each other. Many blessings and light. ✨

    • Thank you so much, Belinda! Everyone has something to contribute particularly the elderly and less physically able-bodied among us. They are a great source of wisdom if we’re willing to listen and learn. All the best to you! 🙂

  13. This poem really resonated with me. I have a chronic illness, and I find myself upset with my body often, but I am so grateful that my mind works well. Beautiful.

    • Thank you! The old saying that misery loves company is true though I would never wish your situation on anyone. I certainly sympathize with what you’re going through. I know how hard it can be. All the best to you. It’s great to meet you!

  14. Your most recent work resonates with me deeply. Our bodies not cooperating yet we are still of value. I needed to remember that today. Being sick for almost two weeks with head radiating with pain–I needed that affirmation .
    Thank you for giving it to me.

  15. There is indeed always reason to be. Beautifully put.

  16. So much of who we are is nestled far beneath our bones and tissue. Our hopes and aspirations are ageless, yet our body is our limitation. Great work!

  17. This poem is heartwarming. Instead of focusing on the structure and word choice, I was lost in the depth of the message you were trying to convey. Mind over matter.

  18. The title, “Purpose” is apt. To have purpose and to recognize one’s purpose lends one the strength to ‘live on’ to fight on or press on in the face of almost anything. You have been blessed to write in such a way that it can move others – what a gift! What a purpose!

    Beautiful poem John and thank you so much for following us. I hope our little offerings encourage you in your day and that, maybe in a very small way helps you to ‘keep on’ with your purpose.


  19. there must be a reason that the quote says : ” cut off the head and the body dies ”
    yet with poetry , you may cut off the poets head but another poet will follow.

    • Always! There is constantly another there ready to take up the torch!

      • to me a poet must become an actor and put themselves in every role, so the thoughts can unfold.
        I have put myself in the roles of a female, an abuser and an abused, in a gay role, in the role of a child and the elderly , so that I could think and try to feel what they think and feel.
        I listen to people talking and see their reactions as they reflect back to those times and I pick up on it. I also try to put myself in the poets mind when they are writing their poetry to try to feel the emotions they feel. ( ha- ha but that’s just me )
        HOPE, LOVE, FAITH to you

  20. Powerful

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: