fostering the humanistic practice of medicine publishing personal accounts of illness and healing encouraging health care advocacy

Close this search box.

fostering the humanistic practice of medicine publishing personal accounts of illness and healing encouraging health care advocacy

Close this search box.

Song of the Body

You wake up in pain, again.
That thoracic disc twisting in on itself
like a corkscrew unable
to spiral back out of the pulp.

It’s work make-believing
your way through the long week,
bearing someone else’s dreams
on your employed shoulders.

You do it though. You carry on.
Live up to others’ expectations.
The proof of your worth reliant
on anyone’s truth but your own.

Lie down and rest? Breathe like a baby?
Feel what’s alive and surrender?
Not on your life. Your anthem
of suffering is a badge of honor.

Friend, you can’t even sing the blues.
Your loyalty to pain locked up
behind the bars of your rib cage.
How long can you hold that note?

Call for Entries

Pulse Writing Contest

"On Being Different"

Susan F. Glassmeyer is a somatic therapist and codirector of the Holistic Health Center in Cincinnati. She was named Ohio Poet of the Year in 2018 for her first collection, Invisible Fish; her latest book, Four Blue Eggs: American Cinquains, was published in 2022. Her poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies and in online and print journals including Rattle and JAMA. She is a longtime member of the Greater Cincinnati Writers League and creator of April Gifts, a ten-year poetry project honoring National Poetry Month.


About the Poem

“The body speaks volumes, sometimes long before illness or disease can be diagnosed. As a somatic therapist, I listen deeply to the stories people are struggling to tell but often cannot utter because the stories are literally stuck (sometimes for decades) in the body’s tissues. My work is to skillfully and compassionately help people suffer less by bringing awareness, consciousness, movement and healing to their embodied lives. This poem alludes to the tenacious psychophysical effort some folks make to resist yielding to their potential and subsequent freedom.”


15 thoughts on “Song of the Body”

  1. You bring tears, Susan Frances! I was young with you. I was in school with you. Did I ever appreciate the wonder that you are? All my lovin’, Terry

  2. Years ago, during a writing workshop discussion, you added to someone’s comment: “pain is beautiful.” This was such a tender expression of validation, and this tenderness in your words has stayed with me in my writing and, I hope, in my relationships with others. And now again, in this poem, you are reminding me of your comment while tenderly validating another. Thank you.

  3. Susan, this is beautiful and achingly moving. Thank you for sharing this, and thank you forever for your healing hands and heart and spirit.

  4. Reading this as my right hip pulsates with a rhythm all its own. Years of pain disguised as numbness produces a sciatic scream no one else can hear. Susans gifts are not of this world. Homegrown, yes. Earthbound… no way. Brilliant poem. Thank you Susan.

  5. Susan is the voice that encourages others to contemplate long embedded trauma or stuck energy. I have been the recipient of her skill and compassion. In addition to her incredible abilities as a somatic therapist, Susan brings her work to life through her reflective and penetrating poetry.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Poems

Popular Tags