Poem with an explanation: Normalcy

How does this happen,
sitting here,
checking a list,
going through tasks,

none of this is important,
none of it.

There was yesterday,
and that moment,
and those words,
and those eyes.

Now things are normal?
Shouldn’t something happen?
Shouldn’t every second,
every half second,
every division of a second that can be thought of,
be focused?
Shouldn’t it?

There’s guilt,
but what to do,
sit still every moment,
with tears in eyes,
but still,
as the counter ticks,
how can this be,
how can every moment,
not be held,
and gripped,
and never let go?

But what happens,
how does life move,
what if places were switched?

But still,
and then,
there’s a sense of normal,
feeling wrong,
of normal,
feeling like betrayal.

this isn’t it.


This poem is about having someone that is loved be diagnosed with an illness.  The poem is written from the perspective of the person that loves them.  The poem examines the feelings that come with figuring out how time is spent – it contrasts the ideas of spending every moment with the ill loved one and spending time in a normal way.


In the first stanza, the person will the ill loved one finds themselves going about their daily tasks and something hits them, that with the significance of the illness, none of what they are doing has any real meaning or importance.


As they sit, in the second stanza, they remember the diagnosis.  They remember the moment it was said and how they heard the words and looked into the eyes of their ill loved one.


In the third stanza, it’s at the same time as the first stanza, the day after the diagnosis.  The person has a feeling: after yesterday, how are they to just go on with their daily business?  They question the idea of things being normal.  The diagnosis happened, and though everything changed, at the moment things look the same.  They feel like they should do something.  They feel that all of their energy should be focused on this one important thing.


In the fourth stanza, they feel guilty about going on with normal life, but they wonder about the alternative.  Should they just sit there with their love one feeling sad?  At first this seems like a wrong idea, but then they wonder, that as time ticks away, if this illness might lead to death, shouldn’t they aggressively hold on to every second with their loved one?


In the fifth stanza, they examine what may happen though, that people in their situation can go about their days and do normal things.  As they think about this, they imagine their loved one looking sad at the thought and silently asking “What if places were switched?”


In the sixth stanza, as the person examines their thoughts, they feel confused and then feel like going about things feels wrong with their loved one being ill.  They feel like doing the normal things of their life is a betrayal of their loved one.


In the seventh stanza, the person is sitting there going through their thoughts and they feel like this expression isn’t adequate.