Poetry: The Warrior Bent


Hello friends and readers! I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day, or for those who prefer, Galentine’s Day. I’ve always felt it was a great opportunity to tell everyone who matters most to you that you love and appreciate them. It’s alwasy been one of my favorite days and I married my husband David on February14, 2006.

The poem I’m going to share today is in celebration of our 14th wedding anniversary, which we spent on a sort of staycation, watching rom-coms, MCU movies and ate decadent things that did bad things to our poorly functioning tummies.

I often write a poem for my husband on our anniversary, which is how this love poem thing got started. He was the first person I would write for, swearing I was not the “love poem type” and if you’ve read some of my Elemental series, you know my love poems are often anything but altruistic.

When I was thinking about the year and how rough it was, it didn’t feel like there was that much to celebrate, but I realized I was looking at things all wrong. After all, the year had been rough and scary; mostly because my spouse was experiencing terribly painful and frightening cardiac symptoms that no one could figure out while he only seemed to get worse and worse.

My husband is not only the love of my life, he’s my rock. He works so hard to provide for us at a job that’s frankly way below his experience and potential because after 50, companies no longer see you as a viable candidate. He cares for me when I’m out of commission (something that happens more often than I like to admit) and helps me complete my therapies. During these periods, the onus is often on his shoulders to cook, care for our fur and fin kids and do much of the cleaning, yet he never complains. He even sometimes helps me in completing some of my professional responsibilities.

This year, the tables turned on us. After he experienced a black out at work and an uptick in his symptoms, he had no choice but to take leave. Things got pretty dire financially and I was enjoying an uptick in my own health, so I dared to try to work to meet the gap. I only lasted a bit over a month, but I was proud to be able to pull it off, even if it was only 20 hours a week working concessions at a movie theater. The problem was that I wasn’t really capable of doing anything more after those 20 hours were finished. All the way through, I would spend the days I worked in a stupor of pain and my days off trying to get everything back under control.

About that time, the cardiologist finally had a diagnosis for David and some meds to try. It only took a few weeks and my husband was starting to feel more like his old self. He went back to work just today. I’m keeping everything I have crossed that the medication will stand up against the challenges of his job.

While he was off, he wrote “When Superman Gets Sick,” a post on the Zebra Pit where he talks about what it’s like to become ill when you think of yourself as a superhero. His sentiments are part of the basis for this poem. He’s always been my Superman, my Lancelot and my Nightingale all in one. He’s one of many who sacrifice much of their time and effort to care for their loved one.

Why do I feel the need to explain all of this? Probably because it’s about the most un-feminist sounding thing I’ve ever written. I’m not enthused by the whole “damsel in distress” motif normally, though it fits in a way nothing else does, in this particular situation. An egalitarian relationship was so important to me, I quit dating men in my mid-twenties because finding a man who isn’t interested in holding up the patriarchy seemed a real fool’s errand. No one was more surprised when I found him and admittedly, it only took around 7 years before I was convinced he was fully legit!

It was many years before I was comfortable with him doing things for me and many a battle was waged any time I thought he was stepping on my autonomy. But there’s no denying this incredible man is my knight, no matter what condition his armor happens to be in and that’s what I wanted to celebrate in this poem. I just hope it’s taken as the metaphor it’s intended to be.

I don’t know if it will be included in the Elemental series or not, but I would certainly love some feedback on the rough draft of this poem. I know it’s not the most imaginative thing I’ve ever put out, but hopefully it captures the sentiment I wanted to put forth and tells the tale well. Are there other motifs I could have used that would have conveyed the same thing? Let me know what you think!

Love is complicated enough without being clouded by chronic illness and disability, but what happens when the only person on which you can depend also gets sick? Here's one possibility in a poem, by Michelle Beltano Curtis.

The Warrior Bent

In our thirteenth year of marriage
your facade began to crack.
My knight in tarnished armor
unable to attack all the responsibilities
laid bare upon your shoulders.
 
Made not of flesh and bone
time a villain no warrior can shatter.
Still you fought so valiantly
understanding in life sometimes
all it takes is mind over matter.
 
You visited the most advanced
wizards of our time. An elixir was concocted
that gave you more time. By year fourteen
you put your armor on again to slay all
dragons threatening hearth and man.
 
My knight in shining armor is what you’ll remain
until the wizards can no longer put you
back together again. You fell in love with a damsel
you knew was in distress, a woman you’ll
defend until your last dying breath.

by Michelle Beltano Curtis

All Rights Reserved. “The Warrior Bent” may not be reprinted without permission of the author.

5 thoughts on “Poetry: The Warrior Bent

  1. Wow, Michelle. I absolutely love this. Both your explanation of the poem and the poem itself.
    The title? Possibly, The Bent Warrior?
    Would you be interested in reading my poetry and giving feedback?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks so much for the feedback, Katie! I would be happy to provide feedback on your work and would really appreciate it if I could occasionally send you stuff for feedback, too. I’m pretty sure I have your email, so I’ll shoot you a note and we can discuss things further! Xx

    Like

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