Chaplain Words

If I were a writer,
I would write the things I see.

If I were a writer,
the words would pour out of me.
I would tell the stories of all I see.

If I were a writer,
I wouldn’t mind
to sit and write
all the words I find.

I would find the words
on the grey cloudy day I see,
to paint the people I walk past
and who walk past me.

There is a man who sits alone on the sidewalk in his wheelchair
outside in the cold
with his brown sweater over him,
covering his head but without a hood,
the back of the sweater stretched over his head
the way a little child would could.

The old native building shadows over him,
painted brown and beige
(fainter than before)
with new tents on the lawn
waiting for people to come once more.

A tall black man thin as bone
with scars on his face and neck
walks toward his treatment
of pain and pill,
of buying days,
of considering if it’s worth it still.

If I were a writer,
I would tell you of the birds I hear
and how bright are the leaves.

I would tell you the shadow that hospice is
in Springtime.

If I were a writer,
I would tell you how the staff scatter like ants at lunch time,
while men wait in their beds
and wives chatter outside about how their husbands are fine.

If I were a writer,
I would paint purple flowers in the green
and sing the songs our Earth feels.

I walk through long dark nights
when the halls are filled with ghosts
and not a living creature stirs.
The silence is echoed by beeping machines turned off
and tubes pulled out
and tears waiting behind an uncomfortable cough.

If I were a writer,
I would tell you what it means
to offer comfort
for Comfort Measures Only
when no comfort can be given.

If I were a writer,
I would tell you how walking away
is walking home.

If I were a writer,
I would tell of what it means
to choose to do less
in order to live more,
to trade intervention
for peace.

I would tell you what it means to have no choice,
like being with my children or feeding them,
that is this chaplain’s life.

I would tell you what it means to have to choose,
to keep the dead alive
or let go so the dead may live.

If I were a writer,
the words would flow on the page
the way the flag flaps in the breeze
declaring freedom to all who come here to die
and know they will live again.

If I were a writer,
there would be letters like stars
and lines like stripes
white and red.

I am like the flag,
battered and torn and cut off from its pole,
but left there
still flying in the wind.

They are the wind,
and when they fly away,
I can feel them in my hair.

If I were a writer,
I could give you all the words in my head,
and those words would feed my family
and I would raise the dead.


About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Chaplain Words — 2 Comments

  1. And we could read you poems and prose. That would be nice. You should give it a try, you have some potential :-)