The Five Dramas of Compassion
Be open to the forces of compassion in the world
Smile when you see the smile of another who is proud of his work
For he found great meaning in both his words and his life
Learn as you listen to the details of experience in one’s story
Listen to how these stories take care of the storyteller
Nod through confusion so that you may give significance to someone’s ideas
Give light to the respect and deference that one is entitled to
And honor the safeguard in another,
Allow one to make extensive and defensible claims
The self that is worth being is a self of suspense
Life is turning death inside out; Could it be through words?
Naming our fears through art is both bolder and easier than silence
Make fear literally livable, allow construction of the imagination in oneself
I believe that illness is opportunity and what makes it an opportunity is its danger
We must learn the science to practice the art
People will listen to us only if we are competent.
Our competence makes room for the growth
of our compassion, our humaneness.
–found poem by Jessie Drew, excerpted from House of God, by Samuel Shem , PP1, Five Dramas of Illness, by Arthur Frank pp. 379-393 and HPU LifeLines Poetry Workshop participants from Pennybyrn at Maryfield, High Point, NC, January 23, 2014