Poetry and the Problem with Pain {Coming Clean}

the poem below is one I did not write.
I was sorting through some old files and found it in a folder marked, "Poetry, Others."
I'm certain the poem was written nearly 35 years ago; the paper 
is yellowed and the print is clearly that of my old manual typewriter.
Seth Haines, an author/blogger disguised as a lawyer, has written a powerful book called "Coming Clean" telling the story of his struggle with alcohol during a near tragedy with his youngest son. Seth's healing began when he faced the pain that threatened to undo him, walking through forgiveness and repentance one day at a time.

Seth's started a Facebook page--'Coming Clean Insiders'--which anyone can join--to discuss the book in the safety of community; Chapter One kicked off last week. 

When I read 'need is our name' the other night, the words resonated with the heart of Seth's book--the ways we mask our brokenness and bury our pain.  And the way God meets us there when we turn to Him.
need is our name

wide is our mouth and
our hands reach always
need is our name
                    is Yours 

we are machines
of no certain function
aching in all our axles
pain is our name
                     is Yours

we are in battle
between bombs we stumble
over other bodies
defeat is our name
                     is Yours

by Luci Shaw


  1. "aching in all our axles"—what a line to live with and lean into and leave behind in the embrace of "Giving/Healing/Triumph." Thanks for posting, Jody!

  2. I loved Seth's book! And you are right -- this poem captures the spirit of it. Thanks for sharing it.


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