Monday, January 4, 2010

UCSD Hospital Meditation

Under the glass and steel dome,

The morning light streams slanting,

Palm tree shadows glide slowly

Across the great curved wall.

Through sliding doors,

The early morning sufferers come streaming,

Their brave selves steering broken bodies,

Many smile, in spite of all.

Half-closed eyes soon reveal,

A glowing dome of crimson light.

Blood cells rush through capillary hallways,

On oxygen missions they heed the call.

The dome discloses in bold relief

Arching fingers of Moorish coral,

Writhing reefs of Hindu temples,

Gods and demons twist upon Alhambra wall.

A persistent post-transplant problem necessitates regular hospital visits on my part. I sometimes find myself seated for various lengths of time in the comfortable padded chairs in the front lobby of the UCSD hospital in Hillcrest, San Diego. This is an excellent spot to observe the comings and goings of the myriad types of people that receive care here, as well as those who love and care for them, doctors, nurses, families and friends, not to mention a number of fantastical characters who wander in off the street just to get warm.

While seated there recently, I found myself impressed with the brave smiles of so many of the ones who limped or came rolling in through the main doors. Like myself, they are struggling and living with constant pain and yet they seemed to me so brave in the face of their challenges that I couldn't help but be moved.

Half-closing my eyes, I began to meditate. Although I rarely experience visual images in meditation, the bright sunlight coming through the vast glass front of the building fell directly on my face, revealing the pulsing blood in my eyelids. As my state of relaxation deepened, this light triggered a fantastic variety of eidetic imagery, a real psychedelic light show right there in my head. These images brought back memories of visits to Spain and the Middle East, as well as Hindu temples seen in books and film.

When I told my wife about my experience later that night, she got very excited and demanded that I set my description down in verse. This, then, is the result.