The Gifts of Multiple Sclerosis

In honor of Poetry Month, we offer two inspiring poems by a Washington State writer with MS.

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- Posted on Apr 20, 2011

The Gifts of Multiple Sclerosis

When Stephen Guy bought peaceful Eastlight Farm on Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest, a friend gave him a journal inscribed, “When your heart speaks, take good notes.”

Over the next 12 years, Stephen took great notes on his favorite subject: the beauty and serenity of his farm. But multiple sclerosis struck, and over the years wreaked havoc on his body, including his hands. When a friend asked him to email journal entries, Guy was forced to shorten his sentences into phrases–and he discovered poetry. 

Here are two poems from his book, Heartspeak.

a ripe day for the picking

cattail heads suddenly tall
and firm by the pond
late summer sun luminescent in leaves
a giant dragonfly hovers in the moment
thousands of tiny golden fry in chaos
at the water surface
last year’s brood swim by
disciplined into schools
larger members of the clan visible
at increasing depths through clear water
the hammock hangs lazy under apples
half red now with the blush of august
bushes burdened with berries
they fall off into the bucket
but more fall in my mouth
a ripe day for the picking


comes morning

the lens of an awakening sky
magnifies the present beauty
emergent morning blue
spills out into the new day
dragon’s breath gathers over water
and banks upon distant islands
stained in the hues of daybreak
while silent silhouettes
of snowy mountain peaks
stand witness to this dawn

Read the full story of how Stephen Guy became a poet

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