Sunday, November 24, 2013

Consumption - A Magpie Tale

John Singer Sargent, "Autumn On The River - 1889"
Offered by Tess as a writing prompt on The Mag: Mag 195

To vist the Magpie Tales writing group and enjoy the work the contributors produced this week *click here*

I hope you will decide to add your own work, following the directions Tess gives in the sidebar of The Mag site.

Last Outing,
Autumn, 1889

We're on the river,
you prone and at risk should we
topple in some rogue
wave or other thing
happening - but none in sight
for sure at this time -
you lie in the bow,
hair wrapped up and fur around
you with your blanket
all down amidships,
the coughing quiet for now,
while I punt against
the relentless rasp
of your lately ripped breathy
flow of bloody air.

November 24, 2013 11:05 AM

This poem reflects my own experience of late. One of the joys of my late in life passage is the respiratory distress I suffer from time to time due not to virus but to allergies run amuck. With modest luck, no viral or bacterial complication will appear. This latest bout has been directly and obviously initiated by an accidental ingestion of a small bit of peanut, a half a nut to be exact, over a week ago.

The tedious misery of tender and inflamed esophogeal tissue forced to accept yet again and again the passing flow of painful air helps me recall the grand fun I had in a seriously asthmatic childhood. That condition was also driven by a then unknown primary and constantly activated food allergy.

A specialist found that toxicity in my diet when I was twelve. As I abstained from eating potatoes, I brought my troubles mostly to an end. There were some other necessary treatments and adjustments. This discipline included twice weekly office visits over the next year to receive injections of a desensitizing elixir concocted of allergen tinctures.

My aging body now no longer resists these lifelong sensitivities very well. So with my breathing troubles active, looking at this picture, I instantly thought, "CONSUMPTION!"


  1. This fits. There is a sense of dis-ease in the picture, although physical or emotional is not readily apparent.

  2. Once again your in depth understanding of the 'feel' of the image makes for a pertinent Mag poem. Thank you :)

  3. I only read the poem. It is lovely....

  4. Beautiful...melancholy...I like your take, Chris...

  5. Oh I do see where you come from this, as the painting does send out that sense. Nice picture you presented in your lovely Magpie!

  6. The combination of poem and notes makes for a lovely and potent Magpie!

  7. Yes, I saw that in this picture too. Take care of you!! I hope you are feeling a bit better soon.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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