Ignus Fatuus

An unknown age of ice
fractures, attenuates
all patience, stretches
to the perfect limit of
pain, disintegrates like
sugar on the tongue.
March rushes under.
It has never stopped.

The last two lines of this poem came as a surprise to me. Why? Because when winter comes, I always feel as if it’s never actually left, just lain dormant. Like it’s a return to reality. Summer for me has felt illusory for a long time. Ignus fatuus. (My grandfather loved that term, discovered in the giant encyclopedic dictionary that was his daily reading where another man — at another time, before the death of his second child — had once read the Bible. “Ignus fatuus,” he’d say to me, apropos of nothing sometimes. And I’d supply the rejoinder: “Will o’ the wisp.”) And I’ve realized over the last several years that this is a survival mechanism, because Messers (as I’ve come to call people with MS) largely dread the hot months as times of misery — a flare-up of every possible symptom. It helps to view summers as temporary things. Which goes so against my grain I could cry.

I was born on the summer solstice and am by nature a creature of the sun. I am rampant in the desert, or on a sole-scorching beach. Or I should be. Once was. Whatever. Spring, though… What was it, before? The thing I tolerated, before my season started.

It seems that’s altered, since. And on a good day, it’s March, not December, that feels dormant — eternal. The bubbling up of water under broken glass, pushing apart the shatter so gently, and yet with such force. I won’t say I welcome it more than October, because my shadow-loving nature will always keen towards Samhain. But the flip side, kindled at Imbolc, is definitely powerful. And that’s a good thing… growth, I’d say, to more than tolerate a time of burgeoning.

12 thoughts on “Ignus Fatuus

  1. I had not known about the seasonality of MS symptoms. But our bodies always react to the seasons. So in a sense dormant is the right word for all those dysfunctions that return–for instance, my cold-induced asthma. It’s always there, but not always active. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “The bubbling up of water under broken glass, pushing apart the shatter so gently, and yet with such force.” That’s a beautiful description. I have had acquaintances with MS and never knew that summer was more difficult, though I’m not surprised by it. I don’t have MS and I am miserable in the summer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Same here; it makes me think I should improve my photography skills but I’m usually too caught up in the moment to take pictures! (When I’m awake for it!) ^_^

      Liked by 1 person

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