Atlas

I shrug my shoulders, but the pain abides
In them. And all the medicated charm
Can’t change their reason, though the world collides

And grinds between them, grates on bone. It hides
The labor of my age, the fading farm.
I shrug my shoulders, but the pain abides

And crashes on my mind. They have their sides.
The tingling of the nerves run down an arm,
Can’t change their reason though the world collides,

Collapses when I lose my grip and rides
My fingertips until the sun is warm.
I shrug my shoulders, but the pain abides

Here in my bed and there sometimes subsides.
The clock’s hands seem to keep good time, alarm
Can’t change its reason though the world collides

With bells or buzzers, chimes or chatty brides,
Hippocrates, who swears to do no harm.
I shrug my shoulders but the pain abides,
Can’t change its reason though the world collides.





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Charles (Charlie) Southerland lives on his farm in North-Central Arkansas where he bales hay, mills lumber, hunts and fishes. When he has time, he writes poetry on just about every subject. He is published in Trinacria, The Rotary Dial, First Things, The Road Not Taken and other journals. He has been nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize and is a finalist in the 2015 Howard Nemerov Sonnet Contest. He likes to write sonnets, villanelles and sapphics.