Mike Smiff

Empathy - Poem by Mike Smiff

The greater pain than the one you feel
Is the one you see in the ones you love
The one you can't make go away
Cannot ease or take on as your own
That you neither caused
Nor can conclude
But must play its course
And you are the witness to the sorrow and the grief
The despair and the gloom
The melancholy that it brings to that beloved person of yours
When sympathy is not appropriate
And distraction isn't possible
When you're powerless to in any way lessen the pain
When all you can do
Is to be there
And to experience that hurt with them
To watch as it changes them
As it pulls them to their depths
And then to wait
Wait for the feeling to subside
To diminish
And all the while
You would trade
In an instant
And have that pain be yours rather than theirs
Have their heavy heart be weighed on you
And release them of that load of agony
To take it on and free them of their state of dreariness
Absorb it
And battle it for yourself
Even if it were strong enough to destroy you
Just to save from ever seeing them feeling so hopeless
That is the pain greater than pain itself

When the ones we love hurt
We feel their pain tenfold

Topic(s) of this poem: pain

Comments about Empathy by Mike Smiff

  • (11/14/2018 1:15:00 PM)

    beautiful poem great job (Report)Reply

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  • Elisabeth Wingle (5/24/2016 8:46:00 PM)

    Mike, you wrote a beautiful poem. I think most of us have experienced this feeling. That agony, despair, helplessness and the willingness to self sacrifice, to alleviate a loved ones pain. You were able to convey these feelings perfectly. I think this feeling is more than empathy, you might need to create a new word! Nice work (Report)Reply

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  • Elisabeth Wingle (5/24/2016 8:28:00 PM)

    Mike this is a beautiful poem. I am sure that most of us have been through this agony, the helplessness this willingness to self sacrifice. But, you were able convey this feeling perfectly. This is more than empathy, you may have to create an new word for this feeling! Thanks great work. (Report)Reply

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  • anonymous still (5/17/2016 12:57:00 AM)

    You surely have a deep outlook for things...the way u express says it all (Report)Reply

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  • Linda Gantt (4/6/2016 12:25:00 PM)

    Indeed true! Our loved ones hurt; we hurt even more. Many times have I experienced this kind of pain..and empathy...especially with my children. (Report)Reply

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  • Norah Tunney (4/4/2016 6:28:00 AM)

    Deeply touched
    This poem says so much about you
    And the beautiful tender heart you have
    There is nothing worse than to see our loved ones suffer
    Thumbs up mike

    Mike Smith(4/4/2016 10:02:00 AM)

    Thanks Norah. It is close to impossible to watch when we see our loved ones hurt. The pain that wells up inside us as a result is no easy opponent to spar with

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  • Mihaela Pirjol (3/25/2016 10:39:00 AM)

    Empathy is probably the first human virtue that proves our humanity, and what it means to be humane. I very much enjoyed reading this poem. (Report)Reply

    Mike Smith(4/4/2016 10:00:00 AM)

    I would not want to envision a world without it. As you've said, it is integral to our humanity

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  • Ozark Mountain Homegrown (3/11/2016 3:00:00 PM)

    This is such a wonderful poem...it is so hard to see others suffer...especially the ones you love...Thank you for sharing (Report)Reply

    Mike Smith(3/11/2016 5:32:00 PM)

    Yes, much more so even than suffering yourself. Thank you

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  • Brian Mayo (3/11/2016 11:21:00 AM)

    You've written a poem that evokes a reaction every bit as powerful as its subject matter. This is no easy task. Beautiful job.
    I met a genius once, whom I soon discovered had a complete lack of empathy- - and I was reminded of the Unabomber.

    Mike Smith(3/11/2016 11:40:00 AM)

    I think if I had the choice between being a genius or feeling sympathy I would choose the latter. Thanks Brian

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  • Daniel Brick (3/9/2016 8:01:00 PM)

    You av writen an extended definition of te word EMPATY that does what no dictionary can do: gives us te human experience in all of its beauty and terror. Bravo! A poem like this is one of the reasons that poetry exists! It's also te polar opposite of Man on te Moon. We need both types of poems: the sly, satirical, pitiless epic and te deeply moving, ultra serious lament. We are complex creatures and it takes multiple voices to speak the truth to us. And a personal note: I am caring for my 88 year old Uncle who is very frail and in constant pain. This is exacty the poem I needed to hear and hold close to me. AS we say at PH, Tanks for sharing! (Report)Reply

    Mike Smith(3/10/2016 3:18:00 PM)

    It's a feeling that is universal and regardless of how each person experiences it, empathy is something we all have in common. It's not something we enjoy by any means, because it entails misfortune of others, but it highlights the humanity in us that we all share this. Thank you

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  • Juan Olivarez (2/29/2016 6:54:00 PM)

    This is so good on so many levels. I know exactly what you are saying. Truer words were never written. (Report)Reply

    Mike Smith(4/4/2016 9:58:00 AM)

    Thank you Juan. Pain on the personal level is miserable, but to witness it in a loved one approaches the unbearable

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  • (2/27/2016 3:08:00 AM)

    Mike, have felt the very same - in sometimes hopeless degree's. You really have a gift. i will be reading you often. (Report)Reply

    Mike Smith(2/27/2016 10:09:00 AM)

    And what a terrible feeling it is. Thank you Theodora

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  • Souren Mondal (2/26/2016 11:19:00 PM)

    You know Mike, this one goes out to my favourites! ! I have been an empath, I feel the pain and miseries of the one I love.. I try to stick up for them, love them, stand by them, and do all I can.. But sometimes, it is a helpless situation, as you see someone you love gradually go into a void of darkness... One of my friends, who was a cutter, is someone of whom I felt like that.. It was almost as if I could feel the pain in my own body..

    I don't know whether I am good enough to give you a compliment as a poet, or if this is a compliment, but I cried reading this.. Tears fell down here.. Wonderful Mike.. You deserve to be praised for your wonderful works.. Thanks for sharing.

    Mike Smith(2/27/2016 10:20:00 AM)

    Souren, just to know that you took the time to read it is in itself a compliment. I'm honored and humbled by your praise sir. It's very encouraging when the pieces we make have an impact on those reading them. Thank you Souren. You are too kind

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  • Kelly Kurt (2/26/2016 6:16:00 PM)

    I hate the feeling of powerlessness. Of not knowing what to do other than be there. I know you are a sensitive man and feel theses things acutely. A powerful poem that just about everyone but sociopaths can relate to.
    Speaking of being a sociopath, or at least a nitpicker, in the 13th line it should be you're: -)

    Mike Smith(2/26/2016 7:15:00 PM)

    Good catch. I'll fix it. Thanks as always

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  • (2/26/2016 6:13:00 PM)

    Extremely moving. Exemplifies that real love knows no boundaries and is there for good or bad times.
    Expressed with reaching and deep touching conviction.

    Mike Smith(2/26/2016 7:18:00 PM)

    Thank you Sandra. I've been impacted by several of your poems, and I'm glad to see that I've been able to make one which speaks to you. Much obliged

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Poem Submitted: Friday, February 26, 2016

Poem Edited: Friday, February 26, 2016

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