He needs no crutch to walk with, to be frail.
The mark of a man is not his armour, alone.
Or else, we’d pride the vanquished in chainmail
His worth, and not the victor wearing none.
He needs no crutch to bear him, to be hurt.
His most exquisite pain, though showing no
Sure sign, is not by means of this inert;
It walks with him, wherever he may go.
He needs no crutch to kick from under him
To have him falter in his seeming stride.
Though you might see a man of lithest limb
I swear, he walks on broken bones inside.
Yet this aspect, which might have made one frail,
Can but redouble all my strength the more;
And renders him the truest nonpareil,
The most deserving, in his silent war.
Not all of the illnesses we face bear physical symptoms. It is at times more painful to carry a burden in the mind, than in bodily suffering. This simple sonnet, dated in language and technique but sincere – to a nearly-Quixotic extent, I hope – is dedicated to those people I know who struggle on, despite all of this; and in particular, it is dedicated to you, darling, with all of my love. You know who you are.