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Members' poetry

Check out some of the poetry written by our Mind members. If you have a poem you'd like to share, please get in touch with the membership team via email: [email protected]

People affected – one in four -
knocking on every family’s door.

It’s a friend
afraid of the scales,
though their weight drops too low.
A mother
hearing voices,
the hallucinations that won’t go.

It’s your grandparent,
looking through the window,
too anxious to go out.
Or a child,
battling depression,
who’s filled with self-doubt.

People affected – one in four -
knocking on every family’s door.

Silence,
embarrassment,
words we cannot speak.
Openness,
tolerance,
society needs to think.

So let’s see
what we can do, to make stigma
a thing of the past.
Let’s bring kindness,
the gift that lasts.

People affected - one in four -
knocking on every family’s door.

There is a palpable gnawing in the left of my head,
Blur between worried mind and flesh that bled.
It radiates to folded brow and buried sight,
Focused eye upon every point of light.

Once whispering lips that yielded gentle moans,
Now falter and stutter on sticks and stones.
Steelwork shut and vault the revealing mind,
By cold cog jaws that ache and grind.

Shoulders raised up and pull the heavy blade,
Lift soft feathered wings for protection made.
Sheltering from a threat that’s sure to come,
Creating pain from fear that will never succumb.

Within the birdcage that ebb and flows,
Dying fires draw deep from hungry bellows.
And a hummingbird heart that gleans with colour,
Beats its wings with fierce endeavour.

Over punished womb that has not forgot,
Both blessed with life and mourned their lot.
A portcullis draws to defend the keep,
And make inside dungeons churn and leap.

Sleep will come, give brow and lips rest,
Feathers on embers wilt, let hummingbird nest.
The castle guards will slump and snore,
And the days concerns will last no more.

And when I will be muted
And when I will be weak
I’ll scream with chest wide open
I’ll scream to break it free

I don’t want your kindness
Your gifts are making me weak
I cannot make it happen
I cannot set this free

Why am I suppose to learn to cooperate
Leave me alone
I don’t want the cage to break
What will I be without it?
I won’t be a bird
The bird needs its cage
To contain one’s rage
That the freedom was stolen
That rainbow is so far

Leave the key outside
Inside, I’ll cry
Don’t you understand?
I forgot how to fly.

I can see your gifts
I can see their order
I am just flapping against the bars
Hitting my face against them.
Bruised on my face
Bruised on the wings
Fainting
And then lifting myself
Again by one wing holding the bar
and searching what gifts I can reach
While still being inside.

What are the bars?
Why are they made of steel?
Because you externalize what’s hard.
You externalize your will.

Touch the bar child.
Melt it into your wing,
And then do the same to the other bar
Melt it into your other wing.
Now you are outside.
Fly darling, fly.
Look at the buttercups.
Look, they shine.
Up
You’re done.
Create a plan.

Sometimes my head is clear,
Quiet, calm, serene,
Like a beautiful, peaceful lake,
A place to lie down and dream.

Nothing disturbs my thoughts,
They freely come and go,
Feelings, emotions, so much more,
Nothing’s blocked, everything flows.

Sometimes a little voice appears,
It doesn’t seem that loud,
Little comments here and there,
It’s like the forming of a cloud.

Interrupting the peace of my day,
Ripples appearing on the lake,
I try so hard to ignore it,
Not wanting this moment to break.

Sometimes the voice gets louder,
Now it’s becoming a pain,
The comments are OUCH, quite stinging,
Like hard and biting rain.

The lake is now an ocean,
It’s definitely not calm,
Dark clouds overhead and waves are high,
This could really do me harm.

Sometimes the voice is screaming,
I can’t seem to shut it out,
Spewing out words that are hateful,
“Please go away”, I desperately shout.

The ocean now is raging,
The waves crash over my head,
If I don’t find a way to escape this,
I could drown, I'll be lost.

“STOP”! I take a breath, in and out,
I close my eyes and think of the lake,
I need to quieten the voice,
For my own sanity’s sake.

I can control the waves,
And the raging storm ahead,
I can silence the voice,
And the hateful words it says.

None of it controls me,
I refuse to give it the power,
I can subside this storm,
Slowly, hour by hour.

The waves are smaller now,
Not very scary at all,
The clouds are clearing too,
The birds are beginning to call.

I’m back by the lake once more,
It’s quiet, calm, serene,
What a beautiful peaceful place,
I lie down and start to dream.

‘I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream’
- Vincent Van Gough

I retreat into my garden,
leaving my worries in the locked down house.
Searching for space.
Looking to space.

The night wraps its arms around my world-weary mind.
I lift my gaze,
absorbed into the vastness above.

For the first time today I draw a deep breath
from the space between the stars
lost in a wash of indigo, azure and violet,
a kaleidoscope of colour within a night that feels so black.

My eyes adjust to the darkness above
drawing forward more pinpricks of light,
flashes of white-hot hydrogen lost in the emptiness.
A million stars spiralling with planets stuck in orbit,
providing an infinite amount of possibility.

Did Van Gough know
when he painted those swirls of colour,
so small and hastily marked
that he could reflect a feeling so well?
That lying here on my weather-worn bench,
with blanket-clad shoulders and a cup of something warm,
I could lose myself so easily
within the same starry night.

And all the children chirped, feed us feed us
And all the children buzzed, feed us feed us
And all the children purred, feed us feed us
And I said, drink up my sweet children for tomorrow brings adventure and misadventure to teach you to fly
To sing to dance to fall to fall to fail
To breathe with your eyes

I watch the last remnants of sludge between the cracks in the pavement,
waiting to see if they might come back to life.

Yesterday, they had been mounds of feathery snow,
draped across the shoulders of the ground,
a monumental white cloak.
Yesterday, I had been myself,
pressing footprints into the powdery mould,
leaving behind marks everywhere I went.

Now the cloak had unravelled,
leaving behind homeless brown threads
squirming under the sun.

I poke at them with my foot, urging them either to disappear
or to come back as they once were.
I poke holes in myself, urging myself either to melt away
or to start again.

Not from the ground up,
as advised by wise mothers and grandmothers
and mysterious strangers meeting in galleries,
thinking themselves philosophers.
But from the sky down.
Born as a pearl of ice, sailing downwards,
throwing my colours onto the earth,
lighting up the air,
dancing with the flurry, with the rest of those wanting to start again,
until we cover the land one more time.
Glowing,
giving it that funny tint
of yellow and pink,
that makes us look at everything
differently.

As if we have magic words at the ends of our fingers,
ready to paint stories on the world,
just like the first human to forge a grunt with his lips
and watch it linger in front of him,
or use whatever he could find to trace his mind on a cave wall.
We leave a stain,
and then we start again.

I want to be
someone who can’t cope,
and live off jam and toast
cups of tea.
Stay in bed sleeping
until that becomes tiring
then spend hours watching TV.
Mooch about in my dressing gown
and slippers,
stand at the front door talking to passers-by,
employ myself with ‘roll-ups,’
and having a good lusty cry.

A fragile vessel, filled with fear
I understand.
So long you were mishandled
touched by the fingers of rough men, making

you sing. You are scratched
What once was smooth
flawless
now tells a tale of
all you have been through

To be held

gently, but held high
Wear your scars with pride
Embrace the light
Reflect it back
so all can see
the beauty that lies within you still

the summery warmth of plucked red raspberries
meets the chopped ruby stalks of rhubarb
dancing like scarlet in the mixing bowl
tickling my appetite with visions of delicious desserts
and wonderful honeyed tastiness
melding in a glass baking dish

tang and jammy-ness
tingle my tongue with crisps & crumbles
smoothed out with real butter, rolled oats,
cinnamon, and sweetness
served warm in a wee bowl, dolloped
with ice cream or yogurt or eaten plain just like that

What a bizarre
And painful thing,
To be burdened with being human.

Because, it is,
So difficult to exist as I am.

Why make a creature
Who can ponder their own existence?
Who can feel such intense emotions?
For no particular reason?

What a peculiar sensation it is
to realise I will never be anyone but me.

There are no thoughts
I can have that aren’t mine.

The only way to escape my own mind
Is to die.
And for now, I live
As me
Even when I want
Another self.

Can it be stopped? Will it turn off?
Perhaps come to a halt, wind down.
How to dampen it? Make it slow.
Need a control rod for the brain.
Stop the neurons firing away
Prevent the memories forming
The still pictures stored in the mind
Those miserable regrets surface
Never the many good times had
Not the happy always the sad
Dredging up the times I was bad
Hiding all the times I was glad
Why won’t it let me be asleep
Needling my psyche with nails
Preventing what comes naturally
Instead I toss and turn and fret
Pillows flatten with my head’s weight
The mattress creaks and its springs moan
The duvet presses down on me
Outside the night seems bright as day
A clock ticks loudly somewhere close
I’m resigned to insomnia
Forever awake brain buzzing
Until the alarm starts again

Bee sups at light blue translucent petals
Attracted by scent and nectar and colour.
Scent and colours unnumbered abound in the vast array of flora and fauna in the world.
We stop to marvel at a flower, maybe linger a while ,
Noticing patterns made of light, shade and any
Rain landing on the petals and leaves
And any movement in wind of a gentle breeze dozily nodding head to a gusty gale head and stems dancing vigorously and leaves gesticulating in time
Texture; hairy smooth spiky
Its design; intricacy of stem leaf veins roots
Scent breathed in, mild or sharp, floods our noses and takes us beyond ourselves as we relish that moment of stillness and quiet
Take in its colour pale or bright, single or several colours or shades
Trying to hold all that in our minds and senses when we get home.
O Lord Your wondrous works of creation attract and like the bee we sup and are nourished in our faith;
Your provision for the bee
Clothing the flowers and trees
Your daily provision for us
Be it physically, emotionally or mentally and
Providing delight and beauty
An abundant, not a drab and dreary life.
Help us look around us like a bee for the things that nourish not destroy.

This fire in my mind is consuming.
Guilt eats into my soul.
Coughing and traffic tear into me.
Memories haunt me.
They will not let me go.
I cannot seem to escape.
Thoughts of death and disease persist.
Where do I go for help?
To reading like fiction and novels.
Words describe the torture,
The coughing,the traffic,the guilt.
There are telepathic voices too,
Emptiness,relations,letters,
I am grateful,very grateful
For Sahaja Yoga meditation,
Shree Mataji and the Sahaja Yogis.
I cling to a lifeline.
My heart lives, but precariously.

The water flows I breath the air
The wind it softly blows
I look at you, you're not there.

The sun it shines the moon golden as it glows
My tear asks one question
Where are you my love right now.

The leaves have linked with autumn bonfires swirl the air
I look toward the withering branch
I wish you all my care

The snow it softly falls the ice begins to crack
Seasons gently come and go
I will be here if you come back.

You don’t know my mother, but she curses your name.
You don’t know my sister, but if she saw you, you’d better run away.
You don’t know my dad, but he hates your guts.
You don’t know me, but I know you very much.

You’re the reason I get anxious, the reason I have self-doubt.
The reason I can never seem to get the words out of my mouth.
The reason I overthink and the reason I’m sad.
These reasons are never ending, fuelling my way down.

Despite all this, we are roommates.
I know one day we will learn to live together.
But for now, it’s a struggle, but I know it’ll get better.

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