War starts in our own hearts.
If we are not at peace with ourselves
Then we join the fight.
If we are numb to ourselves,
Critical of our own flesh and blood,
Doubting of the people we call family,
Suspicious of neighbours and friends
Then our lives are in conflict.
The negative, mental sneers
And the callous doubts which
Spring frequently into our minds
Leave the imprint of war and
Aggression in our inner soul.
There is no right or wrong;
Just the honest acceptance
Of constant turmoil which
We all try and deny.
Live and die with the
Fearful embracement of
Judge only your own heart
And if you know it is broken
Unless you can mend it
You will remain at war with yourself.
To your fellow humans
Will remain fallow and lost.
Find your peace.
Believe that your life
Is important because
For the world to survive
We humans have to
Be soldiers of life.
Seek your own peace.
You will never find it.
But there is no time
To fight when you search,
Because seeking is an
Ongoing daily chore
Which leaves no time for war.
Suffering and joy
Go hand in hand.
Realisation is torment.
Breathe in peace.
Try to love.
In the archives of my mind
The patchwork quilt made by my Mother's
Own fair hands is open fields where I would run
Death is a part of life
And life is the runny-nosed children
Leapfrogging their way to school
Or, with their chocolate-bribed faces, watching
Old men stoop
In bric--a-brac shops,
Their stale tobacco breath uncensored.
We drink time away from plastic cups
As the yiketty-yiketty women filter
Slowly down the street
Like a brood of hens.
Outside the parish church a black Madonna
Braves the world and traffic fumes
Beneath an anaemic sky.
As you ask yourself about the world
And its mosaic of madness
A knickerbockerglory blows all your troubles
Away with the drunken silhouettes
That elope into the night
Like another page in your life
And the trains of thought that pass
Through the station of our minds
And sink into oblivion.
My throat feels parched
Reading so many eulogies
For precious friends
Pointing to earth
My compass spins backwards
Even the constant North Star
Has betrayed me
The path less travelled
Is choked with barbed wire
I stumble forwards
Following the noise
Of my faithful friend
Now and then I've had my doubts
Of life and all its ins and outs -
What I've made on the roundabouts
I've lost on the swings.
But in my heart I've no regrets
Because as life goes on time forgets -
The Sun still rises and it sets
Across life's ocean.
Out there on the surface of the water, at one with the herring guls who sit and bob up and down gracefully, this is peace. They look at me curiously in my bright blue swimming hat and goggles, what must they think?
A stillness, a silence, the lapping of the waves about me and the sound of my breath and effort as I move through the water.
Back on the shore the beach is packed, full of noise and activity. Families, couples, dogs, all making the most of these last days of summer.
Out here is peace and quiet.
The buoyancy and carry of the water. The waves are in control, in charge of your direction and progress.
The cliffs look smaller from where I move through the sea. Lush and green, the grass that covers their tops.
The salty taste of the water reminds me where I am. Not in a pool but in the great expanse of water that is the North Sea.
Taking a break, I lay on my back in the water and view the blue sky and the frothy white clouds, before turning back round to the shore and terra-firma.
All is peace here.
All is mighty.
Don’t forget you were born from a tummy. Borne out of love and cherished for nine months.
A happy baby and child until poor body image took place.
You never compare yourself to your sisters but subconsciously perhaps it was difficult seeing them thin, when you were, well, fat.
But life happens. You grow. You get knocked down. And then you can evolve into the creature you always wanted to be. NO, not the jeans fit creature, but the happy, peaceful, healthier creature, the one that is content with your lot.
Repeat after me – You are more than just your tummy. For, having a big tum doesn’t mean you don’t eat your greens etc. For example, I absolutely relish my spinach smoothies, avocado on wholemeal and hot water with a whole lemon, and the glow I get from these beauties.
Can I tell you a secret?
I’m a foodie. But why should this be a secret! It’s now easy to make tasty recipes and find alternative food choices that are satisfying but don’t deny yourself entirely.
You are more than just your tummy.
You have a brain. You care about people. And don’t forget your sense of humour.
You love your husband with a gratitude and passion not of this earth. Hopefully this is reciprocated! He tells you never change and you think, ‘he’s healing me….’
You care for your cat Daisy, and the memories made together, with Adam as a quaint little family overtake any feelings of not being designed for life as The Manic Street Preachers belted out.
So, before you, dear reader, berate your bald patch/ hairiness/ knobbly knees/skinny legs/chubby arms, remember, You are a Human Being first and foremost with EVERYTHING to offer this earth.
They love to hide
Behind a smile -
It's all inside.
They play a part
Just like an actor
And keep within
Life's painful factors
And sit alone
Upon the stage
But yearn to turn
Do not cry,
O, lovely jester,
Do not let
Your feelings fester.
I know the other
Side to you-
Will not be blue.
I will dry away
And keep your smiles
I still dream inside the walls of this house
They are ingrained in my psyche
The roof slopes down my head
Resting on my carved bony shoulders
Smoke escapes from the black slack fire through my ears
My moustache is fashioned from fine willow
Freshly cut from flowing green streams
The creaking pine stairs are my spine
My nose is filled with smells of leather soap and golden floor polish
Red and black wires infiltrate my body
A tiny man reads my meter monthly
Blinds cover my open eyes
The layout is so familiar to me
I can walk around naked in the dark
& still find my way home
when you’ve been there before
knocking on the door of the past
will it last through your eternal cheers
and your god fearing years
you’ve gotta be happy to survive
through the constant bitter sweet jive
of the people who don’t really understand
let alone give you a helping hand
being happy is what I feel now
being happy is one constant wow
being happy is what it’s all about
being happy I ain’t got no doubt
that’s the way I’m gonna stay
forever and ever
turning the taps for constant joy
using the heavens laughter to employ
a smile for all seasons and all kinds of weather
likened to the smell of newly made leather
you’ve gotta be alive with a spring in your feet
clicking your fingers to a snappy little beat
humming the tunes that are in your head
from morning wake up until the time for bed.
everyday in every way presents a different story
every sentence read you tread
hopeful that you’re enjoying the content …you won’t relent
Love the word … heard
Recite … give yourself respite
Slowly, peacefully get up from the chair
….already aware …..you can do this !
When dark storm clouds gather
and they invade your brain,
when you see no sunshine
and feel nothing but rain.
As you battle through life’s tempest
and gusty winds are blown,
speak out through the darkness
don’t ride the storm alone.
Ever changing moods
uncertain like the weather,
please don’t suffer in silence
we can get through this together.
When all it isn’t well
lift up your voice and say,
with a little help you can drive those clouds away.
Share your thoughts and feelings just like I did mine,
then once again in your life the sun will start to shine.
We like to be busy and productive.
But careful this doesn’t turn self-destructive.
Sure its nice getting through the to-do list.
But not when your wellbeing gets missed.
Having lots of money in the bank,
Is not worth having nothing in the tank.
No point chasing a life of excess,
By putting yourself through constant stress.
The very best form of wealth,
Is being in overall good health.
Don’t put up with emotional pain,
Take breaks and protect your brain.
Take it from me, I had to learn.
Pushed my mind hard and felt the burn.
But I discovered how to soothe my head.
By keeping my worry level away from red.
Now I know when I need to step away.
I can avoid burnout ruining the day.
Running, turning, caressing you.
You give sweet kisses on my neck, I’ve found love – by ‘eck!
You soothe me, calm me down, I was down, but now I’m not. Your cupid’s arrow has hit the spot.
You take me waltzing at Midnight, under diamante stars, you point out next to the moon is Mars. For you are obsessed with outer space. And your personality is personified grace.
Holding open doors, but not patronisingly so, we kiss and I feel so safe under love's magical glow.
You saved me from a life of pain, sadness, mental rain. You stood for days with an umbrella, shielding me from thunder and lightning. It was all going off in my brain, but now I feel like a member of the human race again.
You’re sweetness and light, you love me to take my pills for wellbeing and sanity, I’m self-conscious of my weight gain but you love me unconditionally.
My love, my head was dark, you lit up my mind without me needing to have a constant spark, when I am tired, and weary, you’ve got my back.
I say a prayer each night my sister will find someone as sweet and true as you.
Because, my mental wealth grew through the love of another.
Take my life, I have settled. Now I can help others through volunteering, phonecalls and over coffee. A healed heart, now I’m not world-blind. I’m content, making a fresh start.
If I can, then you can, run at the wind, see what you find, perhaps a beautiful, glowing heart that is helpful and kind.
Can you see the coastline,
from the centre of the city?
An open road to glory,
through a wooded mass
For everything will be fine, son,
in two or five years time.
How long is soon enough?
Step it up, save up,
and give your very best.
I know it's just plain tough,
but you'll pass this thankless test.
Personal limitation, the very outcome
of unavoidable distraction,
Twinned with an inevitable
lack of action.
Though certainly not
from a lack of effort,
heart or unseen desire.
Yet, how on earth to tame
that uncontrollable fire?
Not everything that glistens
is pure gold.
Nor, toxic either - or shrouded
in undilted doom and gloom,
even though on many days,
you wanna just hide well away
in your room.
Are you truly living life?
Or is life living you?
Please trust in the process,
Dear God will bless this mess.
As you look up to the skies,
there's blue and grey and suburban sunrise.
Prioritise your priorities,
with a chance to realise.
Life's journey can be fun.
But when all is said
all I really need, is just a clear run.
In this world of contradiction
people often hurt
some pray for redemption
some put on a hair shirt
others find their answer
when the night is still
in the bottom of a bottle
or a small white pill.
Remember when you suffer
and your head is full of hurt
someone somewhere loves you
and wants to wash away your dirt.
Put it down, put it down please stop a moment and think.
1 second 2 seconds count to ten.
Please change your mind, you don't have to do it, change your life, turn it around no good can come from war and hate.
Put it down, put it down please stop a moment and think.
A life, a loved one, someone's best friend, a brother, a sister, an aunt, an uncle, a grandad, a grandma, a mother, a father, a loved one, someone's special friend.
Put it down, put it down please stop a moment and think.
We can be friend’s you and me, we're not so different you see we all have struggles do you see.
To love one another instead, what a wonderful world this can be. No war, no hate, just love, love and peace love and peace some more.
Put it down, put it down, no need for hurt or pain, no knives, no drugs, no hate just love.
Love can wound and love can heal. Let's never forget who we are, from pain comes love and struggles so we're not so different from me and you.
So please put it down, save a life instead and save your own too. Love is all you need, all you need is love.
Talk to a loved one instead, seek some support, reach out to family and friends there's a better life for you waiting on the other side, you can make it if only you believe in good and reach out to someone or even a mental health worker or the charity Mind or maybe you could call Samaritan's and listen to some friendly advice, someone is always there to help.
Reach out, reach out, you’re not alone
There's always someone who can help.
Have you tried to sit in silence, for a while just being still?
Some call it meditation or staying quiet, if you will.
Here’s where I pause and listen, to what my body’s trying to say,
You know, that niggly feeling, one that doesn’t go away.
Sometimes I barely notice the swirly feeling in my gut,
Until it swooshes all around me and I’m feeling in a rut.
It’s then I hear the message, “Pay attention, I’ll help you out;
To make the right life choices, away from those who bring you doubt.”
Discovering my answers, the ones I’d tried to hide.
All I did was stop and listen to the voice that’s deep inside.
So I’ll sit alone in silence, just with my cup of tea,
Taking a few minutes of some quiet time for me.
Heads - you win,
Tails -you lose
But sometimes you
Must sing the blues.
Yo-yos , see-saws,
Highs and lows
That's the way
The story goes.
The road is long,
The hill is steep
So try to laugh
Instead of weep,
Keep going and
The sunshine will
Be just over
The brow of the hill
And often where
The Sun is shining
Clouds will have
A silver lining,
The ups and downs
We face together
Will bring us into
We all have demons, ghosts and nightmares,
that crawl from the dark when we think no-one cares.
They fester and plot – dripping disdain –
feeding off quiet, internalized pain.
That nobody sees but results they can watch –
as it all spills out, you’re overcome; awash,
with irrational thoughts those three concoct,
like fast flowing paint your pages they blot.
Caught in their eddy you’re spiralling down –
no laughter or joy, just the tears of a clown.
Grasping for rope and gasping for air,
you call and you call, but nobody’s there.
Or at least no-one who hears with the heart not their head,
and can read between lines to infer all you’ve not said.
So further you’re sucked and sink in the sand,
soul’s fallen over; its dark dreams make you stand.
At least for as long as it takes them to break:
your love… your spirit… ’til you make last mistake.
So, greet you I will or offence you may take;
I’ll say hi, how are ya, and give a damns sake.
And spend a quiet moment to properly look,
not just read front cover of well-marketed book.
I’ll give you free time over immeasurable drink,
that puts arm on shoulder to step you back from the brink.
It’s the small things that matter to which we pay no heed –
they give comfort and care and keep rain from the seed,
that would harvest the nightmares, the demons, and ghosts,
that seek to strangle then lash you to gibbeting post.
When all you need is someone to show that they care;
say hi, be a friend, and realise that you’re there.
Every move feels like a step backwards
Every morning when I rub my weary eyes
Feels like rubbing bleach over my heart
Trauma is the shadow that follows me
To the bathroom, to the living room, the local park
I’ve wallpapered my skin with worry
Until my forehead’s wrinkled
Then deeper lines of poetry appear
I’ve learned that even when
the tap of the past stops running
Nothing can be more terrifying that
The few drops you can still hear
And I’ve felt anger fume through my blood
Like a train never running out of gas
On a destination of fairness and safety
Things I didn’t have
Every move feels like a step backward
And every drawing feels like an illustration of pain
Every breath feels like the choo-chooing
Of a restless steam train
My heart often feels like a bomb
Waiting to explode
And I prefer to use my time
To meditate by the ponds like a toad
Because I’ve not only been to hell before
I’ve decorated its dining room with the finest wear
I’ve brushed satin’s long red hair with my nails
And pain never vanished in a puff of smoke
Pain remained fixed in the home like the stairs
Maybe too much self-pity is dangerous
But not expressing yourself is worse
Contradictions will always be there
But like a hedgehog in a hidden borrow
Hope is often crawling around, close to the ground
in the darkest places on earth
Trying to be kinder to myself
Because I matter and care
Some days it is so hard to
Just be there.
10 seconds of build up and you know it’s coming
The demon lurking
Ready to fight
Nothing feels right
Even if there was 9 people around
To try to keep the mind occupied
There would still be that heavy sound
Thumping, creating the urge to cry
To sob uncontrollably
Whilst gasping for air
I thought an 8 second fight would be fair
It’s too painful to be any longer
It’s getting hard to see
It’s happening 7 days a week
It used to be 6
Now I’m trying to think about 5 objects
Listening out for 4 distinct sounds
Touching 3 objects
Identifying 2 different smells
And naming 1 thing I can taste
Whilst my body is falling forward
Folding 10 times over
Waiting to be unravelled
I’m starting to think of your flowers planted outside
The chair you used to sit in all the time
The oven you always used to use
That old wooden spoon
Your dancing shoes
I’m trying to remember the sound of your breathing
Focusing on the patter of the rain outside
The butterfly tapping on the window
Hearing next door’s baby cry
I’ve just touched the dress you left behind
Gripping the pillow by my side
Reaching out for our favourite book to keep this off my mind
I can smell the autumn rain
Your scent is travelling through my brain
I’m remembering the taste of the cake you used to make
And just like that
The feeling is no longer ten fold
The fight is over and we’ve won
You never let go
When the light begins to fade,
And your thoughts are full of darkness,
When your thoughts are full of darkness,
And you're feeling all alone,
When you're feeling all alone,
And nothing brings you joy,
When the light begins to fade,
And your body feels numb,
When your body feels numb,
And your heart feels broken,
When your heart feels broken,
And the wounds are deep,
When the light begins to fade,
You will shine again,
You will rise again,
You will evolve again,
You will glow again.
I have learnt so much in such a short time
Just how cruel current core beliefs are to my mind
Tied up in knots, downtrodden , couldn’t care less
Now is the time to challenge, be transparent and confess
I no longer wish to feel this way, I am tired of the weight I bear
Not physically, in this instance, but the burden I must share
I have told myself so often, how I have no worth
But when I begin to challenge this, I find it has no girth
It is scrawny, whiney and not actually my voice I hear
In fact it’s other people’s chastising that has instilled me with fear
I have found no substance to support this claim
That for so many years had me solely to blame
Stuck in archaic prejudice of how life should pan out
But life is a shape shifter, with many rules to flout
Guilt that wrangled me inside and out
Filling my head with incessant thoughts of doubt
On whether my laugh was too loud or my hair too short
Silencing my voice, too scared of the retort
My opinions mean nothing, I know not why
Though that was my belief, in days gone by
No longer, I care not, they don’t matter
Breaking down barriers, it’s time to shatter
Preconceived ideals that do not serve me well
I will live my life as I believe, no time left to dwell
I am not a failure, I work extremely hard
I am worthy of anything my heart desires, stuff this stupid facade
Seeking help, as I disappeared through the cracks
Weak? I am not! Fables not facts
That took gumption, strength and courage in spades
Isn’t it quick how the memory fades
I didn’t know it at the time but I realise now
How liberating realistic is, I just didn’t see how
Striving for perfection was setting myself up to fail
I’ll make mistakes and learn from them, it’s how I will prevail
I am loving, humorous, caring and kind
A more generous person you could never wish to find
I would give you my very last penny rather than watch you go without
I have brought my children up the best way I know how, of that there is no doubt
A more loyal daughter, sister or friend I couldn’t be, I’m trustworthy to the last
It’s time to leave my previous core beliefs behind, buried deep in the past
I believe I am turning a corner and that means it has all been worth while
I’m starting to finally believe in myself and that truly makes me smile
Over at Potters Bar
There was a nurse
Who hailed by the
Name of Joy
Joy she sparked
In every one of us
Over buttered toast
Or the rarer of jellies
She knew she deserved
A raise as did they all
I told her so much
And agree she did
Joy was her name
And it’s what she gave
With a smile on her
Face and a twang in her
Tongue and a twinkle
In her eye
I don’t miss hospital
But the people
On that ward called
Ruby I do and when
I think of joy
I think of her
I cannot face talking about myself
I want to dull the pain
Not sit with a stranger
And tell them my story again
I cannot trust myself
I have heard it all before
Maybe I will just miss my bus
Walk past the open door
It is something we can do
If only we could do more
Take you to appointments
Watch you walk through the door
Wait in cafes, on street corners
Be there to see you leave
Know that you have been there
No stories, we can believe
Learn to trust and hope
Take a leap of faith
Bonds you build, words of wisdom
Will help to keep you safe
You could run and hide
But stranger things have happened
Open up, step inside
Inside me is a sadness
I just can't seem to eat away
It arrives as my mind awakes
And taunts me throughout the day
My eyes show me the world is broken
My mind tries to disagree
My heart KNOWS love will conquer
But still there's sadness inside me
When hope stops treading water
And I drown in worry and doubt
Not food nor sleep nor laughter
Can reach in and pull me out
The smile I paste upon my face
Is real and present and true
Yet it doesn't soothe my troubled mind
For that smiles not for me.....but you
The spiral pulls me down and down
To a place where only pain exists
But when all hope seems to vanish
A hint of doggedness persists
I find MYSELF in that dark abyss
A self worth fighting for
There's no where else to go from here
Except to rise back up once more.
a spider's web of such detail
can exist in a dying contrail?
in a sky of monochrome madness
a black and white web of kind and sadness?
morning embers are stoked and caught
warms my day and warms your heart
somewhere near a baby cries
somewhere near and someone dies
madness is a comfort blanket
in the chaos of a drunken banquet
your love once washed over me and saved me from insanity.
Content warning! This poem contains some swear words.
First they called it psychosis
It called me its slave
Amidst my neurosis
Others will call me brave...
My mind shatters
Like fragments of a mirror
A different reflection
In each shard...
I can hear you
But I can't see you
If you're there
I'm not aware...
Just my luck!
Thanks to you, we're STUCK...
Sir, please let me go
I've got nothing to show
I just want to grow
I'll go with the flow...
Talk at me, not to me
This isn't my body
I'm not a tragedy but
She looks at me with such worry
I'm down here because she said I'm aggressive
I think her memory's selective
He gives me a section
For everybody else's protection
Silence or you'll get my violence!
I don't have to behave
My piss in a cup
Shows you I've had fucking enough!
They say I'm alone
But I feel you near
I won't continue to postpone
Have no fear...
Medication and meditation
Eases my mind's disfiguration
A memory I share happily
Begins to settle me
I'm pieced back together like a puzzle
Some bits are broken, so it's a muddle
I can hear the birds sing
And I'm beginning to win
They're so kind
Even though I was out of my mind
They tell me I'm a find
It's like they're blind
The meds are stopped
That's not a loss
She says the meds made me psychotic
He says nothing, like he already forgot it
Dreams with screams!
Nothing is what it seems
You can't outrun me
I'll get you and your family!
Don't keep me here
Again with strangers
Who can I trust
Friends are like golddust
The TV speaks to me
Radio broadcasts my destiny
Only I can hear it
A relapse, not perhaps
Back in hospital again
They won't say until when
Again I'm prescribed
I don't know how I'm still alive
Because they tell me there were others
Who were smothered
They couldn't find peace
So they found a deathly release
You've haunted me since I was a child
Sometimes you were mild
Behind closed doors, I became wild
It was like the devil had dialled
I'm well again
This is the beginning of the end
I won't lose more friends
Or scare those I love
My mind is no longer in confetti
You won't have to forget me
I never knew out of pain
There'd be so much to gain
My sanity comes from above
And is my responsibility
No one else should take care of me
It could lead to tragedy
I don't always make sense
And I've found a world
Where there's no pretence
Into it I'm hurled
There are survivors
Much braver than me
People who have been
To hell and back
They've given up smack
They're taking their lives back
I won't need to attack
Because I'm building a pack
Now they call it emotionally unstable personality disorder
Different name, same game
To say we're unstable
We hear voices
We also have to make choices
Feels like gutting
We can't tell what's real
When we're ill
It's a huge deal
When you can only function as still
We can get better
It doesn't have to be like this forever
That's kind, but please don't call me clever
So scare me as you once did
I'm now getting rid
With others, I will dare you as I say
Break me so you can make me
Whatever’s on your mind
Let's all take the time
To talk to one another
And make up a rhyme.
Time to talk
Time to walk
Time to share stories
Oh, the days will be glorious
We will talk more curious.
Sharing and caring and being kind
If only we take the time to remind
Ourselves. Oh, to be kind.
Time for a cuppa
Or a good old natter
The world goes round
Just like a pound.
Whilst we never stop caring
And sharing good old rhymes
It's great to take the time together
Make memories forever.
Say hello and help another
You never know he might need a brother
Or a friend indeed.
Just be simply being me.
I am comet.
I am the ball of chaos that
BURNS across the orbit of
Searing a scorching trail
I am untouchable and
DO NOT WANT TO BE TOUCHED.
I try to get away
because on days like this
I hurt others.
Though I don’t mean to and
Leave them charred on the
I am sleeting thought.
Fragments of rage,
As soon as I try to touch
And make it physical
Dragging all of the pieces
Watching the earth below
Wishing I could
As I burn on into the
Wastes of space.
Today I saw a marvellous treat; the birds in the sky circled me as I stepped out onto the street.
Later on, the stars exploded, the moon gave me a wave, and I felt so looked after, no more thoughts of an early grave.
Walking past my neighbour Ginny, she smiled and said to me ‘Hello, take a look at this!’ pointing in the direction of a sweet-smelling apple tree. She had planted it herself, such a long time ago, saying ‘why don’t you take a few?’ her kindness erasing my many woes.
I thanked her, gathered a few treats, and a rosy red apple and walked on.
I came to a door, my future husband welcomed me in, to my delight telling me that apparently he had never wanted more! As I looked into his calm, brown marmite eyes, he seemed to level me, lifting my heart close to shore. Through him, I was raised to highest skies, now bursting with happiness, my lifeboat through crazy seas, guiding me on our tour.
All too soon, time to say goodbye. Now walking, alone on this beautiful, tragic earth, at the bottom of this road, I hear familiar sounds…Here is an ice-cream van. I approach with caution, and the lovely vendor said, ‘here is a freebie 99,’ his wise smile taking away my usual, social dread.
And now? I relax, and meditate, at home with me, myself and I. I received kindness and guidance today. Let's hear it for a changed heart, dancing, glowing, wild and shining bright. From now on, I vow to grab hold of life, with all of my might.
You all took my anxieties, shielded me from dark. Eating another red apple reminds me of this day.
I was petrified of life, but others helped me grow inside. My soul, vibrant, fresh and content, now happily I’m on my way.
Guess what? Today my love for me finally grew, thanks to my surrounding community, pure gratitude to all of you…
What if you could have hung on a bit longer,
when it felt impossible.
What if you had paused a few seconds longer,
when the dark thoughts felt like they would never go.
What if you weren’t all the things that voice had told you you were,
when it seemed so believable.
What if you weren’t mad and bad,
but simply sad.
What if you had a chance to stop blaming yourself for all your evils,
when you’ve felt like the devil himself.
What if you had finally got the help needed and that you deserved,
when you felt so undeserving.
What if you could have felt worth something,
when the voice told you over and over again that you were worthless.
What if you’d had a chance to be who you were meant to be,
when you didn’t feel like you could be anything.
What if you could have just hung on?
This poem is a thank you to the person who made it possible for me to hang on.
Before this heinous disease,
the colour of Ireland was slate
Dramatic, vivid and alluring
cradling majestic and humble in the same arms
This new stain
has dissolved the colours of life.
Left Curiosity and Laughter motionless.
under a blanket of lead I lie stoned, stubborn and stoic;
trying to remember the expressions that were once there
Before you were numb.
I am not a hero for being strong, I am stupefied by the weight of a thousand graves knowing each year that passes makes them sink further into the earth,
heavy from the secrets that made them sick.
When did puddles turn into gutters?
Wilder and deeper malignant traps for our follies;
stagnant not like lochs anchored with legends
But like blocked drains
moored by Beasts of Sludge.
I tried to give you a child so we both might feel again:
The sticky palms filled with
punts to cross the border,
the newness of moon’s silver
dancing on the Donegal sea
A place where folklore is untouched and everlasting -
Maybe there is still time.
Some days I reimagine the grey as iron
with its silent grandeur and magnetism to hope.
Under the sky children dangle feet into the docks
And waves lap the harbour wall with the same gentleness,
as a dog licking its owner’s hand.
I never had a ‘home’,
Moved from house to house,
Place to place.
Always thought home was where my family were.
You were home.
You were comfort.
And now you’re gone,
I am well and truly out of my comfort zone.
I am homesick.
- Please can I come home?
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.
the hallucinations that won’t go.
It’s your grandparent,
looking through the window,
too anxious to go out.
Or a child,
who’s filled with self-doubt.
People affected – one in four -
knocking on every family’s door.
words we cannot speak.
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
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.
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.
giving it that funny tint
of yellow and pink,
that makes us look at everything
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
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
So long you were mishandled
touched by the fingers of rough men, making
you sing. You are scratched
What once was smooth
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
Even when I want
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,
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.