The Same Song (Sonnet)

I look at you and see a helpless smile;
my pain is yours, we share each piercing wound
that bleeds and weeps and shocks us from denial.
The fear is real and shouts but without sound,
it s volume rising till we can’t be heard.
We feel a shaking of the earth beneath
and while most days we will not be deterred,
emotions are awash with silent grief.
But each day sees us here and still we breathe;
our gratitude for life together soars.
Your painful smile diminishes and we’ve
come through another day with hope for more.
And though life’s tough and sometimes we will rage
We sing our song together from one page

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Escape

Laid bare upon the grass
this tiny thing,
already viewed as prey
though not yet equipped
for fight or flight,
too much demanded to soon
of a newly formed heart
still rehearsing its beat.

I form a cradle,
makeshift nest
in the palm of my hand
where it sits motionless,
stunned by an overwhelming
iceberg of fear.
How can anything this small
be so complete?
I feel privileged for the
closeness of the moment,
this timeless piece of time,
caress the silky back of
miniscule speckles,
underbelly a mass of fluffy down,
frantic pulse of new life
determined not to quit.
A powerful silence
as we both wait;
I could burst with love.

Minutes pass;
fear finally abates,
a cue to unfold my hand.
A nearby buddleia bush
sways in the evening breeze,
protective arms open wide,
a bivouac of branches
for a small handful of life
waiting to soar.
The world is a big place.

Time to Sing

The tall tree at the
bottom of the garden
is no longer depressed;
I think the birds are
giving her hope.
So very long has she been
winter-sad, standing limp
wearing only grey
unable to raise a smile
or jump for joy
the way she knows she can.

Then this morning
as the sun broke loose and
the birds arrived like Heinz 57
singing all at once and
miraculously in tune,
the happy tree in her
opera-singer white frills
bowed to her audience of one,
joined the song and
now she can’t stop.

I have no sense of pitch
but I am singing with them anyway;
you may hear us sing our way
through summer,
and perhaps even beyond
if we remain aware that
even on the darkest days
the song will always be there;
all we have to do is remember to sing.

 

April 2014 265

Update and a poem – A Wheelchair Called Wilmer

I have just returned from a trip to Ireland; it has taken me over a year to do it.
Until now I simply haven’t had the emotional strength to accomplish it, as the
only way it was possible was with the aid of a wheelchair.
As I “grow into” managing chronic illness, I am re-learning the process of
acceptance with all its complexities. The biggest thing I have learned so far
is to have compassion for myself. The numerous hurdles will be cleared
when it is their time; I have ceased berating myself for taking “too long” to
accomplish the next thing. One of these next things is to actually own a
wheelchair rather than hire one. This may or may not happen soon.
I just need to keep chipping away at my part of the process.

The following poem was written in Ireland after my first long wheelchair “trek”.

A Wheelchair Called Wilmer

It was definitely on its last wheels,
heavily weighed down with ghost scars,
years of invisible struggles piled,
precarious, on an old sagging seat.
If I hadn’t been so heavily reliant,
I would have jumped off and
helped it into the lift.

Then a waitress on the ferry
knocked it as she passed.
It quivered like a frightened dog
and I felt sad.
A strange feeling of empathy
washed over me and I reached out
and touched it, gave it a name.
I told her not to fret and said
this time she could travel light.
There would be no scars left by me;
this was going to be a good trip.

Caesarean Section – Saturday September 30th 1972

In the 70s, ante/post natal care in the UK within the NHS left a great deal
to be desired. Thankfully that has changed over the years and mums are now treated
like human beings.

Sunlight edged through bevelled
glass, hovered softly across
the water, a jug of liquid gold

waiting for painful sips to be
taken as surges rose and fell;
you had decided it was time,
we would do this together.

You shifted and shifted
hour after laboured hour;
I pushed in vain, until
suddenly it seemed all
senses were cancelled,
crossed off the list of
essentials for giving birth.

I clawed my way out of
drug riddled fog; no doctor,
no nurse, no family – no baby.
My silent screams bounced off
icy walls like a pin ball.

Twenty-eight life long hours later,
trundling wheels through endless
corridors to nowhere led me slowly
toward you, stone-faced uniform,
accusatory, hostile silence.

We finally met, still painfully
divided by unyielding glass;
you were beautiful –
vulnerable, innocent,
impossible and real.

And I had failed you already.

 

 

All Will Be Well

All shall be well
and all shall be well
and all manner of things
shall be well
Julian of Norwich

All Will Be Well

I’m not sure where my head was
when I bought the books,
recipes to die for, illustrated,
when even a spoon can argue
its way out of grip.

I think there was a quiver of loss,
last-ditch attempt to hold on,
ache of desire and grief for what was;
sore fingers grappling rock
before the fall.

But wanting leads us down a path
of sufferance,  starves the spirit,
sucks it dry.
Time to let go, embrace a
new normal, accept what is,
here in the moment;
an exposition, prelude to the next phase,
knowing that

wind will still blow secrets to the birds,
sun tease with games of hide and seek.
Rain will still fall soft on arid soil
or pelt like Tungsten darts,
and night stay true to promise of the day,
dewy grass to loosen rooted fears,
new breath,
a hint of trust.

Ginger Biscuits in Love

Ginger Biscuits in Love

I am becoming too
passive, letting others
take over, take control;
I am heavily restricted
I acknowledge, but
an invalid, no.
So – I set out my stall.

The recipe calls for
hand mixing,
no electrics.
a challenge rather
than a problem.

I make a pass at
the mixing bowl;
it nestles willingly
in my exaggerated
embrace while
flour, sugar, ginger
and eggs swirl slowly
and seductively into
dreamy creaminess.

Fifteen minutes of
passionate heat later,
two dozen
deliciously contented,
golden, crispy
love bites.

Wendy L. Macdonald

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