Crying Over Spilt Tea

This morning I spilt a full cup of tea
over the bed;
my hand simply gave way.
It happens.
Everything soaked through
including myself, and

you, the stoical carer
already overloaded with
extra chores, and a time  schedule
that used to belong to me,
rose calmly to the challenge,
stripped the bed,
placed stained linen carefully to soak
and went out the door
to collect our grandson
for the day.

From the corner of my eye
I could see it – disability
sitting on the sidelines
gloating, large as life
with a smugness I could have slapped.

Sometimes I feel like a child.

But unlike a child,
I watched your face as you
cleared the mess;
the pursed lips, unassailable truth
in the extra crease on a forehead,
that said
this wasn’t on today’s list.

We said nothing;
silence grew louder
until we both heard it –
the sadness, sobbing softly
for our loss.


We Dit It Jack!

I don’t usually post two poems so close together but the day after my last poem “Dog Fears”,  Jack and I went out together for a walk, just the two of us, for the first time in three years. It has taken that period of time since diagnosis to accept I need a mobility scooter and then a further period towards having the courage to use it on my own. I feel the two poems are very much connected. After all, “Dog Fears” was about not only Jack’s fears, but my own too.

We Did It Jack!

Just me and you,
we bit the bullet and barged straight through
that cloud of fear that leaves us fraught
sometimes for good reason, others for naught.

I could hardly believe it, my spirits were high,
emotions soaring became part of the sky,
bumped into birds all busy in flight
but they trilled and shrilled in utter delight
at this precious success, or was it just me
wrapped tight in a flight of fantasy.

You stood so well my lovely boy,
kept looking up at me, saw my joy
which then became yours as you walked with pride
heads high, the two of us side by side.

I knew we could do it Jack, just you and me,
together out walking how it used to be.
I just needed a little courage that’s all
and when I saw you there standing so tall
I’ve never let go of fear so fast;
we did it Jack, we did it at last!


June 2014 404

Dog Fears

It’s okay, I say quietly,
it’s only a plastic bag.
But he isn’t convinced,
goes to his bed.
Then I bring out the Hoover;
he rushes into the back room.
I massage his silky head
as he escapes into sleep,
whimpers his way to a safer place
until he fireworks begin and
he is at my feel all aquiver.
I tell him I understand the firework thing;
they make me nervous too.
I gently lift his ear, whisper,
(so the cats can’t hear)
I do understand you know,
how frightening life can be,
about courage, and how
it isn’t the absence of fear
but being brave enough to
walk through it anyway;
you are doing just fine.


A bee flies into the kitchen

buzzes frantically, panics,

thrashes against the glass;

outward display of fear

just like the one she

held inside herself for years.

She would berate herself,

pathetic weakness;

now her heart bleeds

compassion for them both.

She softly guides this

frightened soul towards freedom.

It’s okay to admit you’re scared.

Journal Entry – Bruce Springsteen Concert



Wednesday July 24th – Part 1

This morning I am consumed by three feelings, excitement, anxiety and fear.  I am going to a concert tonight and I am excited.  I will be going to a new state of the art arena on its opening night, and whatever the collective name is for butterflies, I have it deep in my stomach; it is obviously as excited as I am at the prospect of seeing Brue Springsteen live. Not that I am “into him” in any big way, but his music evokes in me memories of a time  when I was, and I am looking forward to the atmosphere of a live concert as much as the music itself.  The butterflies have divided into groups matching how I feel, and some are clinging fervently to fear and anxiety.  Why?

Because in order to do what I am going to do tonight, I need to use a wheelchair for the first time. So I have been working hard on changing my attitude toward my illness and its progression. The tickets were booked back in February; the concert seemed an age away and it was very easy to decide to go.  I have given it very little thought since then thinking, perhaps in a rather convoluted way, that July might never arrive and I wouldn’t have to face what is now upon me, at the same time wanting very much to face it willingly.

I spoke yesterday to a friend in the same situation, but an “old hand” and she suggested to me that by agreeing to use a wheelchair I am being kind to myself, showing care and compassion. This makes sense to me, I think. (I am smiling; it’s not as though thousands of people are going to the arena tonight to see me).  She then said, “If you feel you need to, just wear a fake pot and pretend you’ve broken your leg”.  This made me laugh and ponder the strangeness of the human mind, how we can so easily think illogically.

Time to go and get ready for “The Boss”.

July 25th – Part 2

This morning I am feeling soberly hung over. I am still drinking in, absorbing and processing the success of last night’s efforts. I also feel very proud of myself for finally breaking down another huge barrier surrounding this illness. Oh, and Bruce was pretty good too! He performed non stop for more than three hours and his audience participation skills left me smiling out loud. He was well worth the heartache I had given myself in the weeks preceding the concert, and I had dished myself more than a fair share.

The wheelchair experience wasn’t anywhere near as traumatic as I had imagined it would be. I just kept in mind the words of my friend, who said that when sitting in a wheelchair, we have a very different view of the world; it consists mainly of bums!  I now know this to be true!

I do believe that most things we go through in life involve a process. When I was in early recovery from alcoholism, I learned that we change things when we have had enough pain; until this happens it is not possible to move forward.  It applies in other areas of life too.  I am aware that I recently arrived at a place where the desire to do something, in this case, go to the concert, began to outweigh the fear and anxiety of accepting a wheelchair, the end result being a chance to move forward toward new adventures.

My souvenirs from last night’s concert – a programme, (£15!!!! but essential!), a T shirt, a mug, and a gentle reinforcement of the knowledge that nothing changes if nothing changes.

And Now For Something Completely Different

This post is different!  I am “Feel(ing) the Fear and Do(ing) It Anyway”  (Susan Jeffers). Someone in the blogging world who I now consider a friend and who is a very talented writer, suggested I might like to try interspersing my poetry with an attempt at prose.  Well, my usual response to anything new and scary is to push it under that huge metaphoric carpet , and so I tried;  it didn’t work.  It was  stuck, like a little feather that has escaped from a cushion and wont  let itself be released from your hand.  So here I am giving it a go. I have just been reading a book called “Thaw” by Satya Robyn and it is in the form of a journal, so I thought this may be a gentle way to ease my way into the feel of prose.  Don’t panic! I wont bore you with new entries every week, just the occasional one if I feel inclined and brave.  If you haven’t got time to read all this post, as I am aware it is rather lengthy,  please don’t worry, I wont be offended or take my bat home – or maybe I will, but that’s my problem.

Journal  Day 1 – 17th June  2013

I have decided to start writing a journal. We shall see how far I get. I have never been successful for more than about a month.

 I thought today would be as good a day as any,  mainly because I feel I have something worth writing down, although I guess everything is worth writing down, simply because it is writing, as  Ive heard this is very good for us,  just to write, I mean, to write anything.

Something happened today and it made me smile. I was getting ready to go to physio for my MS. Why do I call it “my MS”? I suppose it doesn’t belong to anyone else so it must be mine, though  I don’t actually  want to own it. But if I  don’t, then does that imply I’m in denial? I’m not; I was for a while, but now I have decided to “embrace” it. That’s the word that gets bandied around, so I have decided to jump aboard that particular band-wagon and celebrate it all. Well, not actually celebrate but embrace; that’s  a good word. Now, where  was I? Oh yes, this thing that happened.

I was coming downstairs trying to carry too much. If it’s soft stuff I just throw it from top to bottom and pick it up when I arrive at the last step (this can be a very satisfying feeling by the way, a bit childlike,  just throwing for the sake of it, so I suppose you could call it an MS perk, sort of), but this was my phone, so not a good idea to throw. I was carrying far too much and got myself into a bit of a state.  I’m always doing this; I never seem to learn. Actually I have just this minute had an idea, a good one too. What I need to do is keep a bag, say a shopping bag or similar, upstairs,  and when I  need to carry a few things, simply put them all in the bag and hey presto, only one thing to carry, which can be hooked over an arm. What a brilliant idea!  Except I would need to remember to take it back up again on a future trip.  I think maybe I could do this,  with some rigorous training.

Anyway,  among all the kerfuffle, I couldn’t see my phone so I decided to ring it from the land line. I went upstairs first, as I thought I must have left it up there by mistake. Standing on the landing I rang my  number.  And then – I started to ring! No, it’s not a typing error, I actually mean I started to, not it. I actually began ringing! And I lit up too!  I honestly couldn’t work it out;  it was ridiculous! And it was then I realised the  phone was tucked cosily inside my bra and had become so settled and content that I had forgotten all about it!   I dont make a habit of storing things inside my bra; it made me smile. I think I may actually be going loopy. I’m glad I discovered all this before the physio appointment was underway…

I do so wish I didn’t have MS, but that’s  for another day, although I just want to say that I am quite aware its a pointless wish, but then I can do pointless wishing very well.
I carry on a daily struggle trying to make sense of it. All I know is that as long as I am here I need to make the best of my life because, like it or not, and mostly I do, I am part of this strange and  wonderful world and I believe I still have something to give.

The physio was good today, and I am to begin another  block of sessions in August to start working  on my weak hand and knee.  “Use it or  lose it”.

I have just delved into my box of angel cards; I’m not really an angel fan but I quite like the daily discipline these give me. Today’s card says “Surrender”…

More soon – maybe.

Let It Be

Cry your heart out if you need to,
rail against the world and
all its seeming unfairness,
because acceptance isn’t a pretty gift
tied with pastel ribbon bows;
it’s a trundling wagon making its
way clumsily over rough terrain,
and you may often

lose your grip, fall off in the
desert sand, find yourself on
all fours like in a bad dream
trying to catch up, cling on,
feet dragging in flying dust,
helpless and hopeless.

What I think I’m trying to say
is keep going, keep clinging,
reach out and don’t ever give up,
but allow your sorrow
its rightful place;
let it be.
It is real.


Thoughts, reflections and a poem

I have been thinking lately about my blog and what is appropriate to post and what may not be. I will explain.

The blog was born out of a diagnosis of MS in 2011. Shortly after the diagnosis and while I was still in shock, a very good friend who happens to be here on WP, suggested to me that I might give writing poetry a chance; he had more confidence in me than I had. I almost laughed his suggestion out the window right there and then and I would have let it fly off with the birds if it had been left to me alone. But he kept nudging me, very gently and with such genuine faith in me that I decided to have a go. So I began; I would write a poem and then run it by him for feedback, which he gladly gave. This in itself was a massive step for me, to show someone what I had written, however “bad” it may be, and even more of a giant step to find myself in a place where I would accept constructive criticism, even if it was through slightly gritted teeth! When I look at this now, I can see that if we really have a desire to accomplish something, then all we need is encouragement, guidance and a huge dose of blind faith, in order to at least give it a chance.

So the blog was born. I write now for two main reasons, the first being therapy, helping myself manage the monster as I call it, which has set up a permanent home inside my body. And the second reason has followed gradually; I am enjoying writing and having fun with it. As a result of all this I have met, and continue to meet, some wonderful new people who I consider to be real friends even though we have not met in person and probably won’t (Now I can hear my mum!! – “Never say never!”) So while I’m rambling, I want to say a huge thank you to all of you on here for continuing to support and encourage me on this still very new journey; it is so very much appreciated. I know a little more about poetry now than I did and I am enjoying reading good poets and trying to improve my writing skills. I still know very little and I do have to say writing isn’t second nature to me; I do have to try hard to produce something I am reasonably satisfied with.

Back to the beginning of this post. I try to write and post poems which are optimistic and uplifting, even those relating to MS, because this helps me to stay in a positive place. But sometimes when I feel down, as I did recently, I write something accordingly, and find it difficult to include touches of humour, which I know I often do. There is no real conscious effort with this; I think it must be one of my coping strategies and thats no bad thing; I cherish my sense of humour, its a very necessary part of emotional healing. I think what I am trying to say is that when I post poems that seem to emerge from a darker place Im not feeling sorry for myself, I am simply saying how it feels. And I think that is appropriate, but whether it is appropriate here Im not sure and would appreciate your feedback.

The following poem is the one which prompted me to write what I have said above.


Don’t try and tell me to focus on
what I can do rather than
what I cant.
Don’t try and tell me that I’m still
the same person I was before,
and don’t tell me what I
can’t do anymore doesn’t matter

because today the computer lead
came out from its socket and
the printer ran out of ink
and I was home alone;
I could fix nothing.
I am tear-streaming;
living in a body that’s
switching itself off.
I feel powerless, trapped
and diminished;
flailing around,
(“not waving but drowning”)
in a pointlessly raging sea of
wishing things were different.

And don’t tell me
tomorrow is another day.

(“Not Waving but Drowning – poem by Stevie Smith)

When We are Ready

Life can be full of challenges,
some of them towering exclamation marks.
I call them hurdles,
not in negativity, but because I believe
we clear them when we are ready
and not a moment before.

Like a young horse being asked
to jump for the first time,
tentative, doubtful, afraid;
a few firm refusals,
perhaps kindly led by hand
for a while, encouraged gently
though with persistence.
But when he is ready to go
he knows,
and oh, how he flies!

And so will I.

This poem was written when I finally
purchased a mobility scooter last week;
not a decision reached with ease.


There’s a hammering on the door,
and again,
aggressive, unnerves me.
I never intended to keep the
money I found.

There are no handcuffs;
I have a parcel.
House numbers should be on the
house, not on the garage door;
he hasn’t got all day to be
looking for where people live.

“Sign ‘ere love”.
I tell him I can’t write;
he frowns, incredulous,
stylus hovers stubbornly
over a grubby screen.
Angry squiggle;
he shouldn’t be doing this,
could lose his job.
Drops the parcel at my feet
and goes,
nought to sixty in seconds.

Morning reprimand.

I must balance this out by saying that some couriers are extremely courteous
and understanding but others…

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