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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Glenda and Me – Swimming Away from the Titanic

Sometimes as we find ourselves wading through adversity and maybe feeling a little lost, the sweet fragrance of synchronicity fills the air and the room suddenly becomes laden with summer flowers in full bloom on a cold January morning.

When I decided to join a writing group 15 months ago. I entered the room tentatively and with trepidation, feeling somewhat clumsy with my four wheeled walker. I was even more nervous as I was joining a couple of weeks after the term had begun and felt the others would have already started getting to know each other.

As I was introducing myself the door opened very slowly and another lady new to the group was arriving.  She was in a powered wheelchair and took up her place next to me; we smiled. She introduced herself to the group as Glenda and a light bulb moment occurred for me. Was this the same Glenda who my hairdresser Chris, had told me about? He has been trying his best to make me look beautiful for many years so we always chat quite intimately, and because he knows of my MS he told me, not long after my diagnosis, of another client of his called Glenda, who  has MS and how he now goes to her home to do her hair as she can no longer sit at the salon. I had given Chris a copy of my Journey Into Poetry book and he asked me if I had a spare copy, could he have one to give to her because he knew she liked poetry. Glenda duly received her copy of the book.
During the break I plucked up the courage to speak to Glenda.
“Does Chris Wallbank by any chance cut your hair?” I said. She looked at me, a little puzzled, and said,
“Yes, he does, why?”.
“I’m called Christine”, I said,  “and I think you may have a copy of a poetry book I have written”.
“Oh my goodness”, she said,  “I have!  Chris has told me all about you!”.

We were not aware of it on that day, but a strong bond and friendship was about to begin.  A year later, we are firm friends and it feels like we have been so for years.
A while ago I was going through a difficult time with the MS and was telling Glenda all about it; she was very supportive. She is further along this rocky road we both ‘walk’  and has encountered, and been hit by, many huge, frightening boulders along the way and yet always remains positive, looking for the small daily gifts. To use her words, “Adversity heightens our enjoyment of life as it keeps us more in the moment as we experience it, and it creates shining highlights for us”.
Her wonderful support that day led to my writing the following poem for her. I emailed it to her and she told me she was overwhelmed by the fact that I had written it for her.  We become closer by the day.

Swimming Away from The Titanic

I suppose we are quite different
in many ways.
But here we are, thrown together
at a random moment in time
by creativity and illness,
two of us keeping afloat
on the same flotsam of
our own personal Titanic,
waltzing with icebergs.

She seems better at it than me somehow,
this illness thing,
more professional, more skilled
while I flounder about, a mere trainee
unable to cope with this or that
or the other.

I wish acceptance grew on trees.

I ask her for advice,
tell her how I cant stop crying
at something seemingly trivial
and she understands.

I want to be able to help her too;
maybe I do.

We have come together
at different stages of our journey
and I am very grateful.
I look for something to thank
so I gaze at the stars
with their brimming drops of light,
and say thank you for a cold January morning
when limbs protested far too much,
and we both grappled for the same
small piece of wreckage that is still afloat.

Maybe one day, together, we will swim away.

For Theodore, aged 3

How you

made me laugh today
when you brought out a train
to put in a car park we had made
on the garden seats

and how I made you laugh
when one of my cars rolled off
into the hole where the garden umbrella
will sit when summer arrives

and how your eyes met mine
and in that moment
you taught me
that these are the treasured things
that I can still do and
all the other stuff doesn’t matter
because love is the key
and yours pours out from you
like a gushing waterfall
a glistening bright sparkly one
that flows and flows and
doesn’t stop at all.

Slip Sliding

 

This morning when I woke up
I could feel it;
it’s been hovering for weeks,
inescapable feeling of losing grip,
oil-coated life slipping
through slithery-dithery hands.
Dependant on so many
for so much,
each doing their
not-good-enough best
because it’s not my way;
simultaneous overspill of gratitude;
Thank you for this, thank you so much for that;
I appreciate all your help, I really do…

 I feel confused,
angry
and sad.
None of this was in the plan,
not mine.
Mine was to fly free,
up high among birds in a limitless sky,
oyster-world opportunities, well-earned.
So whose plan is this,
and why?
Or is it simply nature
being as cruel as it can be kind?

Gratitude for Recovery

(April-May 1997)

 Sixteen years ago
in treatment for alcoholism,
attendance at art therapy
was “suggested”.
I was arrogant and stubborn.
I want to stop drinking,
not draw(swear word) pictures.

 Today I found a piece of my artwork,
like a drawing made by a child.
And that is exactly what I was,
a bewildered infant lost, fearful and alone,
my arrogance, mere defence.

 I had painted a long, winding road,
dark, threat-laden sky,
and far in the impossible future
a clump of yellow primroses
in the sun, a bright yellow circle
in the top right hand corner.

Today I am standing next to them
and the sun is real.

Looking back and moving forward into 2013! – plus an Acrostic!

I have been here on WP since August 2011,and during that time have read some wonderful blogs and made many new friends! Thank you to all of you for your encouraging words which have helped me to keep going with my poetry, especially during the times when the bin has been overflowing!!  It is a joy to be here and I am learning more every day.

One thing I have now started to take an interest in is poetry form. I still know nothing bout most of these. But a very good friend on here posts quite a few acrostics, which fascinate me. So as it’s Christmas and I haven’t got a seasonal poem to post I thought I would have a go at a simple one and run it by you all to see what you think. Please tell me if I have got it wrong or if it’s rubbish!! I can take it!!!!

I am including a picture of a flower from my garden, not because it has anything to do with the poem but because these few words look lonely by themselves and also it is a chance for me to pick your brains! This flower which was photographed by me in the summer, has been a puzzle to me and many friends. We thought at first Magnolia but I don’t think it is. Then Jasmine was suggested, I have no idea!! What do you think?

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and look forward to a New Year of inspiration!!

ACCEPTANCE

Ability to let go
Creating space to
Come to freedom
Entering a new
Place of calm
To be cherished
And nurtured with
New breath and
Compassion
Experienced with joy

What am I??

What am I??

Between Shit and Serenity

I can say with all honesty that
I am grateful for what I have,
but I also grieve for what I have lost;
mobility, independence,
that sense of purpose,
a busyness, some of it possibly
extrinsic, but it led me to become
who I was; it defined me

and now all that’s changed
and sometimes I feel lost,
like a small child losing its
mother in a large store,
frightened and alone.

So I listen to words of wisdom
that tell me I am not my body,
that it’s my spirit that counts
and truly lives, which I know
is the essential truth,
and simple to grasp when
I sit cosily with a heat pack
against my back, coffee and cake,
and practice Dharma,

until I am reminded that I have
an appointment within the next hour
and I have to stand up, get ready,
walk, negotiate uneven paths,
heavy doors, awkward people.

I do not see my body as a bonus
and find myself flitting endlessly
every day
between shit and serenity.

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.

Sobriety – 10 Years On

Ten years on I still hate parties,
hear lucid conversation dissolve
to embarrassing gibberish,
recoil from alcohol drenched
kisses on the cheek and,
ten years on, can still sit in
self-righteous judgement
upon people simply trying
to enjoy themselves.

But alcohol dragged me swiftly
beyond the realms of enjoyment
to a lonely space of despair,
lured me toward dark, desolate,
dangerous places,
stole my dignity, self-worth,
almost robbed me of
family and friends,
and nearly killed me.

Ten years on I wouldn’t
trade my sobriety for anything.

Wendy L. Macdonald

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