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.

Healing Moment

I am sitting on the kitchen floor;
I have fallen again.
You are oblivious,
upstairs in the shower
singing your heart out.

The dog walks over to me,
covers me from head to toe
in healing spit;
I stroke his head,
turn my thoughts and

ask if he remembers when
we used to run in the field,
how he carried sticks far too wide to
fit through the gap in the hedge
so we walked the long way round.
The days I threw the ball and
he sat there looking at me,
embarrassed, it seemed,
that I could do something so silly.
His soft paw prints on frosted grass,
my footprints, solid, healthy, firm.

We have come a long way together
over the years, the dog and I;
friendship, understanding, trust, love,
and healing –
yes, much healing.

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

Disability

She doesn’t wear it well,

it doesn’t suit, not her style;

some things just make you look old.

But she hadn’t read the small print –

no refund available,

exchange maybe, if unworn.

There’s plenty she would change;

freedom to walk her dog for a start,

spontaneous trips out by herself,

baking those delicate pastry things.

It’s too late now,

she’s worn it for too long,

but she still doesn’t wear it well.

The “Bee”!!

Hi everyone,

I decided to post a photograph of myself as a bee at our recent Halloween party, one reason being for fun, as a few people have asked to see this “splendid” sight. But another reason is to lighten the mood a little after my last poem.

In order to manage this condition of MS, I often use practices which are Buddhist inspired. One such practice is to liken our emotions to the weather in its ever changing states, and simply allow ourselves to feel rather than fight the feelings, acknowledging that they are impermanent and will change.

I am a great follower of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen Buddhist monk, author, poet and peace activist. His book Peace Is Every Step has helped me enormously since my diagnosis, to come to terms with subsequent physical limitations and the accompanying roller coaster of emotions.

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”

Thích Nhất Hạnh, Stepping into Freedom: Rules of Monastic Practice for Novices

Image

 

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.

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.

Diminished

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)

Dancing in the Dark

In my mind I am still Dancing
(with Bruce Springsteen)
in the Dark;
those kind, moonlit hours
that shower me with freedom
to feel like me again,
till daylight beckons when
I leave him to his Glory Days
and I to mine.
And they can be glorious
if I let them.
But I will dance again tonight;
I’m told there’s a new moon.

Bruce Springsteen – Album – Born in the USA. Released 1984

Dancing in the Dark
Glory Days

 

A little news and a poem – It’s ok to Cry

I am really chuffed that two of my poems have been featured in two
separate MS magazines this month. One is in the MS Trust magazine,
Open Door, and is part of an article I wrote about my diagnosis and my
ongoing journey living with MS. I’m not good at inserting links but if 
anyone would like to read the article it is easily accessed by searching
MS Trust, click on publications and the Open Door magazine. Click on “read as pdf”.
The other poem is one I wrote way back at the beginning of my diagnosis and
at the very start of my poetry writing. It is  one which I had forgotten
I had written until they reminded me!  Here it is:-

It’s Ok to Cry

“Oh, please don’t cry”,
they sometimes say,
though I think it’s their
discomfort, helplessness
for others’ strife.

But it’s ok to cry;
it untangles threads
of feeling, sorts them
into length, colour,
texture and weight

so the embroidery can begin again
under new light.

 

 

 

 

Trapped

Acceptance just flew away.

Accompanied two magpies as
they took off over gardens,
into distant fields now green again,
able to breath from welcome thaw.

I opened the door,
saw the grass,
sensed a sharp edged wind
as loving as it was harsh,
brush against a pale
complaisant sun.

And I wanted to run again.

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