Entirely Here

Feisty is how I would describe her,
but of late, she has taken to allowing
such closeness, that from time to time
our foreheads touch, ever so gently,
my hair whispering sweet nothings
into the the furrows
of her all-knowing feline face;
wonderful whisker tickling moments.
I could be wary but I’m not;
I trust her and she returns it,
her head bowed as if in prayer.
She smells of fresh pine and
the cool earth after summer rain.
I breathe her in, hold the breath,
breathe her out;
no thoughts of time we can never bring back,
no fretting about tomorrow’s fate,
but a fleeting moment of peace
that life has allowed
in the deeply reassuring company
of a happily purring old friend,
both of us,
entirely here,


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.

Afternoon at The Equestrian Centre for Disabled Riding

My New Friend Paddy

We have a horse ready for you, she said, He’s called Paddy.
I thought today was an assessment to see if I was suitable half hoping I wasn’t so I could say at least I’d tried. But there I was and there was he, padding the ground with his big hooves and tossing a snowy mane with a touch of attitude. Ive never given horse riding a thought, not my kind of thing; it’s something other people do especially pretty young girls with long blonde hair and money.

But life is different now and I want rid of the label that I stamped firmly upon myself the day I was diagnosed, the one that said “Fragile, handle with care”.

Paddy was kind but I could see a stubborn streak in his velvet-brown eyes; we were a good match. I was lowered carefully onto him, my nervous frame meeting his strong back; I was clumsy at first working against him but he slowly taught me his rhythm as we moved around the arena and before long it was as though we were one and the same. This was a good lesson in trust, first in Paddy, trusting he wouldn’t decide to play games and throw me off and secondly in my leaders who reassured me that if he did they would  catch me! I felt alive for the first time in two years.

After the lesson was over I gave Paddy a carrot to say thank you and stroked his head;
he licked my hand to say well done, and nuzzled my chest. This was a moment to savour and to save in a special corner of my heart; I have brought it out several times since during quiet moments of reflection; it always evokes a warm smile for Paddy and a sense of achievement for me, something to hold onto in times of self-doubt.

When I arrived home I stood in front of the mirror. There was no pretty young girl with long blonde hair but the woman who faced me was determined and strong. We smiled at each other, and then together we slowly took firm hold of the label that said “Fragile” and ripped it off.






As Always, Spring

I love spring,
how she yawns and stretches,
quiet confidence;
instinct melded with a trust
that says it’s okay to go.
She was almost fooled
a couple of times this year,
but not enough to daunt
or throw off course.

And now look at those shoots;
delicate still, a little pale, but
granite firm and ready.
They have work to do,
an audience to captivate,
starring roles to support.
And as always, will succeed;
why would this year be any different?


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.

Wendy L. Macdonald

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