SONG IN THE NIGHT

I watch them swooping, soaring, diving,
Dancing in the air in pure joy
And I hear their song from the trees
Their wings unclipped
Their voices not silenced
Free to sing as they will
Whatever their song
I sang to you a song
and you silenced me
Clipped my wings
No longer could I soar with the birds
But in the darkness of the prison you put me in
My song rises
In the night I sing as I will
Knowing
That love is nothing to do with fear

TERROR

Crashing around her head in the morning
Mem’ries and visions of hell let loose
Trembling she followed her routine
While vomit rose in her throat
Minutes like hours ticked by
When would it all end?
She looked for peace
But none came
Her life
Held

THE EERIE VICAR

Matthew stood staring idly into his wardrobe. He was bored. Bored with his wife, bored with being a vicar, and bored with his congregation. As he scanned the designer shirts in his wardrobe, he suddenly saw the bright green checked one. His memory was awakened. The last time he wore it was many years ago. A thrill ran through him at the memory. He now knew exactly what he was going to do and where he was going. His life needed spicing up.

Olive and he had met many years ago, and he said he had married for love. But he soon found her boring. He disguised the fact, doing his duty, remembering her birthday, buying her her favourite expensive perfume. There were never any surprises. Always the same thing, with the customary “Happy Birthday darling.” They didn’t even share a bed any more. Normally days off were spent in walking in the countryside with Olive, having a pub lunch, the going home to bed to read. She did the ironing in the kitchen.

He wanted to go to this place on his own. He had masterminded the plan all those years ago. She had followed dutifully. She always said she would do anything for him. And she would, including covering up for him. This was their grim secret, and it was what held them together.

He now knew exactly what he wanted to do that day, his day off, and where he wanted to go. He wanted to go alone this time. He wondered if he would find things the same as they had been that day, and if he would feel the same thrill. He felt a shiver of anticipation.

He put on the green checked shirt. It didn’t matter what trousers he wore. It was the shirt that mattered. He pulled on some drab grey trousers, and went downstairs, where Olive and Kathy were talking in the kitchen.

“Im going out but I’ll be back.”

“I’ll have your usual tea ready then,” droned Olive.

Matthew walked across the tiled floor in the huge kitchen, clicking his heels in irritation as he went. She had once found him dashing and exciting
He had mesmerised her. They had gone beyond the boundaries of what was normal and acceptable, and though their lives were instrinsically boring, there was this one grim secret between them that they could always return to. ( to be continued)

I WILL RISE AGAIN

Yesterday we went back
Sat once again where herons fished
And magpies, caught by the wind
Fell off wooden posts
Where once the geese arrived from foreign climes
With loud chattering announcing their arrival
And at the water’s edge mallards, dancing their own ungainly dance
And as we sat
Transported back in time
To days before cancer and blindness
Herons now gone
Symbols of resurrection
I wondered
Will I rise again
Or forever be chained to this body
And deep within me
I knew as magpies called
And swallows dived
That yes indeed
To the call of nature
I would rise again

MUTED

A POEM WRITTEN THE CHRISTMAS I WENT BLIND

Sitting
In the Church, fear
Filled the depths of my soul,
Trapped in a world of deepest dark,
Smothered
By night
Singing rising all around me,
Words I could not hear, tears
Filled my blind eyes,
Muted

JOURNEY

THIS IS A POEM THAT I WROTE AS MY SIGHT WAS DYING. I WROTE IT WHILE TRAVELLING ALONG IN THE CAR AT DUSK

Winding roads in the dreary grey of dusk
Neither day nor night, a time of limbo
My life discarded like an empty husk
Time now doesn’t even have a window
Tortuous the journey, never ending
In the greyness of my life, no clear line
But soon, growing dark will be descending
This night for a clearer light I will pine
How will I ever reach my journey’s end
Fumbling in the fog that plagues my eyes?
Is there a message clear that I can send?
Truthful words, honest and without disguise
I fear the dark, please help me on my way
Till journey’s end, and then a better day

AT PEACE

Dark
Forest
Bathed in pink
The setting sun
Transforming you while
Birds sing their evening song
Soon the world will be asleep
In the arms of the Universe
All at rest in the peace of the night
And my soul too is at peace with the world

MERCY!

Save
Me from
These bloody
rhymes, limericks
Wild poetic forms
That keep me awake nights
And plague my early mornings
Please put me back to sleep again
Mercy! Give me a much needed break
It’s four o’clock in the bloody morning!

STRANGLED

Tight
Her throat
Closed on words
She couldn’t speak
Choking she fell down
Gasping for breath she died
For want of being able
To speak of grief that strangled her
And all stood round in consternation
How did this happen in the midst of life?

A CLEANSING

Wild place
You minister
To me, washing away
the soil Of vain accusations
Lashing
My face
Like the surgeon’s knife cutting out
The diseased parts that sting
From the harsh words
Spoken

The wind
blows gently now
Soothing the raw places
Opening up the way for tears
Salty
Healing
I bathe in their pool, my wounds cleansed
Vulnerable I sit
My soul open
To grief

HAPPINESS

Little things mean so much to me,
Give happiness that I never knew before,
Joy that tells me I am free.

I cannot walk and I cannot see,
But life oozes out of every pore,
Little things mean so much to me.

I live my life now, by Love’s decree,
To eternal joy Love has opened the door,
Joy that tells me I am free.

Birdsong wafts from every tree,
Waves kiss every shore,
Little things mean so much to me.

Everything has its own degree
Of potential for life within its store,
Joy that tells me I am free.

Dancing on the waves of the sea,
How could I hope to find much more?
Little things mean so much to me,
Joy that tells me I am free.

THE WREN

We were sitting in the car the other day with the doors open, in an isolated spot, when suddenly a little wren flew onto a branch. The tiniest bird of all. Its song was beautiful – so loud and clear. So often the little things are the best and the most powerful. I love to see the huge ospreys, and the marsh harriers and the buzzards. We tend to think of how powerful they are, with their huge wingspans, and indeed they are. But there can be great power, of a much different nature, in small things.

As a blind person in a wheelchair I often feel very powerless. People tower above me and seem very important. I do not feel important at all. But people often tell me how powerful my presence is . I guess that many of us feel weak, small and powerless. Uf we do, it would do us good to think of that little wren, that had the most powerful and clear song of all, and take heart.

NEARER MY GOD TO THEE

That day
Brutality
Exploded all around
“Cancer” – there was no gentle touch,
Stark truth,
Shocking,
The heavens cried out that dreadful day,
Seals wailed on Holy Isle,
“Will it kill me?”
“Don’t know.”

Absent
Minded she kissed
Me on my head softly,
The mother who had tried to kill
The babe
Within
She listened so intently to
The doctor as he spoke,
Straining to hear
The truth.

The babe
She wanted dead
Now fully woman, faced
Impending threatening death again,
And now
She saw
The child that caused her all her pain,
The child she never loved,
And loved her now,
“Mother!”

Within,
She found something
She’d never known before,
Love, a mother’s fierce sweet love,
Swelling,
Growing,
Now, she only wanted to save
The child that she once bore,
Hold her, keep her,
Love her.

Anger
Grew within her,
Why should this child now die?
Now it was out of her control,
Her grasp,
Her clasp,
Fiercely she shouted at the child,
“Don’t give in now. Fight it’
Don’t let it kill
You child.”

Once more,
When all seemed lost,
She needed to maintain
Full power and control in life
In death,
Gripping
Hold of all that is, intently,
Fear filled her heart, she must
At all costs win
This time.

THE CHILD SAYS:

Nearer
My God to Thee
I come, for I am free,
To choose my path, live in Thy will,
Humbly,
Gladly,
I move towards that heavenly place,
My eyes behold it now,
Tears fill my eyes
Today.

No more
Can earth contain
Bedazzle or seduce,
Earth’s glory dims, all I can see
Is God,
On high.
I fly towards those heavenly plains,
Nothing can hold me now,
My heart sings out
In joy.

THE LINE

And now a line is drawn
Immoveable, stubborn
Keeping the past intact
The future uncertain
A blank page upon which to write my life
Once I could see, now I am blind
So how will I see the marks I make?
Will I feel them in my heart?
Can I create a new song?
Or is there nothing new under the sun?
And is the line really so stubborn
Or does it have a weak part
Where the past peeps through
Squiggles through a tiny hole
Making its appearance unexpectedly
Shocking
Challenging
Do its notes become part of the new song
Rising up to the sky
Like the lark in the morning

STARS ON THE GROUND

On the ground my tears shone
Like the stars that fell from my eyes
Where had all of my life just gone
Desolation now was my song
Yet pure light streamed from what had gone wrong
From grief’s dark night I gained the prize
On the ground my tears shone
Like the stars that fell from my eyes

FOUNTAIN

Today the fountain sprang
From deep within the earth
Singing its unique song to me
Uniting with the mountain streams of my past
Each with its own harmonies
Not confined to time or space
Singing a song forever new
Forever old
Bringing to birth a fresh song
Springing like the fountain
From the depths of my being
A song of joy that never
Did I sing before

HELD

Still is the world
At the saying of Goodbye
We hold our breath
At the awesomeness
Of that which awaits us
That place where you have gone
A place of light
Too bright for our sullied eyes
And as we say Goodbye
We know our own poverty
Our smallness
In the face of infinity
And we pray
That we too
May approach that place of light
Unworthy though we are
Inspired by love and faith and light
We dare to say
“I too will follow”
And in that moment we are held
We take the Bread
Broken for us
To feed us in our brokenness
Held in the everlasting arms
That never will let us go

JOY WAS BORN

I held in my hands today my past,
And now it becomes the present,
Re-created before my eyes,
Living deep in my heart,
Always these things were in my memory,
But now the memory has changed.

Is it really me who has changed,
My present lives in my past,
It is so much more than a memory,
Transforming me in the present,
Things that live in my heart
Will always glow in my eyes

Blind now are my eyes,
How much my life has changed,
But love still lives in my heart,
The good that I knew in my past,
Comes to life in the present,
Love is much more than memory.

Sometimes I rely on memory,
A substitute for my eyes,
Darkness fills my present,
For now the sky has changed,
Beauty lived in the past,
But now it lives in my heart

One day your love warmed my heart,
I see you now in my memory,
There were good days in the past,
I saw myself in your eyes,
The colours in my life changed,
I see rainbows in the present

How beautiful is the present,
There’s dancing in my heart,
The song has never changed,
It lies deep within my memory,
Redundant now are my eyes,
My joy was born in the past

MY STORY

Two things have come together recently that have brought me to a decision. The first thing was coming across an old white thin muslim blouse – well, I say old, but it dates from 2012. The summer thereof! It still had a spot of blood on the sleeve from the only day I ever wore it. That day was at the end of June 2012 – the day the Olympic Torch came to my hometown. It was a hot summer’s day, and my skin had broken out in tiny spots all over my body. Spots that, if touched even only gently, bled profusely. Just the brushing of fine cotton on them would set them off. I had only bought the blouse that morning because I knew that I wanted to watch the Olympic Torch being brought into our town, and I had to have my skin covered. At the time, I dud wonder whether white was a good idea because it was highly likely that, however careful I was, my skin would start to bleed. Indeed, each morning when I woke up, my pillow would be covered in blood from the many little spots around my neck and hairline. At that time, we thought it to be some kind of allergy or insect bites. We had fumigated the house throughly just in case. Of what, we did not know. But just in case anyway. We had only just moved into the house, and so in our minds, anything could have been the case.

It was a beautiful day, and the crowds were all in good spirits, but I must admit, I did think more than twice about whether it was a good idea to go and stand for a long time in the middle of a huge crowd at the side of the road, in the heat. I had been feeling very tired of late, and sometimes quite faint, but I had put it down to the extreme stress of the move we had just undergone, and all the heavy lifting that I had had to do, since my husband was now in a wheelchair. I was caring for him 24/7 as well as trying to unpack and get the house in order. A bad removal firm had not helped much either, but that is yet another story. However, it was going to be a once in a lifetime experience, and I was not going to miss it. So, I donned the brand new blouse, and joined the throng.

As I had expected, my skin did erupt but, strangely, only one spot in one place. But that spot is still there and when I came across the blouse the other day, memories came flooding back. The bleeding spots turned out to be a blood cancer – Lymphoma. It was not diagnosed until the June of 2013, by which stage it was very advanced. In fact I was at death’s door and, in the words of my haematologist, my fate was “in the lap of the Gods.” At one point, he was squeezing my husband on the shoulder, and wishing him “Good luck.” Upon finding the blouse, and my memories being re-ignited, I had the most powerful urge to write my story. I had considered doing thus before, but the yrge was never so powerful.

Then, today, I had a discussion with somebody here in WordPress resulting from a question that had been asked of somebody, abd the result was that I KNEW I must write my story. BUT with no holds barred. It is NOT a pretty story, but I AM still here to tell it. As most of you know, the cancer and the chemotherapy left me wheelchair bound, and blind, with no feeling in my hands and feet, and with fibrosis if the lung, which makes breathing difficult at times. I often suffer from low oxygen levels, and often I have to lie on the bed for much of the day. But, despite it not being a pretty story, there are nuggets of pure gold within it. I have been tried and tested beyond measure, but somehow or other I have managed to come through, and my sense of fun and humour is still intact. In fact, I am still a child at heart. Hence the silly flea limericks that I like to write! And so, I want to tell my story. Both for myself, and for others.

I intend to post it on my Blog. But just in case there are people who wish to avoid it, for whatever reason, I will mark clearly what it is.

I am hoping that my story will be inspirational as much as anything. So please, if you feel able, join me in this journey. And let us together find the gold amongst the dross.

Prepare for Blast Off!

KEPT WOMAN

Tonight
My heart like lead
Grieves for what I have lost
Never will I walk alone but
Be held
And leashed
Before me stretches a vastness
That I can only feel
As the wind blows
Gently

I long
To wander through
Green fields, on ancient paths
Without my leash, set free again
Blindly
I fall
As I try in vain to step out
And now I know the score
I am a kept
Woman

I LOOKED ROUND – ASH

I looked round today and
all I saw was ash,
The ash of my life, spent,
The flame gone out, dead dreams on the ground in rubble.

The scene was bleak, my eyes
Beheld no beauty,
All was ugly, spent now,
I stood there stripped, knowing I could not pick up ash.

Dreams disintegrated,
Hope gone for ever,
Nothing to re-ignite,
Barrenness was my empty companion today.

But suddenly I heard
A voice, saying “Sing,”
What song could I sing now,
Here in this strangest of strange lands, alien now?

The voice insisted, “Sing”
I opened my mouth,
But no sound would come out,
“ Tell me how to sing,”
“Caged birds can sing, but you don’t have a cage, just sing.”

I looked around again,
I couldn’t see ash,
I saw the makings of
A new world, building bricks,
Beauty from ashes, I opened my mouth and sang.

FIGHT

The following words in a short haiku, were written in defence of all those who live with their own truth, often in total exhaustion, but who receive accusations of not fighting. Rachael Bland died of cancer this week, and she was criticised on social media for not fighting her terminal cancer. She DID fight. Amazingly. But she lost her battle in the end, and now she is at peace. For ALL of us who have cancer, we need the space to face our own truth.

“You’ve got to fight” words
Spoken from the grey sidelines
Do you not want truth?

NEW SONG

May there be a song one day that I sing
Rising above all the pains of this life
As beautiful as the birdsong in Spring
Tears having washed away all of my grief
One day may colours come live in ny heart
Though my eyes cannot see them they’re still there
Dispel the darkness tear the veil apart
This, my Love now is my deep heartfelt prayer
Colour my world with a rainbow of love
Letting me know that my life s worthwhile
Give me the Spirit of peace like the dove
Let me again know and feel your warm smile
When all things in the Spring blossom and bloom
Make me one with Nature, singing its tune

THE HILL

“One day I will climb a big hill again,”
So said I to my friend in deep longing
As I spoke I did not know where or when
One day there will be a new beginning
Memories sharpen the pain that I feel
I did not expect to be cut down young
The plans I had made I cannot reveal
Nor the facile assumptions oh so wrong
Now the hill I climb is deep in my heart
Struggling to do just the tiniest things
Pushing the light and the darkness apart
Trying so hard to believe I have wings
I fall into the void that’s left behind
My life taken up with the daily grind

DARKEST NIGHT

Walking through the darkest night
Holding grief’s strong hand
I see with faith the greatest light
Giving up the mental fight
Resting in a future bright
Embracing now this unmarked land
Walking through the darkest night
Holding grief’s strong hand

TESTED

Never ending
The path that we tread
Beset with perils,
Darkest nights
We lose our bearings,
Stretch out our hands,
Feel our way,
Terror strikes us,
In fear we fall,
But there on the ground we find
Bright gems,
Shining,
Again we rise,
Like gold,
Tested,
Tried,
Proved,
In the fires of life

STUMBLE

Stumble as your eyes face the growing dark
Rumble the thunder as clouds turn black
Fumble to find what you cannot see
Tumble down stairs falling on your back

Lie on the floor on this cold dark day
Cry out in pain, as no one hears
Die in the absence of arms held out
Why do they run not seeing your tears

ASHES TO ASHES

They say the soul leaves your body when you die
Mine has left already
Am I dead?
Your blows blew it away
And nown it floats
Silently
Like a silent scream looking for a home
But there is no home
Its destiny is alienation
Like the dust
Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust
Deep in the dark soil it settles
Dug in as you dug my grave

ETERNITY WAITING

The path had been made straight,
Smooth under the early sun,
Just in time for my arrival
Though no one knew I was coming,
It seemed it was just for me,
Time had been waiting

Long months had I been waiting,
My path had not been straight
Darkness then attended me
I never saw the sun
I didn’t see its coming,
Was shocked at its arrival

This was a new arrival
Light for me had been waiting
This day it saw me coming
My mind now perfectly straight
The warmth of the early sun
Was here, protecting me

Inside, She greeted me,
Seeing me on my arrival
Hidden from the sun,
In the darkness waiting
Her truth had always been straight
Eternity was coming

Even the birds were coming,
Singing their songs to me,
Is Truth always this straight
So joyful its arrival?
Eternity will not be waiting
And neither will the sun

Gone for a while is the sun
That shone upon my coming
Joy for me is waiting
Silence falls on me
Soon will be my arrival
Now that the way is straight

I walk straight along the path waiting for my coming,
Guided by the sun shining light on me,
Now is my arrival, eternity was waiting

I REMEMBER

I remember the day
You held me but didn’t hold me,
Stone between me and you,
As always,
Your trembling hands grasping but not grasping,
Below, a torrent of seething, foaming water,
Just like your insides
That once held me
In still waters,
Then, you had no choice,
Oh but wait,
You thought you did,
Once,
But you failed to detach me
From the safety of your womb,
Then, it was me who held on,
Encircled by the still waters,
You could not expel me then,
Or cut me in two with scalpels,
But now,
Here in the foaming waters,
You had your chance,
Exterminate, exterminate,
I felt myself slipping
From your trembling grasp,
A bridge between us,
Was it the bridge to your heart?
Or was your heart stone like the bridge?
Dangling between life and death,
I beheld the waters
Through three year old eyes,
Wise with the terror of a short lifetime,
A knowledge deep in my heart
That your heart was not like mine,
But suddenly
Your hands stopped trembling,
You pulled me back across the bridge,
But not into your false heart,
And in a trice,
There we were,
On the grassy bank of the foaming river,
“It’s nice here” you said,
“Look at the nice grass,”
Today I walk by still waters
In green pastures,
Held by love of a different kind,
Enjoying the banquet of life

THE STONE

One day the darkness overcame her
The earth covered her
The dampness ate into her,
Stifled, she tried to scream
But there was no breath in her body
Lifeless she lay there
This could not be it
Her soul still lived
This could not be her final breath
Slowly she began to move her fingers
Stiffened by the dank earth
They struggled to move
The resistance of the earth
Held them
She remembered she was dust
But in the dust
The Valley of dry bones
Life lived again
Her fingers curled around a tiny stone
She felt its sharp edges
And knew she was not dead
And that life could live again
And suddenly her scream was born
And in the screaming
She was brought to life again
The darkness pierced
Shattered

INDISTINCT

Indistinct the path ahead
Lost in a fog of deep confusion
Swirling around I lose my way
Panic stricken I cry to God
Silence surrounds me no one speaks
I stand still, waiting, unable to walk

I promised that this path I would walk
However hard the way ahead
As I travel, nature speaks
A healing balm to my confusion
It seems that nature reveals my God
I see His beauty on the way

But now I fear to tread this way
Hidden is the direction to walk
Shrouded in cloud now is my God
I do not know the way ahead
My world now filled with such confusion
In the silence nothing speaks

Deep inside me my heart speaks
Telling me not to fear the way
To put aside all my confusion
Move my feet and start to walk
I will find the way ahead
Mapped out by my hidden God

As a child I looked for God
Asking if He is One who speaks
Walking along the lane ahead
Knowing so well the well trod way
Exhilarating was the walk
My child’s mind knew then no confusion

Life brought with it deep confusion
I tried to rest my soul in God
Invited Him to join the walk
I wonder now what word He speaks
As the fog falls thickly on my way
I strain to see the way ahead

I cannot see the path ahead, nor hear my God,
No word He speaks, I am lost in confusion
My way indistinct, yet I must walk