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Simon Jenner: Descended from a Line of Legs

In discussing how to kick-start the Survivors’ Poetry blog, this poem about my father's tin leg and how, as a child, I used it as a garage for my toy cars was recently recalled in some email communications. A survivors’ poet remembered my reading of it some years ago at the Poetry Cafe. 

Descended from a Line of Legs

Clank; his leg shows its metal
down the pungent antiseptic corridor
whose double once wheeled his flesh one to the fire.

Now he spawns comedy; these are Volvos,
Volkswagens swimming down the aluminium,
garaged by his infant son daily and forgotten.

Veering to some vacant ward, he dismantles
his white consultant self to the buff
paint and straps, to slow scars quickly examined,

stumped behind surgical socks, to a child’s Dinky rattle –
of himself years back, embryo memory of his whole.
But it’s his son who’s almost complete, bar squint eyes,

scar tissue he sees to himself; eyes blind
to their blue-chipped reliquaries he’ll now return.
Smiling to anecdote it, he winces rising.

His son will keep missing and forgetting
till he’s only metal and memory. The father 
would not see him seed in his hangar leg

what burns his son to fly, late, to the same doctored titles,
limping preferments, not the predicted lyric scrapheap.
But the son’s legs are blocked out, own no magic cavern

to welcome his own infants. Flesh stops with him
who limps like his father with a pint less excuse
who fires steel and sterile children as a fertile offering
&copy Simon Jenner

Posted by Colin Hambrook, 26 October 2015

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 26 October 2015

Wendy Young and Valensigns

I wanted to share a poem for Valentine's day with a bit of sign:

Valensign

Cross my arms
Over my chest
To say
I love you
In the US

I prefer Sign UK
Touch my heart
In the English way

Portugese
Point my middle finger
To my heart and point to you
To say amo-te

French
J’taime
I give you my heart

German
Ich leibe dich
My crossed hands flutter from my heart

 

Posted by Survivors Poetry, 13 February 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 14 February 2014

Wendy Young's Salome having a bad day!

Roses are dead

Violence is cool

Bring me the head

Of the Party that rules!

And just to prove this:

I was shouting at the radio this morning as they announced the Stuart Rose ex M&S head of whatever is to be brought in to advise NHS managers!!!  I could tell them - sling your hooks/go/sod off/too many chiefs etc!!  Why are they treating the NHS like a private enterprise?  Just what we need, run the NHS like a business!  Though I heard this on Radio 4 I must also stop listening to LBC who seem to think managers of Tesco, and Sainsburys can run things.  Seems we're not just getting any manager, this is an M&S manager..mmmm!  Who will he bring in?  Mary Queen of Slops??? 

Bouquet of Barbed Liars!

Stuart Rose

goes

from failing shop

to

poking his nose

advising managers

how to liase

with us

the plebs!

how patronising

bringing in

his idea of management

anyone with sense

would know

 

Posted by Survivors Poetry, 11 February 2014

Last modified by Survivors Poetry, 14 February 2014

Wendy Young just wants to say Where have all the flowers gone? With Pete Seeger..

Just to mark the passing of a great man, singer of protest songs and all round good person, Pete Seeger with his great song -simple, touching and true.....

Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls have picked them everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone, long time passing?
Where have all the young girls gone, long time ago?
Where have all the young girls gone?
Gone for husbands everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the husbands gone, long time passing?
Where have all the husbands gone, long time ago?
Where have all the husbands gone?
Gone for soldiers everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the soldiers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the soldiers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards, everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the graveyards gone, long time passing?
Where have all the graveyards gone, long time ago?
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Gone to flowers, everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls have picked them everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Posted by Survivors Poetry, 28 January 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 29 January 2014

Wendy Young is angry about The Rookes evil abuse of Craig Kinsella

Rooke by name, Rooks by nature

The Rookes Took:

a vulnerable man's
dignity
spirit
he slept in a garage
ate from the  bins
made a scavenger
by you who really are scavengers
your fists and feet
beat this man
defenceless and needy
like fierce creatures who
peck and tear and devour their prey
long may you pay

David Rooke admitted false imprisonment and a number of counts of causing actual bodily harm.
Jamie Rooke admitted affray and a number of counts of causing actual bodily harm.
Donna Rooke admitted a specimen count of battery.

Posted by Survivors Poetry, 7 January 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 17 January 2014

Anthony Hurford on Seamus Heaney's third collection Wintering Out

I read this book differently, I put it down eighty percent through, completing weeks later. I’m grateful it soaked in slow. But I left my writing late, had to refresh myself before drafting this. Mr. Heaney, as ever, deserves consideration, this collection is so fresh.

It is in two parts although I focus on part one, as it has a more obvious theme: it takes us back to a world, I hesitate to say Heaneyland as it's not an exclusive world but inclusive. It takes us back slowly to a world, to fine detail in that world, to remembering how to mix ourselves with the world and have it and us open to each other, it takes us back to language and makes that fresh (I read in Stepping Stones how he replied when asked if he saw himself as one who works 'from words' or 'towards them' (a distinction of Dylan Thomas') that he saw himself as doing both).

He speaks for the land and yet he allows it to speak and he relates to and with it. Having read his first two collections this felt like a deepening, a new aspect of his journey with the land of his early childhood. It reminded me of an idea I had reading Tolstoy, his Confession, how I was impressed by how much of Tolstoy’s journey was one of becoming more what he already was, making that more real. However, I’m not suggesting a similar life-crisis for Mr. Heaney.

A world pours forth in the poems of the first part - the language, the reality, the passing of it. Something of the feel of this section is of someone that appreciates the qualities of a world very well and is generous enough to share that with strangers, if they’ll listen. Sometimes poetry reminds me of my own process of valuing the world (not financially), of attending and concluding and feeling and speaking and dreaming with it, the quality of being. This section is generous in this. But it's not at all warmth and pastoral idyll, we have the view of the 'Servant Boy', the changing world of 'The Last Mummer', a reality in 'The Other Side' and the "tang of possibility" from the past in 'Linen Town'. Throughout this his tenderness and common humanity. And openings to feelings that the fast world bypasses to get to the oh so important places it gets to.

Two things leap out to me - his relationship to the land and the quality of language. This may be cheating, but, a flavour of him:

from 'Land'
"I stepped it, perch by perch.
Unbraiding rushes and grass
I opened my right-of-way
through old-bottoms and sowed-out ground
and gathered stones off the ploughing
to raise a small cairn.
Cleaned out the drains, faced the hedges
and often got up at dawn
to walk the outlying fields.

I composed habits for those acres
so that my last look would be
neither gluttonous nor starved.
I was ready to go anywhere.
. . . "

from 'Gifts of Rain':
" . . .
The tawny guttural water
spells itself: Moyola
is its own score and consort,

bedding the locale
in the utterance,
reed music, an old chanter

breathing its mists
through vowels and history.
A swollen river,

a mating call of sound . . . "

I said the land spoke and if in doubt about a complex relationship to the land read 'Oracle'. As to language – again I wonder if he was revaluing and embracing what he felt. He looks at Irish words but also at the flavour of words in another's mouth to the subject's ear, in 'The Wool Trade' which begins with a quote from one Stephen Dedalus. A reminder of the living quality of language, of how we value it ourselves perhaps and how that may be heard in our words, and I think throughout seen in his written word making world and words fresh.

In section one we meet 'The Tollund Man'. Perhaps revaluing is also present as he contemplates "old man-killing parishes". I neglect a huge aspect of his work in not saying more.

The second section has poems I like very much, on weddings and summer homes, family life. A string of poems about women I found powerful. I loved the poems 'Good-Night' with its observation, 'May' and 'Dawn' but it is the poems of the first half that opened up a world for me that I especially remember, that seem together somehow, unified by a vision of his vision.

Posted by Colin Hambrook, 18 December 2013

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 19 December 2013

Wendy Young found 'Break' in Suffolk and Norfolk

Just want to share www.break-charity.org in the East of England - I discovered it because of my addiction to charity shops. 

Charity Shops

Sometimes they make me sad 
as they are a link to the past - 
seeing a nice tea set or dressing table, 
glassware that must have been treasured for years 
when people didn't have very much 
now in a far corner of a far corner of England, town, street... 
and certain clothes, ornaments I saw on my Aunty Kath's shelf, 
figurines on my Grandma's mantelpiece 
(though I've never found the bakelite three wise monkeys), 
blue and white plastic sugar, tea and coffee dispensers, 
red rose fancy plates in Aunty Mary's cabinet, 
my Mother's sandals that her trojan feet trod in, 
the magazines she looked at -
dreaming of another life.

I decided to ask a nice girl in the Downham Market shop, "what does Break do?" She explained that they help to provide counselling and visits to people with mental health problems. 

She told me people in the area tend to turn their nose up at these issues. I told her about DAO and hope she will log on as she writes poetry herself.

Posted by Survivors Poetry, 13 December 2013

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 17 December 2013

The Taxman Cometh for Wendy Young

Hoping that I don't hold the country to ransom, guess I'll have to pay the tax on the benefit I received for just under 3 months in 2010.  It's too complicated to work out, all I know is I'm tired and weary and that's probably how they get you.

Mad (T)axeman

The Taxman Cometh

And I runneth

(not really - don't lock me up)

Posted by Survivors Poetry, 6 December 2013

Last modified by Survivors Poetry, 6 December 2013

Anthony Hurford on Seamus Heaney's second collection Door into the Dark

When I first started Door into the Dark I thought maybe Heaney had been deliberately trying to break the spell of Death of a Naturalist.  I didn’t know what to make of the first two poems. I struggled to keep up, took some time to tune in, but have now learnt what those poems are about – Mossbawn (the farm on which Heaney lived during his early childhood), and about closeness to a horse and a stable.

Door into the Dark bursts with wonderful, living, poems, but maybe lacks the coherence of Death of a Naturalist with its themes of lessons learned, of growing up, of becoming, of reaching out. Death of a Naturalist was Heaney’s first collection, and he himself recognised that this second collection was less ‘transformative’ than the first, according to Stepping Stones: interviews with Seamus Heaney by Dennis O’Driscoll. I found this book well before I had read Heaney’s poetry, but leafing through it, it seemed so interesting a book, such an esteemed poet talking of poetry.

I'm reading it alongside his poems now. The first two chapters discuss Heaney’s childhood, especially Mossbawn and his journey into poetry, with other chapters loosely focussed around the collections. I'm finding it wonderful. The interviews give a picture of Heaney’s development as a poet and his links to his contemporaries.

I suppose the interviews make me more realistic of Heaney as a poet and as a person. He comes across as humane and modest; grounded, yet able to fly in his understanding and expression. I found the chapter on Door into the Dark tremendous, full of gems. Heaney describes his encounter with self-consciousness having published a book and his seeking for self-forgetfulness in his poems; fascinating to me as a developing writer.

I'd meant to read Heaney better for some time, when during a holiday a summer rainstorm led me to a bookshop’s shelter. Here, I came across Heaney’s book of Oxford lectures The Redress of Poetry, which on page-flipping seemed so juicy I couldn’t resist. His respect for Philip Larkin and his argument that maybe W.B. Yeats expressed something beyond, chimed. At first I thought I’d read more of this book as I know the poets in it better, but I find it accessible even when I know the poets less. Also, I can come back to it when I know them better.

On completing Door into the Dark, and with this other reading, I was flying, enthused to read poets of the world as well as Heaney. No more Heaney-envy, but a wish to feel my own experience, my own doors into the dark, and to write.

Posted by Colin Hambrook, 29 November 2013

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 29 November 2013

Poetician Wendy Young and the 51st State of the D Hell of A! (And the Tax Office)

Got a nice complicated breakdown from those nice people at the tax office who wrote to tell me I owe them £157.60 as I had two employers a couple of years ago. Well, I wouldn't want the country to fall down because of my debt so I enquired how so I owe this amount? 

Apparently I claimed some benefit (60 odd pound a week) when I couldn't work and couldn't get sick pay as I hadn't worked long enough. So added to my stress of a major op, being very ill, I had to go every week for a sick note from the GP to fax to Belfast (and got told off for not making an appointment to do so) - oh it's all flowing back now - I had to go back to work before I should as I couldn't afford to be off. 

And now, two years later I find out that these lovely people haven't forgotten me and are claiming the said amount from a made up figure that I supposedly received. I didn't get DLA and suffered total embarassment trying to claim at an appeal (I could not fill the form in alone. I had to get help). Awaiting another breakdown to explain the first breakdown. 

At least in my anger walking away from the DLA in Grays Inn I wrote this poem in my head and performed it the next evening at Survivors....something positive out of something negative.

The 51st State of the D Hell of A! - Poetician Needs Hand Rail

Three grey stooges assessing case
Cross examining like Soul assassins
My ‘claim’ from two years before
How elementary there’s Dr Watson
And a solicitor and a mister
Whose names rhyme and whose paradigm is cock!
Fuck me! I’m in the dock
‘by this time could you cook say an omelette and some peas’
No Dr Watson I didn’t really eat!
‘Was the friend you had staying just for reassurance’
Well Yes! Mister Cock
‘so he didn’t help you in the bath’
I couldn’t get in it!
‘do you have a hand rail?’
No I don’t Solicitor ..OH NO  I failed the crucial tick
The trick of these inhuman assessors
Belittling me because
I’m not like them ‘cause
My road wasn’t theirs, straight and up the M1
I’ve had A roads and B roads
Wine-dy lanes and slippery slopes
Inn-clines and declines, my hopes
Dashed ‘cause
I’m not like them

My path is scattered with trying and flying and dying
What with this humiliation and Actors Centre rejection - I am a failure
The devil works for RADA, the DLA and dresses in Prada!
Brother can you spare a dime?
Brother can you spare a rail?
The tears start to fall
I’m embarrassed with it all
Telling of my ablutions
I plead it’s more than ticking boxes and
I’m looking at the man in the middle
Who tells me they’re not here to give me this
or give me that
I say just give me what I need
To lead a normal life!
And leave before my dignity is tick boxed to D HELL A!

In the corridor my humour is saved by a man who’s like Druid on Acid with a nobbly stick embedded with two different coloured eyes shaking it at the whole establishment… like a shaman  – he’s a good he’s a good he’s an Ebenezer Good body who flails and rails inside (My Kingdom for a Rail)

And he’s still at it on the street…he’s angry they made me cry
But as I wander around the city of hypocrisy trying to find my bus the anger kicks in and I’m...

Tick Boxing

The new sport
that keeps me ticking 
for the system
and doing my head in
tick for this
tick for that
tick for my sanity
tick for my gravity
tick this box if you’re mad
tick this box if you’re sad
tick this box if you’re bad

Well I’m ticking for the whole of humanity
To blow you up
Ticking an explosives box for you
Tick tick tick tick boom!
(I like the click, the tick and the fulfulment of online boxing)

Posted by Survivors Poetry, 26 November 2013

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 28 November 2013

Wendy Young has stuff to get off her chest and the gun in her back held by Santa Clause

I did draw a picture of Santa holding a gun in my back in the supermarket at Christmas time a few years ago when I was going through a particularly bad time and overwhelmed by shelves of monotony that were supposed to make X time better. 

I remember crying in the aisle, feeling lost, feeling like my mother, thinking 'I don't know what to buy... I don't know what to do... I hate Xmas... I hate the pressure of what I'm supposed to do at this time of year'.  Unfortunately the therapist I was seeing at the time liked it and asked to keep it for a while and I never got it back, or the gift to draw the scenario again. 

Well, December's not here and I am fighting the demons, the memories and loss that haunt me even worse at this time of year. I have one poem and it's quite jolly, well it was for a kind of competition on Radio 4 and poems would be read out at some ungodly hour on a certain day and I thought I'd never hear it but couldn't sleep so listened with ear to radio but nowt! Damn you BBC who said John Hegley would be reading them out, but lied! 

I did do this one at Poetry Shack and Will Self was in the audience so I did get to read it (only because I didn't know there was a theme of bankers being wankers and thought I could shove a line in about eating snow in this one)...felt a prat afterwards but as Bruce Forsooth sez 'don't harp on what you done, go on to the next thing'... higher... higher.. good game - GOD GAME!

X Marks the Spot

Is it the X-Factor? (Can I be an attractor?)
Is it X-treme sports? (Can I race you in me tractor?)
Is it X-Mal Deutschland reforming? (Vell zay may if you give zem a contract!) Or
Is it XMAS, that eXcellent time of year
when people eXchange gifts and rifts
are lifted, for a time
spirits are, like snow, shifted
Drifters may find a stable,
able to join in the cheer
Tears shed, for absent friends
Copious cards are penned
to those far and near
Carol singers fa-la-la-ling
then rat-tat-tatting, welcomed in
Mulled wine drinking mince pie munching
Off they're trudging in the night
To the wind three sheets they are
Bearing song sheets traverse afar
Drunks on an outing
Well wishers shouting
Caspar
Melchior
Balthazar
Following yonder jar-ar-ar!
HO   -   HO!
Santa's on his way tonight
Fill my stocking, it's too light!!
GaGa CD
Twilight DVD
‘cause the TV
It’s all shite!

 

Posted by Survivors Poetry, 26 November 2013

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 29 November 2013

Dave Russell introduces Poetry Express Newsletter

I’m editor of Poetry Express, Survivors Poetry’s monthly newsletter featuring readers’ personal stories of how they came to write poetry and how writing has been helpful to them in coping with Mental Distress.

The poetry contributions are often related to these personal stories, and even when not explicitly related they speak most powerfully of the contributors’ experiences.

Contributions cover a broad spectrum, ranging from participants in Survivors’ Poetry Workshops to survivors worldwide. We would like to develop a cosmopolitan perspective. To retain some feeling of informality, we have a ‘Graffiti Board’ for random, spontaneous views.

Our other features are book and music CD reviews (Survivors also has a ‘Vimeo’ site) and articles of general interest concerning Mental Health issues. Each issue now also has a ‘featured artist’ – this section demonstrates how severe Mental Distress can generate the finest art.

The publication started in the late 1990s as Survivors’ Poetry Newsletter, and was then in printed form, quarterly. It became Poetry Express in July 2000 – the winning suggestion in our competition for readers to rename the newsletter – and was initially both printed and published online.

Subsequent funding problems forced it to become exclusively an online publication. It is hoped that the printed version will be revived in the future. 

Posted by Colin Hambrook, 18 November 2013

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 20 November 2013

Wendy Young eulogises her home town....RIP My Home Town...more blood and bricks are laid down

I shouldn't go back there - even in the online pages of the local chronicle.  I know I'll be getting airiated about some new story and find that bit by bit by blow by blow how the soul has been ripped out and replaced with....nothing. Whoopee only this number of murders compared with the next town... only these amounts of muggings in comparison. 

And now, the Market that has always been an empty, souless monstrosity but better than homogenised shopping for automatons supermarket, has gone even further into the mire.  The oldest stall holder is giving up due to lack of custom (due victory of the enemy - as described above) and no support from the local council except a slap in the face renting stalls to new traders for half the price original holders are paying!  

The Market was granted a Royal Charter in 1249 by King Henry 111 and just like my history project at school in the 2nd year when I said Abraham Lincoln was shot, I don't know what to say after this!  But doesn't it speak for itself?  The town said goodbye to its own brewery and various industries and the biggest blow was the mining industry so I suppose there's nothing left to sell - except arseholes... er our souls!!  I banged this poem out so apologies for simplicity.

Requiem for My Home Town
Global enterprise is dehumanising us all
I remember the old market as a little kid
Lit like a fairground
Oldfields caravan huddled with my mother
Glad of pie and peas in ceramic bowls
I've learned since it's reputation crossed boundaries
As a teenager I hated the indoor souless replacement
I just remember darkness and the dull smell of weird chips in plastic trays
Nothing to savour but the past
But still better than a supermarket
The 80s politics destroyed our people
For the 'price of everything value of nothing' brigade
History paled by souless facades
RIP My Home Town.

 

 

Posted by Survivors Poetry, 17 October 2013

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 21 October 2013

Simon Jenner reports on the sensational Outside In poetry event at Pallant House last weekend

Colin Hambrook's double launch on Saturday 12th October at the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester was - it's too easy to use such vocabulary -  the most inspiring Survivor event since the 21st Birthday bash last year. Partly it was the event itself, curated by Pallant's Deputy Director Marc Steene who spearheads the Outside In series of galleries and Outsider-led art initiatives currently on exhibition at The Public in West Bromwich and Project Ability in Glasgow.

Mostly it was Colin's twin arts on display here. The volume of poetry, Knitting Time (Waterloo Press) astonishes with its harrowing journey, through surviving the attention of Jehovah Witnesses and in this case (as alas in many like the silencing of fine poets Lynette Roberts and - it's suggested - Rosemary Tonks) their catastrophic effect on his mother. She ended up destroyed by ECT and the wrong kind of care in the NHS.

The book was illustrated in monochrome with the extraordinary polychromatic paintings and drawings on display at Pallant House - remarkable works half-way between Arthur Rackham and Cecil Collins - an extraordinary visionary neo-Romantic like David Jones, but nearer to the 1940s school. What Colin does with these influences and phenomenal technique is by turns breathtaking, touching, terrifying and ultimately affirmative.

Beyond all this, however, and the show of loyalty to Colin (also an original SP Constitution signatory in 1994) from so many survivors or those who work with survivors, was the meeting of minds, ideas, and plans for the future. 

Joe Bidder and Hilary Porter were there, on hand to listen to my tribulations and offer advice and a few corrective notes. Dave Russell played a suite of his finest songs just preceding Colin's final flourish of poems, and in the generous inclusiveness we know Colin for, there was an invitation alongside Marc Steene to make this a survivor-led event with a first half showcasing many survivor poets.

Dave Sinclair (editor of Outsider Poems) opened, followed by Monika Richards who contributed with a reading of poems from her title 'Ink on My Lips', a black writing anthology just out from Waterloo Press alongside Knitting Time. Allan Sutherland read a selection of transcription poetry from his Neglected Voices cycle, concluding a very strong first half. Several other readers arrived from London and farther out - not so easy when negotiating Chichester at the weekend.

Also present and reading her fine work was Victoria Hullatt, from the Big Blake Project at Felpham, also linked to DAO and now to SP. SP's library is on its way to the project via DAO, when arrangements and due care and process are completed. SP's resources are increasingly at the disposal of joint DAO/SP initiatives where we hope to stream them for general survivor use.

Survivors and survivor discussions are indeed knitting time together. A new chapter for us is opening, one of collaboration and dovetailing, aesthetic quickening and the chance to secure refuge for archive and a sue for the archive itself, from recordings to library to board minutes. 

I don't quite know what the future holds for SP as an Arts Council recipient of NPO status, but as an organisation - and above all a vision -  it's repositioning itself where its life will be: back with its roots - its founders and curators; and even more where it has always been, with users, artists, supporters, enthusiasts and witnesses.

Posted by Colin Hambrook, 16 October 2013

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 16 October 2013

Anthony Hurford offers the first of a series of blogs responding to Seamus Heaney’s poetry

Image - Death_of_a_naturalist.jpg

Seamus Heaney (1939-2013) was an Irish poet, dramatist and critic. He died at the end of last August which has brought forth many reminiscences in the media about him and admiration for his poetry.

He was born in Northern Ireland and his early childhood on a farm called Mossbawn is a vital element to his poetry. He lived through The Troubles and was clear on his stance as an Irish Catholic.

Heaney was well recognised in his lifetime. There is a list of awards and prizes he received on his Wikipedia entry, including the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. For five years he was also Professor of Poetry at Oxford University.

I began making these short reviews in my online reading journal when I started to read Heaney this summer. This may account for some of their tone. In many ways I do not offer them as some sort of comprehensive review – I only attempt to capture the main part of my reaction to what I read there. I intend to work my way through all of Heaney’s poetry, it has been fascinating and inspiring so far…

His first collection Death of a Naturalist was such a high standard to set. A partial reread for me. I did try it once in my twenties and I’m ashamed to say I did not ‘get it’ like I did this time. My reaction was a bit of a ‘so what’ for example to the poem ‘Digging’, a poem which reflects on his own writing process. The reason I love it now is something I had just as much access to then really, except its validation was being snuffed out. A more prosaic sense seemed to govern me then of what it says, but now it’s how it says it. The quality is in the feel.

And having read it I must say I had had several days of Seamus envy, or would that be Heaney envy – there is something I read from this book of a young life with lessons well learned but still able to step out of that and apply them to personal life and lessons and creative originality. I suppose indirectly I have a sadness for my own sidetracks at such an age that left me oblivious to what I could see and feel in front of my face, if I had just realised that I already knew what was important.

Another aspect of the envy is to do with his clarity, thanks to those lessons and also in his application. I’m embracing form and meter more at present, have been doing so for some time. Heaney turns out poem after poem here that are lessons to me, lessons of the highest sort that go beyond the technique to dance with originality.

Something I picked up strongly from Death of a Naturalist was his emotional maturity or maybe even his own seeking for it, or acceptance of it. In the poem ‘Twice shy’ he speaks of a fledgling romance (with the woman who became his future wife). These lines about emotional maturity in relationship struck me:

“ . . .
A vacuum of need
Collapsed each hunting heart
But tremulously we held
As hawk and prey apart,
Preserved classic decorum,
Deployed our talk with art.

Our juvenilia
Had taught us both to wait,
Not to publish feeling
And regret it all too late –
Mushroom loves already
Had puffed and burst in hate.

So, chary and excited
As a thrush linked on a hawk,
We thrilled to the March twilight
With nervous childish talk:
Still waters running deep
Along the embankment walk.“

The middle verse clearly speaks to me, from a writer publishing his first collection, a comment on juvenilia and the benefit of guarding feelings that may otherwise gush and somehow lose their meaning, of waiting. However it is in the context of the verses before and after, as he then uses it as a metaphor for this relationship.

It hits me in relation to writing especially as I am working towards publishing a pamphlet, having not published except through the internet. After experimenting with writing in meter in the last year so I find myself drawn to embracing form, with more appreciation of classicism and perhaps of refining that first gush.

This is a big step for me, though in many ways not new to me. For all my poor Latin at school I did learn quite a bit about meter. Yet I was woefully unpracticed at it and it was not part of how I started to write – and I still very much value that creative spark that does not need to be formalised (and also want to be careful I do not formalise myself into loss of originality maybe, or art perhaps). So it’s a surprise to me to be so open to it now – and embracing what it may give me, a coastline to the sea of creativity.

I’m now going to work through Heaney in order of publication I hope. I’ve already reread much of this collection again and will do so many times I am sure. It is full of wonderful poems that yes invite learning, but more importantly step beyond that into a dialogue with life, a sharing of life, of creativity, of pain and of happier times and any envy I felt has dissipated, it calls me to focus though, on what is important to me and what he showed is possible"

Heaney, Seamus (2009-02-19). Death of a Naturalist, Faber and Faber.
The Kindle Edition is available on Amazon for £5.39

Posted by Colin Hambrook, 9 October 2013

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 9 October 2013

Wendy Young wants to help Kensal Rise Library and finds some interesting history about Mark Twain and Nikolai Tesla

Tesla being the unsung 'father of electricity' and Mark Twain being a good human being they did meet and a picture is attached of MT in NT's lab!......I'm sure I don't have explain what a catastrophe losing local libraries is, unless you are for the Tesco type hyperlibrary we are being offered. 

Kensal Rise was opened by MARK TWAIN and I was inspired to write this poem in honour of him and the libary which served me well as a haven and sancutary when I needed it.  It's shameful to hear successful people who used libraries themselves saying that they're not prepared to 'waste' council tax on libraries because there isn't a need for them now as there's the internet etc. 

It shouldn't be a surprise as this same idiotic woman on a certain commercial London radio station also said she couldn't believe that during the 84-85 miners strike people survived with the help of soup kitchens. I can vouch that they did (being from a mining village in South Yorks) and the fact amazing people from Belgium who sent clothes, food etc would probably shock her too!!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.....for some hanging's too good!

Anyway, it seems I have repeated the poem at the end but decided to leave it be as it is a recurring theme.

Ne’er the twain shall meet …with cuts!
Mark Twain
Lain
In his grave
A hundred years
Would turn
To learn
The library he opened
In 1900 when people had nothing
Would be Cut
In the 21st century
By people who know
The price of everything
And the value of nothing!
Not anticipating (or caring) what the ultimate price will be!

Mark Twain
Lain
In his grave
A hundred years
Would turn
To learn
The library he opened
In 1900when people had nothing
Would
be
CUT
In the 21st century
By people who know
The price of everything
And the value of nothing!
Not anticipating (or caring) what the ultimate price will be!

 

Posted by Survivors Poetry, 4 October 2013

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 8 October 2013

Wendy Young has started this about 10 times...how do I say LISTEN

..because no matter how many times I have tried, I end up with mud on my face, threats, dismayed, disheartened, lost, alone.  All because I keep my trap shut and when I open it, the truth comes out.  So what else can I do but express myself in a poem..but is it myself, am I expressing someone else?  Am I just asking for trouble?  It's serious but I can't help a flippant title!

Gruffalo Soldier

You

Nephew

No higher

Than a

Terracotta warrior

And half my age

Round on me

Like a legion of Roman soldiers

And tell me

That I’m

Unhinged!

You, nephew

Who grew up

In positivity

Who knew who you were

Coz my brother had learnt

By then

Right from wrong

And from me to you

Nephew

Your Auntie's and yours

obituary will be

What a bitch you were to me.

 

Posted by Survivors Poetry, 5 September 2013

Anthony Hurford posts a poem concerning the difficulties of embodiment

I had an idea to write something about incarnation and gathered some phrases, but didn’t think I really had something, especially as it’s a big thing others have definitely done – but then I thought I’d give my partial view a go and this is how its taken its own form.

Incarnation

Born, this is the meat of it,
the meta too for some.
This feast of flesh.
Which way does it go, control,
flesh to spirit, or spirit flesh.
A balance must be struck, you say.
Yet the dreams of the body are relentless,
so much time spent over this temple’s ownership.
A war, it can be, no less.
God, gods, demons or some conflict that makes sense.
Written into flesh and flesh to self,
I’ve cycled through human forms, ideas
of myself, poses struck, a life cycle of
Dante-esque mug shots for God, GPS stamped
holistically for judgement, and my own
and the last laugh, that of others,
who’ll join the feast upon yourself
with their set menu,
as if they knew.

Posted by Colin Hambrook, 4 September 2013

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 5 September 2013

Wendy Young isn't feeling groovy...family issues make her gloomy...speaking out kicks you out but.....

'to be silent is to die' - so sayeth a wise flamenco singer in Seville (BBC4 Sunday 9pm) but parents, siblings and extended have killed my duende.  I learned some flamenco and seeing this programme just fired me up, however, 'MY KNEES, WON'T LET ME'.  However, performing poetry does give me a sense of being 'alive' and if only my family were communicative......in the right way.

My father should have been a flamenco singer

His shouts echo in yells by a gypsy father

Calling

The primal screams he bellowed in drunkenness

Revealed by brothers in cuadro, duelling with drums and compás

The cries for his mother who died in pain

Is the Baile of solea performed by a vain black suited soul, stamping out the misery that could take over his life

The cherries my father spat out

Are the stones of life procured in the flamenco dancer’s planta…his lineage carrying on the performance

Twisted feet, clapping hands, stamping heels, fighting talk.

 

 

Posted by Survivors Poetry, 29 August 2013

Wendy Young and Dave Russell and John Cooper Clarke and high brow bollox

"Do you feel some poetry events appear highbrow and intellectual and pretentious....don't be put off!" were my mentor Dave Russell's wise words that went through my head after doing an open mic where my stuff didn't seem to fit in... even the whoops and applause I got for Celebacy seemed insignificant for my second round... I think I'm threatened by the 'show, don't tell' mob.

Then I got home and John Cooper Clarke was speaking to me through the airwaves.  Made me feel better hearing his down to earth voice, words, poetry.  Bless him (and Dave Russell).

All my fears of being a 'worthy' poet and the attitude that is prevalent at 'high brow' events' and 'that there is poetry elite who undermine creativity' (thanks Colin Hambrook) came to pass, as people just seem to stare or look at me like, 'are you alright?' Probably not!!  Also, being advised to do courses in 'poetry in progress' by expensive course companies just pushes me back. The poem below did get whoops and cheers from the ordinary folk but the air from the 'establishment' was not too responsive. Do I keep going back and bothering them? Or do I give in and write about the quintessence of nothingness when I reach for the bottle?

Celebacy
Skinny minny miny me
I feel so very tiny in me
Jeans - so tight
Is me bum too big in 'em?
Please say no!  I can hardly breathe!
And me Levi thighs - are they bulgin' outa them?
Please say no 'cause
I so pushed and shoved in ‘em
And me skinny rib top - are me breasts too full in it?
Please say no, that me body's so lithe 'cause
I wanna be a skinny minny model but....
Big titty fill up me top so you see more o' me
you know wha' ar' mean?
In me breast jugging arse hugging thigh tugging 
Long limbed lovely haired cat walking all of me?
Well, most of me... there's always my mind
Is it mine? Or is it yours?
Please say no - that I'm all there
'cause I wanna be intelligent
Have me own show and interview celebrities
But me thoughts don't always come collectively
I get me words mixed up ‘n’ like, I thought a diphthong
Was to hold me cheeks together!
It was speed then smack and just a bit of LSD
What with a few lines from Charlie – I thought he was an angel
Then he seduced me with his ecstasy
Fucked me up the arse! ‘cause when he
Looked at me top – me breasts weren’t full in it
‘n’ me arse hanging jeans – no problem gettin’ into ‘em
No spare flesh – to push and shove in ‘em
Just me
And my bones
And a noose round me neck
So scrawnee ..nee….KNEES!
I’ve still got them
Well patellas protruding
Into the stratosphere
Like Sophie Ellis Bector’s cheekbones – maybe I’ll live there – in the air so clear!
Skinny minny miny me
It’s where I belong in me
Own little universe
So full of just
ME!

© Wendy Young (written first 2001 as Jumping Jiminy and revised 2013)

 

Posted by Survivors Poetry, 20 August 2013

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 23 August 2013

Wendy Young woke to a ring of pink hue and was taken aback, on discovering mornings were great

Sigh, July, Why?

You see a pink circle of light

Surrounding the City

Reminding you when you felt whole at last

Raking a cotton field in the Haifa Valley

Feeling part of it all

Surrounded by the hills

And watching the sun rise like a giant pink grapefruit

Spreading and colouring the earth

At last waking up - it only took 20 years!

Good to be alive until the humidity hits

And you sink into a drenched sweaty office

Praying the cool morning will stay - like you did back then - trying to make time stand still

Make it beautiful

Make you whole like the fruit you picked

Mysterious gift of light that woke you up

Not needing the two Woolworth savage alarm clocks

To save you from being kicked off the kibbutz

Sigh, July, Why?

Because I’ve been fighting to stay up ever since .

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Survivors Poetry, 30 July 2013

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 31 July 2013

Dave Russell introduces an eloquent poem by Wilma Robertson on the prejudices faced by people with ME

This is is the fullest expression of the problems of ME I have encountered in poetic form. Though it is a widespread phenomenon, it is played down by the medical profession. It is often dismissed by the general public as hypochondria, as an excuse to avoid activity and responsibility. In the poem, Wilma emphasises the point that many people with ME are dedicated, hard-working souls who shirk nothing. 'Thoughts' gives articulation to the marginalised and silenced

Thoughts
Sometimes we feel uncertain and unsure of everything,
Afraid to make decisions – dreading what the day will bring,
We keep wishing it were possible to dispel all fear and doubt,
And to understand more readily what life is all about
 
We feel so lost and lonely, so tired out and confused,
It’s not just a state of mind though, our bodies feel bashed and bruised,
They say, “Be strong for your family!” or “Remember how lucky you are!”
Oh please don’t make us feel more guilty; for we’ve pain enough by far.
 
Broken legs are more visible; the discomfort’s there to see,
But if it’s not obviously physical – such as depression or M.E.
The person may look healthy with no outward sign of pain,
But inside they are aching with fatigue, guilt and shame.
 
The people with these illnesses are the ones who won’t say “NO”,
Who go to the aid of others – active, always on the go.
But one thing about these folk – they’re seldom heard complaining,
Because the nature of their ills might be considered feigning.
 
So please don’t jump to judge us and say rather martyrly,
“Oh I just have to struggle on; bed is not the place for me”,
“We all get tired sometimes, can’t lie down at every whim”,
Implying we are weak willed and enjoying being grim.
 
They think we are looking for sympathy and say, “It’s all in the mind”,
“You need something else to think about; new interests you must find”,
“Keep going and you won’t feel tired”, Oh give us all some credit,
This type of attitude upsets me so that this bit, “*********” I had to edit.
 
They don’t see the struggle we face to overcome,
Everyday simple chores which seem so easy to some,
But there are days when even lifting the kettle or walking from room to room
Takes such physical effort – honestly, there’s more life in an old broom.
 
To know how active we once were seems so long now in the past,
Just a few will know the problems of everyday routine tasks.
These people suffer in Silence saying little of their plight.
Few will ever know, as I do, fatigue felt not just at night.
 
A fatigue which sleep does not allay;
You wake shattered every day.
This is a real illness of chemistry
Not just some mood swing from which one can snap free,
Feeling sorry for ourselves is not par for the course,
Though others just might think so – their opinion of course.
 
Someone is always caring although at times that’s hard to do!
It’s the quietness or their sharing that will mean so much to you,
True friends in times of trouble are the ones, who are sincere,
Who don t mind the tears and self-doubt, because they understand your fear.
 
Your energy will at last return, your thoughts once more be clear.
Don't give up just yet; you’ll lose that awful fear.
We gain one thing from experience
Of an illness, which has shattered,
Our ‘good days’ are used to their fullest, and not carelessly scattered,
 
You will emerge from this much stronger and more understanding too,
Of others who in times of trouble may need you – YES YOU!!!
When you see somebody quiver, PLEASE curb the urge to say,
“Come on pull yourself together”, because this could be YOU someday                               
©  1988 Wilma RobertsonSometimes we feel uncertain and unsure of everything,
Afraid to make decisions – dreading what the day will bring,
We keep wishing it were possible to dispel all fear and doubt,
And to understand more readily what life is all about
 
We feel so lost and lonely, so tired out and confused,
It’s not just a state of mind though, our bodies feel bashed and bruised,
They say, “Be strong for your family!” or “Remember how lucky you are!”
Oh please don’t make us feel more guilty; for we’ve pain enough by far.
 
Broken legs are more visible; the discomfort’s there to see,
But if it’s not obviously physical – such as depression or M.E.
The person may look healthy with no outward sign of pain,
But inside they are aching with fatigue, guilt and shame.
 
The people with these illnesses are the ones who won’t say “NO”,
Who go to the aid of others – active, always on the go.
But one thing about these folk – they’re seldom heard complaining,
Because the nature of their ills might be considered feigning.
 
So please don’t jump to judge us and say rather martyrly,
“Oh I just have to struggle on; bed is not the place for me”,
“We all get tired sometimes, can’t lie down at every whim”,
Implying we are weak willed and enjoying being grim.
 
They think we are looking for sympathy and say, “It’s all in the mind”,
“You need something else to think about; new interests you must find”,
“Keep going and you won’t feel tired”, Oh give us all some credit,
This type of attitude upsets me so that this bit, “*********” I had to edit.
 
They don’t see the struggle we face to overcome,
Everyday simple chores which seem so easy to some,
But there are days when even lifting the kettle or walking from room to room
Takes such physical effort – honestly, there’s more life in an old broom.
 
To know how active we once were seems so long now in the past,
Just a few will know the problems of everyday routine tasks.
These people suffer in Silence saying little of their plight.
Few will ever know, as I do, fatigue felt not just at night.
 
A fatigue which sleep does not allay;
You wake shattered every day.
This is a real illness of chemistry
Not just some mood swing from which one can snap free,
Feeling sorry for ourselves is not par for the course,
Though others just might think so – their opinion of course.
 
Someone is always caring although at times that’s hard to do!
It’s the quietness or their sharing that will mean so much to you,
True friends in times of trouble are the ones, who are sincere,
Who don t mind the tears and self-doubt, because they understand your fear.
 
Your energy will at last return, your thoughts once more be clear.
Don't give up just yet; you’ll lose that awful fear.
We gain one thing from experience
Of an illness, which has shattered,
Our ‘good days’ are used to their fullest, and not carelessly scattered,
 
You will emerge from this much stronger and more understanding too,
Of others who in times of trouble may need you – YES YOU!!!
When you see somebody quiver, PLEASE curb the urge to say,
“Come on pull yourself together”, because this could be YOU someday                               
©  1988 Wilma Robertson

Posted by Colin Hambrook, 30 July 2013

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 6 August 2013

Wendy Young was blown away by Time Attendant and Sarah Angliss at the Horse Hospital on Friday...

Oh what a night Friday 20th July 2013!  I was blown away by Time Attendant who seems to have a link to my solar plexus...I bought his EP on the night and 2nd track 1st side (Wisteria Albion) made me cry, it's music to die to.  Sarah Angliss is a robotic and music electronica personifica!  In the cosy atmosphere of the Horse Hospital I felt at home watching her play a multitude of instruments (including a saw), operate robots and do a sweet version of Popcorn by Hot Butter through her Ealing Feeder. 

I did get worried I was OTT when I met both TA and SA  and ended, of course, finding a poem and putting 1+1 together as I sat in awe of these people. 

Shocks Away - the beginning of the breath that was lost

I get excited when I meet my heroes

It's like the man I called 'dad'

pierced my brain

when he had his way

blew my mind into space

and particles of me

my brain

my psyche

hover o'er black holes

 

(c) wendy young

Posted by Survivors Poetry, 22 July 2013

Anthony Hurford shares his experience of Survivors' Poetry

I’ve always loved poetry, but have been woefully bad at knowing that, not to mention getting to know it. In fact part of my survivor journey has been about realising I love it and how important it is to me. Mad eh? Some people around me dismissed it and my liking for it, and most of the people that didn’t seemed quite clear that it might be beyond me – not everyone - but then it gets complicated, my lack of connection to it may be part of how I came to be a Survivor.

Anyway, I did start to get it. Then sometime after my surviving the mental health system began I trained as a counsellor, basically in a very Person Centred department (outrageously closed by the University it sat in shortly after I completed) and informed by other humanistic approaches – there is a lot that could be said about the link between such therapy and poetry. This is one of the very best things I ever did and easily my most satisfying educational experience. Totally unexpectedly whilst I completed my research I found I could not sleep one night until I had written down a line that had come to me and then I started to play to make a poem. Not great as a poem, some nice lines, a bit of a pastiche of a poem from someone that was pretty badly read of poetry and had not given a thought to poetics; I’ve never been able to change it, to make it more publishable or acceptable or refined. When I completed my research I made straight for my first poetry class, everything seemed possible. Then reality hit, ill health returned.

This is where Survivors’ Poetry came in. When my confidence to attend classes in person fell, the SP online Forum was a lifeline I came to grasp more and more firmly. Whilst I had felt full of creativity that also diminished, I don’t think I wrote anything for a year at one point, but I could check in with the forum, read others attempts, and I started to share some poems I had already written.
Having come to writing poems via counselling and my mental health experiences lead me to value creativity and just that act of attempting – damn the results, damn what is seen as good poetry, just try… sometimes I need to remind myself of this. As my poems become refined I want to remember that, what it means, self expression, despite and sometimes because of.

Earlier this year I wrote a short piece summarising my few poems that feel quite complete and said that in some ways my were a dialogue with myself about ‘what is a poem’… and again I don’t really want to know the answer to this. I hope I never do, but I can be tempted to start to feel I have an idea. (I just learned the term ‘wind-egg’ yesterday, from Wikipedia, not from actually reading about Socrates… but I like this strange phrase, it does exactly what it needs to – wind-egg being a theory or feeling). So when I have an idea I think it’s probably a wind-egg - the poem is in the feeling perhaps, beyond 'wind-eggness'. Survivors’ Poetry is of course a great reminder and force for the importance of this self expression – and it blew on the flame of my own writing during my struggle, still does.

The feedback I got on the forum from Simon Jenner, and the exchanges and example set by fellow Survivors were a lifeline – and also not only as a writer that struggles to write authentically, as seems our lot, but struggles to write authentically about stuff that really a lot of people would prefer is not said. Despite all my counselling and support through my friends in that field, the forum, the example of others and the recognition of others helped me see that it is possible to be open. The only drawback about the forum is that sometimes people are slow to respond, at present the traffic can be small, and I think given the nature of our issues a lot of us are reluctant to say much in response to others. But when we do interact, when you are a long way from any groups, it is so helpful, sustaining. Get the hint?

I’ve mentioned Simon Jenner’s feedback – his short responses to some of my poems (silence to others can speak volumes at times) consistently got my poems in an encouraging and generous way. My experience of groups had never given me such full attention and detailed reaction. In fact I may not have so openly started to examine some very personal issues if it had not been for Survivors’ – for all my counselling training. 

More recently I sent Simon some poems he had not seen and having learned about their mentoring scheme asked if he thought applying may be a good idea. He and Survivors’ were positive and I gave it a go. Part of this also came from a decision. I’ve never tried to publish, to do so is part of myself testing out some of my fears. I can still be unsure. But then I have made very slow progress – I tend to write when something really hits me. I am bad at sitting and trying. Simon has been patient, so have Survivors’ in general.

It was good last August to be able to meet him and Roy Birch and Andrew in the office (I live some way from London and am remote from Survivors’ groups). Simon has continued the listening he had done with my poems to listen to me in many a phone call and my discovery of poetry. He’s encouraged that reading which I have worked quite hard at widening (and by attending adult education classes (a massive thank you to the North East Centre of Lifelong Learning in all of this and their literature and writing courses. It is sad that this excellent scheme has been given the chop just in the last two weeks). Simon continues to encourage me, to listen and talk in a way that is rare to find.

We’re aiming at a pamphlet – part of me will still believe this when I see it, this is not the sort of thing that happens to me. I am a good part of the way there and growing further into writing more. Much thanks to Survivors’ Poetry for providing a forum for others as well to say things that are often so hard to say even in supportive groups. Here is a poem I put onto Survivors’ forum and took down saying it was rot, to have Simon post it back and set me right about that, in a generous way.

Beginning

Sometimes I feel
my lines uncover
my humanity
That I stop
where sanity begins
Nothing special
just remedial

Now that’s clear
let me begin

Posted by Colin Hambrook, 21 July 2013

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 4 September 2013

Wendy Young is thinking of her mother's dignity, the dignity of nature and wants to share a poem about her late Mother, Jenny, inspired by a robin singing in the darkness against all odds...

...who fought and fought but in the end was let down..I wish I could have her back to tell her how amazing she was.

A Bird in the Dark

As I walked home from familiar
Hospital grounds, sounds
of thrilling song, stopped me in my tracks

Echoing all around
Holding me in awe was
A little bird so vulnerable
But clever to hide
And strong enough to drown
Hospital trolleys
Striking stone floors
And the shouts of a teenager so into himself
Hidden in a tree
Singing above it all
Little bird you reminded me
Of  Mother
Who sang out of tune
Deaf to shouts of
‘shaddup Jenny Wren yer can’t sing’
She’d carry on
Washing up
Looking out of the window
Thinking of who knows what?
The son she lost
The daughter she lost
The life she lost
The love she lost
The figure she lost
The teeth she lost
The blood she lost
The sparkle she lost
The mother she lost
The light in her life she lost
The notes she lost
The dream she lost
The hearing she lost
The child within her and the humour she never lost
Even beyond  the hope that she lost
And like the little bird – feisty and resilient little survivor
Moving from safe woodland to prying houses
Wanting mates but putting up barriers to keep out love
Trusting too much but pounced by feline stealth
Adapting was her folly
Perishing when the cold set in
Using energy to find love again
Your song your battle cry
Using up vital stores to fight and defend your patch
But not recognising friendly neighbours – your deafness robbed you of that
Your chest was your higher perch to stand your ground
Your fight off was misread as want
Because you never knew when you would be needed and then left
Causing your heart to harden then tears to fall
When you thought you’d lost them all

Posted by Survivors Poetry, 16 July 2013

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 21 July 2013