This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit

Disability Arts Online

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... / 16 July 2013

...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