The Road to Dabaad

Here is a poem I wrote about the victims of the terrible famine in Somalia trying to make their way to the Dabaad refugee camp in Kenya. My niece Ingrid has been in the camp trying to organise the delivery of 2000 shelter boxes www.shelterbox.org I am so proud of her.

Anyway here’s the poem.


The Road to Dabaad.


The path there is long,

stumble on…


this dry acrid track.

Don’t look back!

Withered grass

crumbles and mingles

with the dust of those passed.

Darkness surrounds –

A thick searing shroud

of African sun


Bleaching life.

Bleaching bones.

Bleaching hope.


On such a scope

that we at home




cannot atone


switch off


from frail

stick brittle bundles.

Tears of flies

In forgotten eyes,


Blistered life.

Blistered bones.

Blistered hope.


The road there is long

With the dead

looking on…

on… on…

The stench of pain;

The grief of flight.

The right to regain


New life.

New bones.

New hope.

I was reading Stevie Smiths Poem Not Waving but Drowning when I heard the sad and shocking news of the death of Amy Winehouse. This poem was the result of the two things getting tangled together.

Link to Stevie Smiths poem http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/not-waving-but-drowning/

Amy – Waving or Drowning?


They told me you were waving not drowning.

They say she’s a mess?

Oh! but that’s just the press

Yeah! She’s waving not drowning.


They said she’s waving not drowning.

Look at her money.

Look at her talent.

Look at her voice.

She must be waving not drowning.


Is she waving or drowning?

She’s waving.

See how the kids are all waving back,

raving like crazy,

like they’ve all taken smack.

Maybe they’re drowning?

And she’s waving back.


She’s waving goodbye

and drowning her sorrow.

Drowning out the damn pain

she won’t feel tomorrow.

Don’t say she was waving

This was her last refrain.


Waving or Drowning?

In the end it’s the same,

If no-one can see,

there’s no-one to blame.

My Garden

I love to work in my garden and at this time of year it’s at its most delightful, with the swallows swooping and diving overhead, and mother woodpecker feeding her young the nuts from the hanger.

I have a series of raised beds, making it easier for me to work from the wheelchair.

Here is a poem I wrote about it. It  is a study of alliteration and rhyme.

View from the vegetable patch (taken by my daughter Beckie)

My Garden

In the dappled dusk of evening,

In summers sultry sun,

In autumns faded aging,

And winters wild and numb.


In the soft sunshine of spring time,

In the wild and windy night,

In the overgrown orchard,

Full of fresh fruit and delight.


In the bright blue of a bluebell,

In the freshness of it’s flower,

In the dampening dew at daybreak,

Through each and every hour.


In the twirling of a tendril,

In the fragile ferns young frond,

In the rampant rambling roses,

Through the trellis and beyond.


In the rich, soft, crumbling soil,

In the planting of a pea,

In the crickets chequered chirping,

Beneath the old oak tree.


In the pastel pink of petals,

In the dancing daisies play,

In the shady silent places,

Where the moistened mosses stay.


In the bright and blooming bustle,

In the colours crystal clear,

In the chirrup of a chaffinch,

Perched in the pear tree near.


In the beauty of a butterfly,

In the falling of a leaf,

In the clambering clinging ivy,

Which the beetles live beneath.


In the lovely lilac lavender,

In it’s dreamy drowsy scent,

In the hot house and herb bed,

Surely Heaven sent.


In my glorious gorgeous garden,

In my heart it’s healing me,

From the tangled twisted torture,

It has finally set me free.

Between Two Nowheres

It appeared in the night sky.

A thin bright streak of light,

a slash across the heavens,

instantly healed.

It came from nowhere.


For a few brief seconds

I stood in awe.

I would have missed it

had my gaze been on the ground.

No-one else saw.


Except a small child

who pointed skyward,

eyes alight and bright.

It came and vanished.

From nowhere to nowhere.

A very short, plump…festively plump, lady comes pootling down the lane. Hanging on to her and chattering incoherently and incessantly are two small boys,

‘Auntie Anne! Auntie Anne! I think I saw the dragon over there’


‘Over there! Look you can see it’s fire’

‘Oh my goodness boys, Have you got your swords ready? Are we ready to do battle?’

‘I got mine, it’s really really sharp and it’s got a shoot ray’

‘Wow! Come on then, let’s go…hang on tight!

Auntie Anne’s age is a fluctuating reality.  Today she is four and a half, full of energy and fighting dragons, tomorrow she could well be ninety-nine, tired, run down, struggling to stand, dependant and in pain! Her Nintendo tells her she’s twenty-six, and in her heart that’s how old she is; however as Elizabeth Bennett would say with regard to her age ‘your ladyship can hardly expect me to own it’… with two grown daughters  neither can Anne! However in reality she’s about halfway between her two extremes, and is comfortable with that.

One incident divides her life between ‘before’ and ‘after’, one crazy incident nine years ago, when a wannabe racer lost control of his car at speed and crashed into hers; exploding life as she knew it. Crushing, fracturing, splintering legs and knees; her ‘before’ incarnations of Psychiatric Occupational Therapist and Adult Education Tutor torn away in a few short seconds.

After the bleak, battling, struggling years that followed, a simple life is what she wants. She lives this rural ‘idyll’ in the house she and her husband built twenty years ago, they would not be allowed to now, this patch of Somerset has been designated ‘an area of outstanding natural beauty’.

Here are her roots, in this small hamlet she grew up, on the farm down the lane. Here she tends the garden she loves, especially the vegetable plot, which produces an abundant harvest that is pickled or preserved or given away in the summer and autumn.

Here she reads avidly, the classics, contemporary, childrens fiction, fantasy, poetry, anything!

Here she loves to paint, cook, sew, and make; recently two hobby horses made from broomsticks and socks, with button eyes, embroidered bridles and woollen manes, Christmas presents for the two little dragon slayers!

Here with the people she loves most in the all the world, her husband Tom and two beautiful daughters she lives.

Here Tom works as well, a master craftsman, making exquisite furniture and teaching others his skills. Here she supports him; and he her.

The house is full of folk coming and going, friends, family, hoards of youngsters, students having lunch, visitors from far afield, all with their stories to tell.

The home help who spends the year finding little bits and bobs at fêtes, coffee morning and jumble sales to fill Stockings which she takes, on Christmas Eve, to all her clients who live alone.

The Tesco online delivery man who came home from Africa, where he was running a childrens’ charity, to visit his mother, whilst here she had a stroke and now he can’t leave her.

The customer who inhabits a world of high finance, whose wife has left him, and the wood work student who is fighting his dependence on alcohol and drugs.

Then there are the dinners, the lunches, the parties, bar-b-ques and bonfires, film nights, tea and scandal, coffee and cake!

People interest Auntie Anne, She likes them!

Ironically since the accident she has travelled more, she wishes she’d done it in the ‘before’ years, when she was not confined to a wheelchair and elbow crutches, and leaving the safe zone was never daunting or worrying, but purely exciting and wonderful. She misses a lot of things…mostly dancing, but she’s discovered more in herself than she’s lost. One recent discovery is writing! A course embarked on for fun, leading to an amazing and shocking discovery that she might be able to write and even more amazing, some people might want to read what she’s written!

No time for that at the moment though, She has a dragon to slay and treasure to find!

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