Breathe…

Breathe, said the river as it whispered to the sea
Something is happening, the cowslip is growing free
Bees are feasting on the broom, a delicious yellow delight
Happy in their busy dance, what a wondrous sight
Birds surveying the landscape in noisy melody
Observing all the changes as he flies from tree to tree
And the mountains echo as the hawk and eagle soar
The beasts, the deer’s the elephants, gave a triumphant roar
Breathe whispered the estuary as it washed into the sea
Look at the fishes dancing, oh so merrily
The crabs the sharks the jellyfish, maintain their habitat
No longer caught in the destruction of man, and all that came with that
but as the mist is lifting, like a bride to be’s veil
We see the glorious beauty, of a world that never fails
Just as mother nature, intended it to be
Her creation will provide enough for the likes of you and me
For a while she was raging and her arteries were blocked
Choking, coughing spewing and dying with toxic shock
So breathe said the wind, as it sent out clean fresh air
The people get the message and now they’re feeling scared
Let’s hope they remember the devastation caused
As they watch the planet breathe again, when they were put on pause

The Oscars…..

Not many of us expect to be talking about our ‘final wishes’ at a young age. That is usually for the very rich or the very old, who make provisions for what is to happen to them at ‘the end’. This pandemic may give us all a different view on that now.

I was thinking about the Oscars, I don’t know why, because I never watch them fully, but I do sometimes watch the edited highlights.  I watch as the camera pans to the celebrity that has been nominated, all of them tentatively smiling, looking coy or bashful, but hopeful that they will win the Oscar.  One of them will read the speech which they had prepared, in the hope that they might win.  So many potential speeches waiting to be read, full of thanks and praise for many, including their loved ones

We are currently going through a pandemic; this time it has the full attention of the world.  When it was the Bird Flu, or SARS or even Ebola, the whole world didn’t quite take note as they are now.  I myself, carried on as normal at that time, thinking ‘it won’t happen to me’ and I am sure there are many people who thought the way I did then.

This time it is a different story.  This time the virus is spreading like wildfire and like other viruses, it does not discriminate against age, sex, race, disability, marital status or religion.  This one is abiding by the Equality Act and each of us must take note.

We have all become accustomed, at this stage, to know what ‘Social distancing’ ‘wash your hands’ lockdown’ and PPE mean.   It has become part of our everyday dialect and vocabulary.  My 3-year-old beautiful grand-daughter calls it the ‘Virusy’ and wonders when it will go away so that she can give me a hug again.  How I long for it to be over now, so I can give her and my 3 other grandchildren a big squeezey hug.  I cannot answer her with certainty, no-one can.   Instead we have to ‘make do’ with the occasional ‘window visit’.

What I do know is that the longer people flout the rules and don’t engage in social distancing, washing hands, remaining in lockdown or having the required PPE, the longer this virus will dance with us and pick us off one by one and none of us will know for sure, if we will survive it. 

From healthcare workers to people on the street, Actors, models and even the UK Prime minster, young, old and in between people are contracting this virus and people are dying.  It’s like a lottery, people are chosen at random but there are no winners, only losers.  Sure lots of people will get over it and survive, but with what long lasting damage to their lungs?  Others, not so lucky to survive.

This brings me to the Oscars.  What if you get it?  You don’t know if you will survive it.   You have to be prepared.  You have to have your ‘speech’ ready.  You have to tell your loved ones, not only that you love them, that you will miss them, that you don’t want to leave them, you have to tell them what they have to do with you, if you do indeed, leave them. 

Some families only think about having to bury their elderly relatives, but this virus can take any of us and we need to let our families know, what and how we would like to happen to us at the end.  Whether that is to be cremated or buried.  Whether it is to be repatriated home if you live/work in another country or indeed which graveyard to be buried in.  Is this morbid, no I don’t think so.  It is necessary.  Not everyone has made a Will.  Talk to your loved ones, let them know what you would like to happen to you, ‘just in case’ you are the one. 

Write your closing speech.  Your speech of acceptance, in the event that it is you.  Write it in a letter.   Tell your parents, your siblings, your children, your grandchildren, your friends.  Tell whomever is dear to you, what they mean to you, in your closing speech.  Be prepared.  You may never get this virus and the letter will then never have to be read out, just like the nominees at the Oscars, they go home with their unread speeches if they didn’t win.  You get to keep your letter if you are lucky enough to not contract this virus.

In the meantime, follow the rules to slow the spread and flatten the curve.  Keep our Healthcare workers as safe as possible, by staying home.  Allow them to not to have to be crushed by an overwhelming workload, in these extraordinary circumstances, and often, without the proper PPE.   Give them some respect.  If you do not stay home and follow the rules you are risking their lives as well as your own.  They already have enough of a burden to bear, being in the midst of this pandemic and watching people suffer and die on a daily basis.  Please do not add to their burden unnecessarily.

Take care, stay safe, stay home and give your ‘speech’ some thought as well as your wishes. 

I hope they’re not ugly

When ugly is more than what the eye perceives. Ugly comes in many disguises

Authors own…. dancing in the shadows

I hope they are not ugly….

What does that say about me?  What do I mean?  I don’t know really.  When I signed up to take in other people’s children and when I would get the phone call from the social worker asking me if I would take in someone, ‘I hope they’re not ugly’ would always spring to mind.

Rewind to years before I ever became a foster carer but to a time when a seed was planted.  Working on placement whilst studying law, with young offenders in a secure unit I was horrified that they were so young and yet were locked up due to their ‘behaviour’.  Having read their files, I was more appalled at the level of neglect they had received from their significant care givers.  I knew then whose behaviour was uglier. 

Through this placement my path crossed with foster carers, caring for a very pretty little baby girl.  My heart broke.  My 2-year-old was safe at home and surrounded by a loving family.  The seed was truly planted.

When my 2-year-old was 15 I took in my first child.  It was to be for 2 weeks.  Having been given some of the back ground, it was with nervousness, excitement and even a little bit of trepidation that I agreed.  Not only wondering how this would all go, she was also the same age as my 15-year-old, I would try to imagine how she would look, based purely on the information I was given about her circumstances.

In total I have fostered 13 children over the last 15 years and none have them have been ‘ugly’.  But what does that even mean.  Ugly can be determined in different ways can’t it

The dictionary definition is: –

  1. unpleasant or repulsive, especially in appearance
  2. involving or likely to involve violence or other unpleasantness

At times, over the years, there has been an element of ugliness with regard to unpleasantness, bad or undesirable behaviour.  There have been challenges, battles, disagreements and it doesn’t necessarily come from the ‘child’ who has been fostered.

I have had battles with school teachers, my own biological children, social workers, my husband, family of origin members, my family members and of course, the children themselves. 

I had wanted to foster children between the ages of 0 to 10, because at the time, my youngest children (twins) were 10 years old.  I wanted all of my children to be older.  As I said, the first child which was placed with me was 15, the same age as my oldest child.

As the two-week period came and went, turning into six months, things eventually became difficult during this period of adjustment, for my oldest child felt that her ‘life’ as she knew had been completely changed and taken over.  She had to share her home, her school, her friends, her mum and dad, with this new girl.  There was nowhere for her to ‘escape’ apart from her own bedroom.  It was junior cert year and it was a difficult time.  She felt for the girl and her circumstances, but was that really her concern, she was after all, just a kid herself and didn’t really need that sort of responsibility, did she?   Wasn’t she already dealing with enough transitioning into and through teenage hood?  So at times, it got ugly. The twins however, felt differently because to them, it was just another older sister.  She didn’t impact on their friends, their after school activities or their school life. 

Even now 15 years later, we are in touch with this girl.  Lots of other children have made a way into our lives and most have stayed a part of it too.  Fostering is not an easy task by any means, because there are many different angles, perspectives, personalities, dynamics, challenges and ugliness.  There is however, also a sense of joy, a sense of satisfaction and a sense of hope that you can make a real difference in someone else’s life.  Not only the child that you foster, but actually, your own and your biological children’s life.  It teaches tolerance, respect, understanding, responsibility, sharing, even when they don’t want to and acceptance, even of the ugliness.  It teaches people to grow, to have empathy, and to care, to care enough for someone else, someone who has to deal with the ugly.

Time

What do we do now?

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Too busy to do the things that need to be done

always on the go

doing for others, chasing my tail

no time

til now

time slows to a halt

all is changing

yet, now I fail to do the things that need to be done

realising, there’s more important things

using time instead, to sit

to ponder, reflect

it’s peaceful

it’s calm

time to create

to contemplate, to connect

to be humble

time to stand together

apart

it’s revealing

this matters

to just stay home

this is the thing that needs to be done, now

Mothers

The strong, the weary , the substitute and the absent… you are doing a great job….

 

 

happy mothers day card beside pen macaroons flowers and box near coffee cup with saucer
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Mothers,

once were little girls, dreaming of the beautiful world

in which to make their mark

Cuddling their teddy or little rag doll,

not knowing life could be so stark

for becoming a mother gives feelings like no other

in the lightness and the dark

The fear begins at the very beginning

and seems to never abate

the love so great,  hard to contemplate

how to keep you from ever getting hurt

fear of the unknown as we watch you grow

always on high alert

the bonds that they share with the children they bare

is one, only they can know

they prep and they nurture and try not to hurt ya

as they watch their babies grow

into upstanding adults, as they swim without paddles

when finally, they must let you go

They continue to worry, so try not to hurry

just go about life at your best

It’s hard on your mother, to let you discover as

you seek out and fly from the nest

Some, not so lucky to feel this love or have the same strong bond

you may live with another, not your actual mother,

who will love you and hope you’ll respond

for love it can come, in all shapes and sizes

and mother’s can come in all sorts of guises

it’s the love that matters,  no matter life’s tatters

that brings you into the fold

so on this mothers day, all that I pray

is that ‘I love you’, is what’s being told

 

 

The virus

The virus.. .

As quiet descends, the world makes amends
And begins to heal and renew
Rivers run free and flow to the sea
No sight of a boat or canoe

The fish in Venice, no longer are menaced
By people or gondala alike
Returning to water, where of course they ought to
Since panic and chaos has spiked.

The sun set spectacular, they’ve spoke in the vernacular
To stay in and please comply
There’s no need to panic, it’ll just make you manic
And the price to pay, sky high.

Though some will admire us, in spite if this virus
To plough on an help the sick
Spare a thought for their need, and stop with the greed
Be wise with the choices you pick.

This Covid-19, requires to be clean
If we want it to go away
So go wash your hands, yes that’s what it commands
To keep the death rate at Bay….

© Carrie

Redress….

Watching the program on RTE,:Redress, breaking the silence, I was very sad, angry and upset for the victims. I wrote down words some had used and put them into this poem. For all people of abuse, institutional or otherwise, Keep fighting, keep surviving,

black and white black and white depressed depression
Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

 

Redress

  

What am I?

I ask of you, I ask of me

In the eyes and minds of others, do you see me?

Do we see the trees, in the woods?

The intricacies, the forms and shapes

Each piece, from root to tip

Some of it medicine, some of it poison

What is at the core?

Covered and disguised from and by

Outward appearance

The beauty, the ugly, the refined, the wild

Enclosed, hidden, cocooned, protected?

Still it grows, it lives, it flourishes and survives

It smiles, frowns, laughs and cries

It performs, protects, gives life and reason.

It can multiply, it is duplicitous

It is harmful, outraged, calm

Yet, there is a serenity and purity and no shame or blame

So what do you see…. Me?

Shall I concede, should I?

Is it for me, to redress, to confess the sin, of you, of them

like a virus, I am infected,

I am confident in my trauma

It is cemented in and resides within me

It guards me, it is my shield, My weapon, my curse

My shame?

So please, enlighten me

What am I?

A thing, a tool, a vessel, a release

A scapegoat for your, justice!

Money, a pay check, a sealed envelope to be locked away

75 years

I will be long dead, so tell me

Who is the criminal here?

The long dark despairing days fell on me

On my shoulders, on my soul

Where was or is my protection?

I am here

I live, I breathe, I survived

I will not be hushed or gagged anymore

I will vomit up and release this infection

And you shall set right this wrong

You will hear me when I set it free

Like a bird emerging from the tree tops

Soaring through the air, spreading its wings

Sharing to the world, what I am

I am innocent

I am grown, not a child anymore

I am injured but strong

I am bitter, but I found sweetness

I am cautious, but I am loved

I am not your victim

I am a survivor

I will not be silenced

Suicide and death, I have danced with, entertained and willed

But then you win

I am life, I am loss, I am grief-stricken,

I am decent, I am human

Tell me, what are you?

 

#abuse #redress#survivor 

#sin#justice#criminal#prosecute

#silenced

What changed me as a woman ?

What changed me as a woman

Well first we may go back

In time, for many years, no even more than that

For women have always been viewed

As the fairer but weaker sex

But there’s moments in time and history, 

That we can never forget

In times of segregation, so brutal and so stark

We cannot forget the bravery and strength of Rosa parks

A woman of integrity, who knew to stand her ground

To stand against oppression, now that is quite profound

And what of Joan of Arc, a simple peasant girl

She led the French to Victory, but is known around the world 

Faith and determination is what lead her to act

Only to be burned at the stake, convicted of witchcraft

And what of mother Teresa, she cared for the sick and the poor

She took a vow of obedience, when she heard the call

Devoted her life to helping those who were starving and alone

She strived, battled and defeated, and did it largely on her own

Then of course the suffragettes, Pankhurst was the founder

Jailed and released 11 times, but nothing made her flounder

Gutsy women, one and all, they wouldn’t stay repressed

These women and ALL women are equal and certainly not less

So what changed me as a woman, when I’ve been at ‘suppression hands’

Is to rise and stand and fight right back, cos I am equal to any man

So ladies don’t neglect your worth or feel you’re not deserving

Of parity and equality where your value is worth preserving

So yes we are the fairer sex, in many more ways than one

I think the world would be much better if it were equal since time begun

So teach your sons and daughters to respect their fellow humans

Not colour or creed, not gender or status, should determine how to treat us

Take hope and faith, and courage too with fearless and gritty persuasion

To make a stand, to slam inequality down, and banish it to damnation

©  Carrie

#internationalwomensday

#equality#girlpower

Grief

close up photography of crying woman next inside room
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How can I describe this ‘state’ that I am in?  It is easy to articulate words, adjectives, but that is not the entire picture.  It’s more than that.  For one little word ‘Grief’, means so many different things.  This one syllable word does not translate my ‘state’ of being.

At times, it is all consuming.  A feeling of sadness, deeper than any crevice or hole and the possibility of crawling out seems improbable, unlikely and impossible.  It is seismic, insurmountable, paralizing, yet ‘life goes on’.  That is what they say, and usually, they are right.  Life does indeed go on, but does the grief go away or does that go on too?  Yes, night follows day, time continues to move, people move and the world rotates.  Grief too rotates and I am at the centre of it.  I am the axis for it.  It changes me, or do I change it?

I am in the black hole and I don’t see you, I don’t hear you.  I don’t see or hear anyone.  I am remote.  I am in my thunderous, swirling hurricane and I am spiralling deeper and deeper. I lock myself away.  I curl up in a ball, I am foetal.  I am helpless.  I need an interaction, a distraction.  I need transient nourishment.    The pain is too much.  I am starving with the hunger of needing and wanting you.  I drink in the numbness.  It soothes me.  It entices me to its open arms and cradles me.  It understands my pain and for a while, it takes it away and I am peaceful, blissful, for you are with me again and we are in each-other’s arms.

I see and hear you as you come into view.  I get so excited at the recognition of you.  It’s the most wonderful, warm feeling and it envelops me.  I know you feel it too.  I see it in your face.  I watch your eyes light up, as do mine, and we embrace.  We hold and try to cling on, but then in a cruel twist of fate, you are gone again.    I am alone again, alone in my grief.

Oh people around me tread carefully, offer me the usual platitudes but I know they are getting frustrated with me.  I see it in their eyes, I hear it in their voices.  Their patience is waning and wearing thin.  They expect me to just accept it, this loss, but I cannot, it is beyond my capability to do so.  This grief is a thief of time and presence of normality and ordinary regularity.  I want that too,  more than anything, more than they want it.  What do they know about it?   They say they understand, but they don’t.  How can they?  They didn’t experience this loss.

All I have now are my thoughts and feelings of you.  My memories come and go.  My mind is distorted, somehow it forgets and regresses and then it remembers.  That is when I wish I wasn’t here either.   I just want to be there with you.  Everything is clear and calm and easy there.  Nothing makes sense here.  I try to reason, to rationalise, but it’s just too big to fathom and understand and that is why I crumble and shout and scream.  I’m afraid, I am terrified of ‘what next’?

How can I move on, just like that?  It is not that simple, it’s too complex.  I cannot get used to it, your absence.  I too wish to become absent, nothing else matters.  I will just submit to it.  I invite it and long or it to come and get me.  I wait submissively for the rotation, to bring me back to you.  It is only there that I know who I am.  When I am back there with you, that is normal, that is home, that is me, in my proper ‘state’.  I recognise myself there and I remember who I once was before this decrepitude enslaved me.  I see me clearly with clarity and I am, once again, intoxicated with happiness.   I, somehow made it back, and for a while I am not grieving.  Then, without warning, I disappear abruptly, with wanton abandon and again, find myself surrendering to grief.

Transcend

There’s a war inside me but I must remain calm
Hide vital signs, it will cause untold harm
Carry on doing all sorts of normal
Day to day bullshit keeping it formal
Bury all the secrets, desires and vices
Well hidden from them, cos you know what the price is
Tip toe outside, inhale that fresh air
Drink in the freedom, run if you dare
Dance with the devil, make a pledge with your soul
What is it now?  your ultimate goal
Keeping the peace, has its own pricey deal
Paper over the Cracks  there’s much to conceal
Passion’s in fashion it’s bubbling within
Forever told it’s the ultimate sin
Cavorting and frolicking, sounds like fun
Step out of the clouds and into the sun
Pounding and pumping expressing out loud
Not quietly and meekly, not making a sound
Dancing and drinking, smoking some weed
Walking naked, this body has needs
Take off the shakles and old rusted chains
There’s always tomorrow to start again
Today let this war just come to an end
And this new stage of life, simply transcend
Excess is what teenagers do, pushing the boundaries, rebirthing, anew
Identities are found at this turbulent time
Restless, yet fierce and disturbed of mind
Trying new things, perhaps shooting up
Drinking in life from an overflowing cup
So now it’s my time, I just want to try
I don’t want it all to pass me by
Time to run, set myself free
I spent my life, nurturing family
Go down the path, and out of the gate
Let down your hair, it’s never too late
So what if you shock them for claiming your time
Seeking out fun is not a crime
Your family is grown, their time has come
To start setting boundaries, to be the sensible one
Off you go just flee that empty nest
This life  comes just once, it’s not a test
So break out the chains and end that war
Time for adventure, walk out the door
Whatever it is that you seek or find
Discover the you that you’d left behind
Get rid of the baggage, the accumulated  faults
Your time is now, it’s time to revolt

Caroline Stevens-Taylor © 2020