GRACIE

Image I attended a poetry reading organised by S@ve As Writer’s Group to hear an inspiring poetry reading by poet June English. The reading was to help raise money and awareness for research into the metabolic disorder, Mucolipidosis.  Little Gracie Bella Sims came too, with her parents and grandmother, to warm all our hearts, with the love that surrounded her.  It takes courage to love a baby that may not thrive and will face multiple difficulties from this, thankfully rare, metabolic disease.

I was moved by the fact that we never quite know how long we have to love those people that we love and wrote this short poem:

Now
A poem dedicated to Gracie Bella Sims

Now is a place where there is no word
for work; there is just our doing.
Now is a place where there is no word
for perfect; there is just our being.
Now is a place where there is no word
for future; there is just our living.
Now is a place where there are no words;
there is just an unwrapping of this moment
and an opportunity to love.

Maggie Yaxley Smith

June knows what it is to be born ‘different’ and this was one of the poems that she read, from her collection, Sunflower Equations, Hearing Eye, (2008):

Pictures

Different

Mum hangs me upside down and taps
my lungs to make me cough and spit,
she always says Im, sorry love.
Is that what other mothers say
after they’ve played the tip-tap game?

Mrs. Rutter, Yvonne’s mother
says Mummy coddles me too much,
a bit o’muck’d do me good.
She’d have no can’t do this or that,
If I was ‘ers I’d smarten up!

I don’t know why I’m always ill,
Yvonne Rutter never is –
I bet her Mum’s a better thumper.
Maybe I should smarten up,
It’s hard to run, but I  could try.
***

It’s summer now, Yvonne and I
are playing ‘camps’ in Blackman’s quarry,
Snotty Robert’s got a cold. Mum
said, You’d best stay clear of him,
but he’s the Daddy in our game.

Yvonne, who’s Mum, is belting me,
and shouting, Smarten up, or else
but Snotty Robert slaps her one
and says, it’s bed-time, git to bed
so I lay down, pretend to sleep
***

I don’t remember getting home,
it seems the milkman carried me.
Mum said, You silly girl, the ground
was damp, you’ve taken chill.  My head’s
a blazing furnace, filled with dreams:

I’m walking barefoot over mountains,
a devil’s prodding me with knives,
I’m lost. Alone, I’m terrified –
The mountain’s gone, it’s forests now
I’m running fast, my lungs will burst.

Mum leans the folded ironing board
lengthways from settee to floor;
she holds my toes while I slide down
to play my Walk-on-ceilings-game,
where lights grow upwards from their stalks

and little folk, with chalk-white faces
(only seen by Mum and me)
play silly games, like Wonder why.
I asked them once why pigs don’t fly –
they said because they’ve learned to swim…
***

Mrs. Rutter’s been to see me,
she says I’ll soon be up and running,
if I was hers I’d smarten up,
a bit o’muck’d do me good –
I’d like to poke my tongue at her,

but Mum is smiling down at me,
that knowing look that tells me Don’t –
the folk round here don’t understand,
you’re different see – a special girl.
When you grow up, you’ll show them all…

 June English

 

And I have to say  is that  she really has…

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