This is not a poetry post but a Thank you

Today on the birthday of the NHS, it’s made me sit back and see exactly how much I’ve needed and used the NHS over my almost 50 years.

I’m not going to say I recall being born in an NHS hospital, though I was. My first proper memory was the NHS making something not done then possible. I was 11. My Grandad who was heroic to me, was in hospital. As was the case then, nobody said the word death to a child. Children didn’t visit hospitals, especially the dying, or go to funerals.

I’d picked up from conversations he wasn’t coming back. I needed to see. So I didn’t go to school. I went straight to the hospital. He demanded they allow me in. We talked, laughed, said our goodbyes. The nurses were fantastic, but without their agreement I’d never have said goodbye. In fact, I’m crying as I recall it today.

My next thing was finding out I am epileptic. I was 13 and I suddenly had a seizure in my bedroom. From then until I was roughly 18, I was mostly OK. I’d just started to see a fantastic neurologist, and the morning after my birthday, I was rushed into hospital. I’d been prescribed a wrong tablet dose. A mistake no doubt, from an underpaid overworked junior doctor. I was 10x overdosed. I was chuntering about leaving as my mum entered my room and the ambulance arrived after the doctor literally ran across from the surgery. I was lucky. Thanks to the NHS and their speed and care.

I was in hospital week in, week out for a long while and I’m talking years.

Then a good few years where I tried not to bother them!

They took care of me through pregnancy and then during post natal depression and depression.

I saw my dad having a spell in hospital after 5 heart bypasses when he thought he was having a double. It was just business as usual, we’re going to tell you everything. I can’t praise the staff more. My Dad has now sadly passed away, but we had him for many more years than would have been possible without these wonderful people. The people who care, in every sense. They understand how the patients feel and they’re there .

I’ve lost many family members over the years, as have we all. But if we were without the NHS, our NHS, I ask a simple question. How many of us would actually be here? Medicine doesn’t come cheap, hospital care is not cheap, and seriously having been on the nursing side, though not a nurse, I know how devastating losing a patient can be. How those people are taken home in worries and not forgotten about.

For all this and so much more. Thank you NHS. Happy Birthday NHS and here’s to many, many more.

In lockdown land

In lockdown land

In this new land our movements slow

Everything goes

At a pace akin to another time

When maybe worlds were less frantic

And the quick jive of life

Turned into the back two, forward one

That no-one knows anymore

Or we didn’t.

A few weeks in when we’re horror numb

And our new ways are beginning

We learn to keep our distance don’t touch

But we speak to people we’d not know

If it weren’t for this damn virus

That reaps the old without mercy

And culls them in it’s nasty grasp

Still I know it’s made so many say

That life is to be lived in a way souls can ease

The lungs of the dead are filled with water

They drowned so we can breathe

But if I hear it described much more as a war

The words get thee to hell you fools

May not be the only words I scream

I know that life has changed for us all

I’ve changed and so have you

So let’s look forward to brighter days

©️AilsaCawley2020

The son that never was

I was the son they wanted you see

Someone who would be free

Three children I’m the oldest

I know people say I’m pushy

But it was well known

That girls were just a second class

At least one boy should be born

I understood from childhood

That I needed to toughen up

Followed me father to market

Till he gave me a sheep of my own

Even got me in the papers it did cos

The bugger followed me to school

So I took it in and they weren’t amused

But dad roared laughing saying that

Was exactly what he’d expect a boy to do

Knew then I had to take charge of all

Because what else could I do?

Mary had a little lamb became contrary

I knew just what had to be done

I became the son you never had

And the daughter that never was.

©️AilsaCawleyPoetry2020

On Resiliance….

Just some thoughts from Kat on Zany Mountain

View from Zany Mountain

It’s become a bit of joke, me messing around about fancying army guys-caveat- I’m one for joking and messing. It’s hardly going to change now at this hour of my life, is it.

Actually if you do one thing-check out the army guys-Jason Fox and Ollie Ollerton-because amazingly-they are tough but have worked the line and describe a process that is both honest and healing.

Yet, here on Zany Moutanin the sunshine, laughs and craic-prevails. Until the shadow darkens on the side of  the mountain and it  doesn’t prevail any more. I’m struck by the images of people working on the frontline and I can’t bear to look. An ER doctor in New York commits suicide as does a paramedic. My heart stops for them.

I can’t bear to look at them twice- or even think of them. I worked the frontline for several years in a totally different capacity-homeless…

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Old wounds healed

Old wounds healed

His words were in the air knives

With blunted blades

You need to leave then go but I’m going to say

To all who’ll hear it was down to you

And a man who I’d rather blame

I went back to get the bare essentials

Two bin bags filled with things

He’d done to plants and flowers

What he tried to do to me and failed

Cut them off and killed connections

Dead things lay on the floor that day

Almost the end of summer and it felt

Like the first of Spring

I was terrified as my heart skipped and jumped

Knowing I no longer needed to sing a song

To make me escape from his clutches

He warned me in direst terms

Of what he’d do, they’d do

And finally I’d done what the song said

I’d broken free

I walked down the lane on butterfly wings

Heart dancing and the sun came out

Gave me her blessing

As she warmed my heart and gave hope

Telling me to keep walking towards tomorrow

Ailsa

©️AilsaCawleyPoetry2020

Rising

She is rising from the earth to sing

Her age old story on drums

That beat in heart rhythm

And carry on the wind crying

For help and guidance

So she can gather strength

As she walks through fire

Her clay body molding to new shape

Life pieced apart and rebuilt stronger.

He is behind her watchful as she dances

And sings incantations to evoke elders

The forgotten ones, remembering how

To bring them forward he is waiting

For her to signal the way ahead

The time to move on

She whirls lights from the fire catching

Skirts that dance as though alight

Her trance from now to wherever

Is watched with bated breath

She will dance faster, slower, faster

Not stopping until the answer is there

Only then will exhaustion take her

Her words before sleep to be passed

Among the gathering folk

Whispers from person to person

Man to woman, child to adult

She said the goddess spoke to her

Our mission is to carry on before the fire

Listening to the earth and saving her

The message has never changed

We carry on dancing and drumming

The earth is passing the message herself

We must listen for her roar could deafen

Even those who want to silence her.

Ailsa

©️AilsaCawleyPoetry2020

Plated

Stepping forth in her armour she felt invincible

Her resolve not to be broken

The looks on their faces were shocked

Astonished at her audacity

That she’d not done what was expected

Her face cleared of the usual paint

Sleek hair left to be wild and exuberant

Suddenly in her nakedness she felt it

Powerful, in control

Their shock at her being as she wanted

Scared them

No heels, paint, sleek dress just her

Armour plated by being naked

She stared them down when they demanded

Smile pretty lady it’s not the end of the world

Yeah? She replied it is.

Ailsa

©️AilsaCawleyPoetry2020

Stillness

She sat there drinking them in. Watching, smiling, nodding, speaking but deliberately not leading.It was a defence mechanism. Taken back to days long ago when her views, dreams and stories were considered stupid or childish.

First she learned to be quieter, and for a while she thought occasionally she was safe, until the words she cast out were spat back on a haze of alcohol and abuse. The stories and verses were burned or binned, because that’s what happens to trash. See?

Foolishly, when she’d thought he believed in her, she gave him a story to read. Since then, daily she’d become a little quieter, a little less herself. One day she realised she wasn’t sure who she was anymore.

That was the day she walked away. She left with less than she arrived with in belongings. Inside, she left with strength, determination to do what she had to, wanted to. Most of all she left with stillness. No longer a racing mind. No longer a terror of the key in the door. No more threats or delivery of nasty surprises to keep her “on her toes”. He awoke her strength hidden deeply away. He unwittingly gave her stillness. He kept everything they had so she could keep her stillness.

©️AilsaCawleyPoetry2020

High

The persona that you projected

I am up here on high and bear your presence

I will grit my teeth to see gratitude

Spewing out of you and I remain high

Lofty, above you, and someone to aspire to

Accepting all adulation with a wave

Expect you to fall at my feet and you will.

Your world depends upon who sees you as special

Who will do anything to please you

Fawn over you and into line

Like little tin soldiers you watch from on high.

Apparently I dissented in the ranks

Fell out before I was told to go

Oh I can see all the cracks, chinks in armour

I’d rather be here on the outside

Than there on your fake high

Wondering how far it’s going to be

On the way down to the bottom.

Ailsa

©️AilsaCawleyPoetry2020

The world he’s locked in

His stories are those of a person persuaded

That life has passed him by

People crushing his spirit and grinding

Their heels into his head

Because he isn’t what was expected.

So he chooses the path of least resistance

Pressing a button that destroys his world

Because he’s afraid of losing happiness

Fighting it from happening is easier

Than the disappointment as it walks away.

He’s tired of hiding behind the shell of pretence

That he’s so carefully constructed

To show the world the clown who loses

But it’s there flickering , the light

That’s now refusing to be extinguished

Now he knows some people believe in him.

Ailsa

©️AilsaCawleyPoetry2020