Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rest in Peace

It has been a terrible couple of days, and I am still reeling. Joel Brimble, Riyani Lowen and Anja Miler all students from my school, died at 1.30am Sunday morning an an absolutely horrific car accident.

Rest in peace wonderful children.

Joel's death has affected me quite a lot as I taught him in 2005, when he was in year 10. I had him for ten hours a week. The school's way of ensuring that relationships were built. Today I wish that hadn't happened. I have wonderful memories of Joel, he pushed and pushed and pushed, trying to convince me that he was 'dumb' and couldn't do things. So I pushed right back. He wrote essays he never thought he could. He dressed up and laughed while studying Shakespeare. He told me of the dreams he had about becoming a fitness instructor (did that happen?- I don't know). He told me that he had to babysit his two younger sisters, the youngest of whom was 3 at the time and drove him nuts like all three year olds do. He spoke of his girl friend and about how he and his friend Terence would go out together with the girls. He was excited about life, and I know he grew up to be a wonderful person. He would get passionately angry, and wonderfully animated. He was intelligent and insightful. He was absurdly naive about so many things. I remember clearly the day he reached out to touch a pendant I often wore around my neck, He just wanted to touch it, he thought it was beautiful. He was so surprised when I jumped back a mile as I thought he was reaching for my chest. We laughed about it then, and his friends teased him. Every time I wear that pendant I think of the time I was freaked out by him, and I know that now that he is dead, I will remember him even more.

Children should not die. 19 year olds should not die. 15 and 16 year old girls should not die.

I wish I wasn't so hurt by my past so that I could cry.

I can only hope that the part I played in his life was positive.

Rest in peace Joel, Riyani and Anja

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The end is nigh ...

The end to an utterly exhausting term is nearly here. I am quite excited, mostly due to the fact that I will be able to spend some time with the wonderful Emily, but I also have big writing plans.

I am drafting my next poem, inspired by something I read online about Russian Dolls. I look forward to sharing it with you all.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Who am I responsible for?

Fallacy is my long winded answer.

There is a lot in this one, so I will explain. The first step was realising that the responsibility that I felt, was, in essence a fallacy. I should not have felt it. It was an untruth that I had been told; I was now responsible for others. An untruth that I was not able to see for the lie that it was, as I was eleven years old at the time.

As I grew, I began to see the untruth that lay in the notion of responsibility. However, it still had an impact on my life, as would any lie told to a child during the formative years. It is too late to go back and live a different life, but it is time to heal. Come with me as I explain the lie that I was told.

With little thought for children, the children, a child, me - many adults, touting words of wisdom, stepped in soon after my mother's death. They stepped in to help our father, my father. They did not step in to help us. It was he who now needed help. It was he who was now burdened with four children. It was he who had lost a lover, wife, partner. It was up to his offspring, whom he didn't really know at all, to ensure that this burden did not become too great.

How is it that children can be asked this? It is a random thought, thrown out into the world. Out of sight, out of mind.

"Your mother is dead; it is your responsibility to take on her role."

Words. Abstract, tainted words. Repeated over and over again.

And so I did.

The words, the role itself - silenced freedom, silenced play, silenced childhood fantasies inspired by Enid Blyton and the Magic Faraway Tree.

What would you have done in my situation? Would you have refused? Does an eleven year old have the option to refuse?

There is no choice. The only option is acceptance, and what an unbelievable burden that is.

It was a betrayal, an expected role for the eldest daughter to take. Willingly accepted by my father, but given to me by adult females who should have known better.

What right did they have to cripple a family so? What right did they have to perpetuate the archaic principles of care; that only a woman is able to do a job like that so well.

It was a tainted gift. One that I was expected to nurture, and, when the time seemed right, pass down to the next in line. How opportune that the stately position of the Monarch can be passed from Father to Son, but the lowly considered nurturing role from female to female! To think that the Suffragettes worked so hard for equality, for the vote; the irony being that it is women who work so hard to undo.

I especially like the image, 'Gilt-edged maternal instinct'. Firstly, for the fallacy that it turned out to be. Trussed up as something wonderful. Yet, like a sword, it had the ability to cut a life in two. I was particularly excited to find that the word 'gilt' also refers to a female pig who has not borne a litter. Quite an apt little pun, and I enjoyed the phrase all the more because of that.

So ... who am I responsible for? It has taken a long time for me to learn that I am only responsible for me.

Thanks for reading, please feel free to comment on the poetry (it might be a little easier now that it is less cryptic).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Accursed obligation cast forth on a whim.
The silencer of long-forgotten childhood dreams.
Acceptance, tainted with guilt and confusion.

If the only choice is the road less travelled, which road would you take?

Archaic burden, betrayal of suffrage,
offered at the junction of independence.
It is for you to take, safe-keep, pass on.
Your milestone; your right of passage.
A diamond heirloom that cuts through
and leaves sinewy scars.
Hidden from prying eyes,
an invisible yoke around your neck.
A legacy of words, disproportionate
to the stature of the child.

Gilt-edged maternal instinct, worn as
a heavy cloak that did little to alleviate the chill of shame.
Accepted reluctantly, despite recognising it for the ghoul it was.

An expensive price to pay for love?
Ask yourself - who is responsible for this?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What were they - those precious last words?

Ironically, to have endured and lived through pain and suffering is a welcome thing. It is a test of mettle, and it takes great strength to move on; to look for what can be taken and treasured from each experience. I would not wish it upon anyone.

A goodbye of sorts, though that will never be. I look for her presence in every nook and cranny of my life, I wonder what she would have done, and if she too, would have thought my child a precious gift.

There I was, a child. Leaning over my mother's bedside. It was four days until her death, but no-one was to know that at the time. I whispered in her ear.

'I love you Mum.'

'I love you too.'

These were her last words to me. The lasting words ...

It is a test of mettle.

Monday, June 8, 2009


Once joined by cord
Mother to child
Just as the body is to the soul
heartbeats were one.

With the mind's eye closed
I travel on
Ignore the abyss
chose to be lone; lonely.

Insignificance in time
Brought forward with words
Lasting words
The last words.

Monday, June 1, 2009

I am grateful ...

I live in a wonderful, glorious and magically beautiful country. I am grateful to have lived a life here and not there.

We sometimes forget these little things, and then somethings happens that wrenches us from our foundations; reminds us that we are not as stable as we first thought.

I am grateful that I can reflect and grow - learn from other people's mistakes as well as my own. I have a unique opportunity to influence and inspire, to open up a world of new horizons to the array of people I see everyday.

I am grateful for friends, who did not misinterpret the wave, who saw it for what it was and threw out the buoy, reeled me in; allowed to me to feel safe enough to take the next tentative step.

I am grateful that I can look back and ask, 'who am I responsible for?' As opposed to others asking, 'who is responsible for this?'

That is my homework, to find the answer. As soon as I've worked it out I will share with you all.

Thanks, once again, for your invaluable support.