Thursday, 8 March 2012


Not only an adopted child adopts a self....

No peace, no sanctuary in mind or house.
Already at war with myself and enemies on the street,
I'm ambushed by friendly fire
blasting my integrity.
“You are over-emotional; stop blaming
medical and social services for her death.
You are wrong, all hospices are good;
look, it says so in The Telegraph" -

page neatly folded over
for my enlightenment
flaps large and speckled
over breakfast table not my own,
a provocation
I cannot shoo away
not rudely shake my host’s
faith in tablets of stone,
the Word of institutions.

Shunted, personal experience
even as an exception to a rule,
sitting with my friend
I feel the loneliness of
the mad woman no-one believes
shouting on the city walls.
Speak what you feel, not what you ought to say,
and always be cast out.
Wait bitter years for them to believe
when they hear it on the news.

"You are exaggerating now
about your neighbours hounding you."
Matter-of-fact they pull down last defence,
Not only an adopted child adopts a self,
all earlier selves rejected,
a child within a child,
identity made real only with affirmation,
dying like Tinkerbell for the clap of hands.

Sticks and stones may break my bones
but words will never hurt me:
an impotent charm against human packs circling,
some with malice aforethought, some with common sense.
 “Your career has failed; it was a childish dream.”
Maybe it was an Intervention, kindly meant.
I would not wake them so rudely,
cast nasturtiums on their vocations,
the callings that define them.
Epiphanies should be private affairs.
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We must fight even our friends to own ourselves.

What to say to save a life 
from The Independent