Thursday, 31 March 2011

Connect My Constellation

Introduction: The imagery for the following poem was inspired by the song 'Drops of Jupiter' by Train. It was written in our weekly Art Therapy sessions - in which I have written my favourite poems (my first ever 'Wayside', 'Swan Song' and my favourite yet, 'Connect My Constellation'). I was really chuffed that the other patients seemed to like it but I feel I could improve it... though I'm not sure how... Anyway I had quite a productive day today and wrote two poems: the following, and one that I will release on Mother's Day for reasons you will discover...
Personally, I love the bit about the snow globe, but maybe that's just me. The reason I am actually quite pleased with this poem, whereas I normally have to be urged by others to post them, is because (apparently) it brought a tear to the eyes of the person it is dedicated to. Don't get the wrong idea, she's a close friend (err I hope she'd say the same). Anyway, enough rambling, just one last thing: On our unit there are five of us who are good, close friends (err again I hope they'd say the same...), for the sake of confidentiality I'll give them codenames: Yumi, Mikli, Sage, Water & myself. Therefore I've decided, with their consent of course, to write a series of poems called '5 Friends', one dedicated to each of the other four. This will be the first of the series.

The meaning of the title of this poem is relatively simple: Despite probable general opinion, I believe Yumi just needs the right support and needs to turn just a few more corners to be able to move on from this horrible illness - Or, in other words, she needs just a few more stars to connect her entire constellation :) Moreover, she deserves to get better and I truly believe in her... okay, okay, I'll let up on the cheese-fest.

This is for you-me (hehe get it? Like Yumi? God, I make shit jokes...)



Mother moon has now trekked to the summit of sky,
Rubbing red eyes, she peers through my telescope:
A galaxy cradled in the arms of the gods,
"Is it named?" I answer, "It is called hope."

In the dungeons where knights of nightmare patrol,
I glance at a curious trinket.
Her delicate, ballerina music box,
The angels' tune gets me thinking.

Through the arch, stone of lime, lies a garden of pain.
She once picked a bouquet of tears.
Mother Nature, free man, will whisk her away
In a whistling wind, freedom's near.

In that cobweb-curtained china shop
She is the porcelain doll.
On the tip of her shelf, nails rust-ridden,
I'll try catch her each time she falls.

Her liberty is a Russian doll,
Heavenly hand-painted.
Hidden in the hearts of her bigger brethren,
Her body blemished, tainted.

Her paintbrush made of Milky Way,
Indigo smears of sky.
Those comets flare like fireworks,
If there's cause to celebrate, why?

She made a request,
A dim star's exclamation.
Head in hands, she said
"Connect my constellation."

A cosmic dot-to-dot
But unlike puzzle books
No answers crouch in back pages
For you to take a furtive look.

Her soul's like a snow globe
With it's tiny, glassed world
And it's tiny, little happenings
And it's tiny, little girl.

She is blind, there is a blizzard,
The globe shook by a scream
That almost shattered all the glass
And burst her heart at it's seams.

Fragmented, broken shooting star
Still orbits in her eyes.
Love gravitates around her core.
Sunshine, please, no more sighs.

The day will come, when her troubles run
Like wet ink off white paper.
She'll find her quill and with free will
She'll write the words to save her.

Butterfly, you are free,
An unfamiliar sensation.
With your finger aglow,
Connect your own constellation.

Notes on Connect My Constellation:

- The word trinket is used in irony as a trinket is of little value whereas I very much value Yumi as a friend. A trinket's worthlessness also expresses my personal feelings of worthlessness.

- Interestingly, this is my first poem without flying/bird imagery ('winged words' in 'Wayside', obviously the swans in 'Swan Song', 'firefiles' in 'Save Me From The Savannah' and 'swoops' in 'Urban Wildflower'). I think - without trying to sound like a GCSE Anthology analysis - that this represents my wish to fly and be free from my eating disorder. Although in 'Connect My Constellation' there is no imagery of birds per se, I think subconsciously (God, I sound like a bloody therapist, I clearly have spent too long in psychiatric units) that in this poem I've gone one step further and instead of just simply flying, I wish to be so free of my eating disorder that I'm up in the stars... Or Yumi, who the poem is written about, will be up in the stars, bless her.

- 'The porcelain doll' represents vulnerability.

- 'Mother Nature' and 'Mother moon' refer to Yumi's wonderful mum.

- The parts about her asking for someone else to connect her constellation and then in the end being told to connect it herself show that no one can make her recover and although we can support her in every way under the sun, ultimately the decision has to come from within.  I know it will though with time and with some words of wisdom from our shared fairy godmother ;).

Notes on Urban Wildflower:

- Although the title was just thought up on the spot by a good friend of mine, it really fits my feeling as I've never felt like I fit in in my surroundings, much like the 'flower in the concrete' image opening the poem.

- I refer to my hospital as both a prison and a palace because I love the people here, my 'fairy godmother' keyworker and the programme that has helped me to make huge advances in my recovery. Yet to other patients here it is viewed as a prison, keeping them from living their lives in the outside world. Personally, it is a safe haven for me to hide from the real world (immature, I know).

- 'The shadow on my back' is anorexia and feelings of worthlessness and being a failure no matter what I do.

- Unknowingly, I have used the veil imagery again (see 'Wayside') to represent the identity that anorexia gives its sufferers.

-  The river rushing by is other people's lives moving on without me, similar to 'Wayside'.

Thanks for reading :)

Monday, 28 March 2011

Urban Wildflower

Introduction: Today we were allowed to go sit in the hospital gardens during leisure group to do what we liked so I decided to write a poem, and this is the result. I would like to point out although there is much prison imagery in this poem, it's my anorexia I feel imprisoned by (going overboard on cheesiness here) not this hospital as actually I feel very safe in this hospital and have only good things to say about it. In fact, they basically push me out the door to make me go on leave but that's another story... Themes in this poem include loneliness, feeling trapped by this illness and imagining a brighter future than you realistically think you'll find and resultantly being disappointed. Comments pleeeeease, feedback is always helpful, good or bad (although if it's bad please try to be constructive, cheers) :)


Oh, almost forgot, a special thanks goes out to a fellow patient of mine who came up with the title!


In the lavendar I lay, lethargic, wearing out the day.
A flash of Eden deep in Alcatraz, is there another way
To possess the worldly fortitude to rip my wrists from shackles?
The shadow on my back is blacker, it grimaces, it cackles.

This shadow's from a full-fleshed oak, it's leafy arms outstretched,
Opposite it's naked other, it's bark all mottled, flecked.
The sombre tree relates to me, isolated, bare,
it's branches spread in welcome; No one hugs it, no one cares.

Ice-white turrets loom, their windows barred, steel birthmarks on a face.
A woman paces woefully, face veiled in spider's lace.
No. It's just a fellow inmate, her funeral I foresee.
If she's too late, the hand of hate will snatch her, maybe me...?

A stone-strewn trail swoops lazily across Miss Nature's blades
At which I pick, my fingers prick, the bloodstains never fade.
One path leads to nothingness, one back to the towers.
Forks in roads remind me of the pain that seized my power.

I've now returned to the ashen, burned confines of winter's palace.
The shadow's whip, strikes as I sip from Satan's silver challis
And bite away, the duskless days, I'm chewing my own flesh.
I can't escape, barbed wire snags me, caught in metal mesh.

I now reside, my heart astray, in the depths of my dear cell.
Albeit the cuffs are cold, so tough, I'm a pearl, this is my shell.
Our island's carved from ivory, the river rushes by.
I crouch in my own crevice, staring blankly, wondering "...why?"

Although it's come to time of day when I trip into a slumber,
where anxieties, my sack of books, renders me encumbered.
Like water circling daytime's drain, I cartwheel into sleep -
Same snow-walled kingdom, office-throned, but all's not what it seems.

Those daffodils with buttered crowns aim skyward in a greeting.
The jade-green grounds are similar but mind clouded, thoughts a-fleeting -
something's amiss, too much bliss pervades the sun-swept garden.
The bench where I sit is splintered no more, my soul is battle-hardened.

I've shed my orange jumpsuit, the sun's ribbons of gold
Furl floorwards, I feel freer, not even on parole.
My pockets sag, is it my worries, a phantom haunting me?
My palm withdraws: a feeble hope embodied in a key.

A box within a box within a box within a box.
My future lies embedded deep in bedrock, now unlocked.
The daughter of a smile sits aside me, daisy-eared
As I bask in balmy present, do I remember what I feared?

But the final act has come to close, red curtains form a downpour.
The masks peel off, we're actors, please let there be an encore.
I surface to reality from the whirlpool of a dream,
Tornadoed in my shrapnel sheets, I emit a shell-shocked scream.

As it's late I'll do 'Notes' on Urban Wildflower with my next poem if that's okay... I mean, it's not like I have any readers anyway!

Thanks for reading x

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Save Me From The Savannah

Introduction: This poem is quite different to my previous two but is my least favourite to date. It's much more like a story and I feel it is too simple and straight-forward. However there is deeper meaning then you may think (see 'Notes' afterwards). This poem has the recurring them of being left behind (like 'Wayside') but also themes of feeling a failure, negatively predicting other's thoughts about oneself, "catastrophizing" and the great fear of setbacks in one's recovery process leading ultimately to fear of relapse (being eaten by the lions). Let me know what you think and before you judge, this is my least favourite! Comments welcome as always...


Dry, baking, red earth, swathes of long, yellow grass,
I arouse, groggy-eyed, the world viewed through glass,
My limbs are stiff, iron-cast,
Soon to gallop with my herd.

Under the acacia, we'll gather, re-group,
We're our own compact unit, a tawny-brown troop,
Yet we don't battle, we run, run from you,
That is what I've learned.

Our great fear is the lions who come out to play
their torturous, treacherous, teeth-shearing games,
Once their canines have grip, there is just no escape,
We must gallop, must leap, must bound.

The herd I'm with now have a spring in their step,
they have superior agility, are much more adept
than those whose company I once kept.
Though they are no longer around.

There's a reason for that I dare to say,
They stumbled, they limped, some even lame,
Once, wearily walking, in a clearing they lay,
faced by an army of eyes.

Phantom fireflies, the eyes then danced,
With a uproarious elegance the pride duly pranced
Like a one-sided joust, the lions lanced
their teeth into fresh gazelle hide.

I looked on aghast, my horns those of devil's.
How could I just watch them squirm in peril?
I hid, my head curtained by flowers and petals,
On the edge of the clearing I lay.

My speed had left me with a new lease on life,
I joined a new herd, my heart set alight.
Beneath this acacia, it all feels so right.
That was until the twelfth day...

The enemy were spotted near the watering hole,
A routine procedure would follow, I know,
Over rough terrain, ourselves we would throw,
But my legs fell out of rhythm.

A stumble, a crack resonates from my leg.
Am I done for, do I lay, a mangled mess?
I struggle to my hooves to catch up with the rest,
They canter with indecision.

With a raging reluctance, they trotted in wait,
I'm certain it's not just my limp leg they hate,
Roars closing in, are we too late
to avoid their leonine murder?

Death was approaching, nigh on our heels,
Though my head throbbed, I tried to keep even keel,
The shroud of night was upon us, in my bones I could feel
that I would embody luck further.

Beneath the cloak of darkness, there was no more to fear,
The savannah safe once more, no danger was near,
We returned to the arms of our acacia,
Like a tiger, my leg streaked... red.

I sunk slowly into a deep reverie
Where they despise my incapabilities.
When I aroused, I knew the problem was me.
My herd had left me for dead.

Notes on Save Me From The Savannah

- In my hospital we have a table system that range in amount of staff support in correlation to where you are in your recovery. Fairly recently I was moved from the monitored middle table, to the semi-supervised table where you have to take far more responsibilty (moving to a new herd). I've been finding things difficult lately which has been channeled into my food (as my bad feelings always are) which is understandably stressing out my fellow patients. My fears that they hate me and not just my food behaviours (not just the gazelle's limp leg) and that I will be demoted to the middle table again (the herd leaving the gazelle for dead) are expressed through this poem.

- Being eaten by lions represents relapse.

As always, thanks for reading :)

Friday, 25 March 2011

Swan Song

Introduction: This poem is about false hope, disappointment, fading memories of good times and fragility of friendship. Comment if you have your own interpretation or feedback :)


I don't value velvet, it's plush, peaceful touch
lining the box in my grasp.
As I think of the thing I cherish so much
I open the intricate clasp.

Laid before me with might, such a glorious sight,
a chain laced with imperial gold.
Though it has no true voice, I'm certain I'm right
that it tells great stories of old.

In the centre of all, I am deeply enthralled
by a locket, enigma-engraved.
Like a puppet it hangs, like a mountain it stands,
I recall the memories it saved.

As I flick open the latch, or is it a catch?
I'm uncertain, on edge, as ever.
A carving of swans, no anger, no wrath,
etched in the two angels' feathers.

Their necks arch and extend, contort and then bend,
in their eyes, the opposite of hate.
It makes me smile and well up, the message it sends,
a heart is the shape they create.

In my own bleeding heart is great expectation
at the wondrous things I may find.
A quake, a shake, of anticipation.
Your locket, what is behind?

A girl kissed by the sun, her troubles undone,
ladybirds rest in her hair.
She must learn to walk before she can run,
to Adam, she's Eve, a pair.

One more girl with a brain that will never again
succumb to the black cat of fate.
One man will carry her through the rain,
I dreamt she was not too late.

A third girl to whom love is too painful to chase,
she took me under her wing.
Although now her voice croaks, life's not a race.
With life and love she will sing.

Another took my hand from a foreign land,
helped to drag me from the cliff.
Oh, the love she'd had found, had she stayed around,
well... life is full of "if"s.

In this picture one more, lies cold on the floor
but when our warm embrace
begins, begins, her dove-white limbs
come alive, we're face-to-face.

One last breath, one last sigh, I open wide
the locket, it's God I thank.
But the walls blow apart, my heart's made of glass.
The film in the camera was blank

For those of you who are curious (probably none of you because I probably have no readers haha) here are some notes on my poems:

Notes on Swan Song: 

- Stanzas 7, 8, 9, 10 are about fellow patients who I am close to, who are wonderful people and have helped me in more ways than they know.

- Stanza 11 is about the girlfriend I hope to have.

- The swan imagery is used because I like the metaphor of a swan swimming, graceful and elegant above the surface but paddling furiously beneath.

- 'the thing I cherish so much' is friendship

- The golden locket's value is meant to represent the value of friendship

Notes on Wayside:

- The church refers to the hospital I am currently in

- The veil is a metaphor for clinging on to anorexia

- the part about 'telling all their tales' and 'burning the veils' is about my want for all my fellow patients to recover

Thursday, 24 March 2011


Introduction: I am a fourteen-year-old patient in an eating disorders unit. The following poem is about moving on with my life, moving on from anorexia, returning to normality and the wish to join those who've kept on moving forwards while I've been stuck still. I hope you enjoy and please comment if this relates to you in any way...


I topple, I fall,
I cower, I crawl.
Will I ever escape the cold, vice grip?
After the first, the second hit,
Relentless, oppressive, keeps pushing me down,
Sigh, seconds past then a piercing sound.
My voice cries in pain. I'm one of a choir.
We suffer but care, we mind one another.
When the song comes to close, those who sing strong
Rise from the pews and continue along
The aisle, out the door to continue their tale
While those who are weak crouch under the veil
of ignorance, obsession, unreachable goals,
Stationary, static, their story untold,
Their book firmly shut, the dust gathers,
Their red rush halts, tumbles, crashes,
They float up the tower, so steep, so high,
And up off that steeple, they leap and die...

I do not wish to live veiled for all my time.
I wish for my life to have reason and rhyme.
So I lie in bed every morning and wait,
Wade through the hanging mist of self-hate
To hear the chirp, its winged words twitter proud,
In the hope that one day I'll sing that loud.
I'll rise from the pews,
Ignore that steeple,
Ride the waves,
Join the people.
I feel the need
To burn the veils,
Empty the church,
Tell all their tales.
But when you open that book
And you read alone,
You realize you're on your own.

"Burn your own veil
Ignore that dead
Feeling inside,"
I eagerly read.
I read the last chapter,
The page splattered red
And the following is what that wise book said
"Life moves on, a passing train,
you have a chance to board again."
The people I know and dearly love
have written more chapters and risen above,
they drive on, no image instilled in their mind
Of me crouched alone left on the wayside...