Your Voice

This is a space for local carers to creatively share their thoughts and experiences, either through prose or poetry.

yellow poppy

Naomi is a carer living in Croydon. Her poem Away From The Flock was shortlisted in 2007 for a poetry competition run by mental health charity Creative Routes, and was commended by Andrew Motion, one of the charity’s patrons and a former poet laureate.

Away From the Flock was featured in the November 2017 to January 2018 edition of Carers News. It beautifully expresses the sense of feeling different.

Away From the Flock

By Naomi Kay Lee

Here I am,

A poppy in the middle of a hedgerow.

Around me are other poppies.

But there’s something different about me.

I’m yellow.

All the other poppies as far as I can tell are red.

They nod towards me gently in the summer breeze.

I nod politely back.

But we all know I’m not quite the same as them.

I’m different.

I stand away from the flock.

Here I am,

A person in the middle of a shopping precinct.

Around are other people.

But there’s something different about me.

I’m a carer.

All the other people as far as I can tell are not.

They take my leaflets

Politely as they pass.

I hand them out from my Rethink stall

Conveying to them that I am a carer.

I smile politely back.

But we all know I’m not quite the same as them.

I’m different.

I stand away from the flock.

Pauline is a local carer who looks after her elderly mother. Her poem, This was not in the plan, is warm yet honest reflection on the ups and downs of being a carer. Pauline hopes the poem will encourage others in a similar situation.

This was not in the plan

By Pauline

When I retire there will be more time for just me

For unfinished crafts, for visits and afternoon tea,

Holidays, adventures, day trips and lunches out,

That's what retirement is all about.

Our children now all have lives of their own

Their own families too and how they have grown!

Such busy lives with so much to fit into their days

They seem to be pulled in so many ways!

But we can make plans now to enjoy those days out

We still have the energy to get out and about.

We can be selfish and do whatever we please

Find somewhere new for those afternoon teas.

But life doesn't always work out in that way

And it can often change course in under a day.

We enjoyed the freedom and thought it would last

But now those days are a thing of the past.

Six years have passed since I first had that plan

Of day trips and freedom and to do all that I can

It's all just a dream and is now put on hold

But I hope I can manage it before I'm too old.

Giving care is rewarding and of course that is true

But leaves little time for just being you.

You love them dearly and are loved in return

And a place in heaven is what you may earn.

But it's hard at times when folk think you're so good,

To always seem happy and in a good mood,

When you want to achieve things while you still can,

Much as you love them, this was not in the plan.

group of counters with one separate from the rest

Roslyee Lowe is a local carer. Her poem, Just Like You, is a moving, personal depiction of the pain caused by prejudice, and calls for us all to show a greater understanding of those who are different from ourselves.

Just Like You

By Rosylee Lowe

When I was at my mother's breast my heart was still carefree,

Not yet aware of prejudice directly aimed at me.

But having grown, find in the world, that cruelty is rife,

To bear the brunt of people's jokes wounds deeper than a knife.

I cannot do the things that able-bodied people do -

But I have thoughts and feelings - just like you.

I've plans and schemes, and hopes and dreams to which I've been denied,

For disbelievers point me out and say I should have died.

Yet others - talking down to me, don't bother ask my name,

Implying I should hide away and hang my head in shame.

It seems I'm destined to be ostracised my whole life through,

Yet I have thoughts and feelings, just like you.

At times I've cried to think how life dealt me a bitter blow,

The reason why God made me thus, I guess I'll never know.

As citizens of mother earth, don't all deserve respect?

Instead we meet with attitudes that largely go unchecked.

If you would only open up your eyes you'd see it's true,

And know that I have feelings just like you.

Society in ignorance on misconceptions feed -

If I remove a splinter from my hand, will I not bleed?

Should this wide world turn upside -down, would this give rise to doubt

If no yardstick found for 'normal', could we tell the odd one out?

I've no desire for pity - but give me your answer do -

Have I not thoughts and feelings - just like you?

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