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'Identity'
July 2013

 02 August 2013


IDENTITY

WHO AM I ?
Within this body
I call my own,
So many things
bound by skin,
born by man,
This creature within.

The journey started
as a babe,
A lucky start with
Love as slave,
The guiding hand
that showed the way,
Upon this stair
I stand today.

So many strands
To weave upon
Identify
And then move on.

© SALLY FLOOD



I Have Dyspraxia

I have a condition for which there’s no cure
I find it it affects the way I go about my chores
It is considered a learning disability
But you cannot see it as its inside me
The condition is called dyspraxia
people say its similar to dyslexia
Nobody seems to understand my condition
Or why I find certain simple tasks such a mission
It has an effect on my social skills
Certain social situations give me the chills
When put with big groups I find it hard to speak
I often repeat myself, mix up my words and act like a freak
It is a condition that is often misunderstood
So there are a few things I would like to clear up for good

I’m often labelled as stupid clumsy and lazy
These insensitive people just drive me crazy
My dyspraxia is not some kind of contagious disease
I’m still a person don’t treat me differently please
I find I have problems with balance
Falling over is on of my biggest talents
My dyspraxia can make every day life a struggle
I often forget things and find myself in a muddle
I struggle with hand eye coordination
And also have problems with organisation

It can affect me in strange ways, I have trouble with bridges and stiles
Please understand when I have problems I am not just acting like a child
I also have problems when walking down slopes
If the hill is too steep I struggle to cope
I panic and get scared and upset easily I cant control my emotions
To try and help with this I have tried several lotions and potions
It makes me over sensitive to touch
The slightest touch can be too much

Coming to grow has shown me Im not the only one
the experience has shown me that my life can be fun
Through grow writing group I have met people like me
They have turned the I into we
Slowly I have started to make friends
Loyal decent friends on which I can depend
With every situation we find scarey or new
We stick together and help each other through
Grow have done so much to improve my confidence
I am finding I can do more with their support and guidance
To all the lovely people at grow I am truly grateful
They have show me a lot of kindness, and that not everyone is hateful

I try and cope by keeping a sense of humour and laugh at my mistakes
Everybody makes them, we are all human for goodness sake
I try not to let it control my life
And find ways around my troubles and strife
I have found my strengths lie in my creativity
I find it easy to write to the best of my ability
With all the problems my condition brings there’s no one I would rather be
My dyspraxia makes me special my dyspraxia makes me me
I don’t care what others say about me being dyspraxic,
To me being dyspraxic is fantastic
In fact I might even say its my biggest asset

Liz Jury
GROW




They Carried Water in Olive Oil Cans

A woman in Barrio Rincón
sent her four daughters
to bring the water from the well
at the bottom of the hill.
It was not work for the sons
who hid after scaring their sisters
with foolish stories of ghosts
waiting for them in the road.
On their heads the sisters mounted
the olive oil cans - apart from that
and the codfish they wanted for nothing.
In their memories these four young women
wear dresses made by Mamy.
They walked from the well to become women.
The road is now a memory for these grandmothers
where they remember hearing their first radio
and the rhythms of the new Cuban charangueros
Orquesta Aragón.
They no longer carry the water on their heads, but
they carry their wise stories in their voices.

© Ángel L. Martínez 10-12/13-10
The Bread is Rising Poetry Collective




Greetings from the Land of the Vacant

Hi,
I am a blank
I come from
A long line of blanks.
We have no goals.
We have no opinions.
We just reflect
Those that surround us.
It is noble
Not to have substance,
To pass between realities
Unnoticed.
Our people
Always have risen
To the highest levels
Of all western societies
In the world
And the results
Of our contributions
To our united history
Of inspired regression
Are apparent.
All of us blanks
Can rest comfortably
On our obvious laurels.
Only one worry
Wrinkles our collective brows,
Perhaps
We've accomplished
Too much.

© 2013 David Gordon
The Bread is Rising Poetry Collective




Human But Not Robot

Original as the earth is to itself
the bright surface of a rose flower
that blends into three continents
it evolves in the human family
the sun that comforts us from the circle of warmness
the language of love
that pours into our soul
the abundance of water that has us half thirsty
as the song of life are not written on the wall
open this page of this book
that our heritage is ancient
as space is to time
here I sit on the seabreeze of the
Atlantic Ocean on Coney Island
Seaside Summer Concert
as Smokey Robinson a blast from the past
a great living poet of Detroit
that sang his oldies of “Going to a Go Go”
“Ooh Baby Baby” “The Tracks of My Tears”
“The Tears of a Clown”
the joint was jumping
as the audience were living in joy
as I plant this rose to the James Weldon Johnson Family Reunion
to the unsung heroes
who gave life to my words
as the old Harptunes “Life is But a Dream”
will you take part of it my love over to you
as we celebrate Quiet Storm Quiet Storm

© 7/27/13 Carlos Raúl Dufflar
The Bread is Rising Poetry Collective




LADY LOST

I watched her and wondered why
There was no light of life in her eyes.
I wondered what had caused such pain
Would her eyes ever light up again?
I’d like to ask her if she could explain
But she just shuffles by in the summer rain.
Oblivious to the world she’s in
Does she have any kith or kin?
I said. “Hello.” gave her a smile
She looked at me for a short while.
Then shuffled on into tomorrow
How can one take so much sorrow?

By Jim White
Individual




After Passing of Him

Who am I?
I am no longer a wife
Yes, I wear the token of marriage
Except now; there isn't a hand to hold
I am still addressed as Mrs
Even though there isn't a Mr,
Anymore; but there was one once
Only yesterday...
I knew who I was
How one day or just a moment in fact
Can strip half of you away

Jan Hedger
GROW




My Gentle Father

You are a quiet presence
Just like my own father
Yet you speak volumes
Whilst my father did not
But I loved him, all the same.
He never held me
Like you hold me
I never felt his kiss on my cheek
Like the breath of your spirit,
Upon my tender skin.
When I played on the floor
He never knelt to share and guide
It is me who kneels
In praise and humility to you
To the Father who remains.
He carried his burdens and troubles alone,
From childhood to man with poor health.
Would it have been different
If he had committed to you?
The one Father, and not
The one by birth,
Who betrayed him, and
Left him a quiet man.
Thank you now; oh wonderful God
Who speaks to me in volumes.
That I remember my father
As a gentle man, who laboured hard,
To provide for his children
Despite the weakness he felt.
He never read to me, but
Bought me three books;
The Children of the New Forest,
Kidnapped and best of all
A beautifully illustrated Children’s Bible
I loved it, but I didn’t treasure it, but
I treasured him.
The quiet man in the chair
Sitting in silence; but
What is treasure?
Is it riches, or is it
Being richly blessed?
You are my treasure Lord
You are all I need, and
The memory of my father.

Jan Hedger
GROW




Children of War; in a Foreign Land

Children of war, caught like stupefied rabbits, with shards of light piercing the
night blackness; as if the stars had fallen from the sky and deserted the moon;
that divided their innocence, into waking and sleeping, playing and dreaming.
A beating and once welcome sun, now only highlights scenes of annihilation.

Sheets ripped into shreds, once crumpled around tangled unblemished limbs;
a meagre veil of comfort in the sticky warmth of a hate filled summer’s night;
are now just bandages, and stopgap tourniquets for bloodied and splintered bone.
Children of war, bare considerable pain, with trusting eyes which cry no tears.

Children of war, slumber in confined tented villages of roughened canvas,
usurped from the secure solidity of construction, by exploding mortar shells
and flying broken plaster, which caked their hair and clogged their nostrils.
Patchwork Teddies, stitched and worn, lie in the crook of matchstick arms.

Rough-hewed bowls, hover at fingertip stretch, accepting of a ladle of sustenance,
which will barely fill an empty belly that writhes in agony, tormented by the
foreign invaders, microscopically small and breeding.
Children of war, dip jugs into polluted rivers, to satisfy a longing thirst.

Children of war, grip onto a mother; whose arms are too burdened to carry them
as she did before; dragging blistered feet from worn-thin makeshift plimsolls,
as they skirt the craters on loose gravelled roads leading to exile.
Fathers long gone, buried deep in the fight, burn in their hearts and minds.

Will they ever forget? Will they ever forgive? Will they strive for peace; or will they harbour hate?
Will they become ambassadors, or will they gravitate towards martyrdom?
What will happen to these innocents? Guilty of no crime.
For children of war, grow into adults, and how the balance tips is up to us all.

Jan Hedger
GROW




Different shoes – one family

The first fellowship, we come into contact with, is with our parents, siblings and immediate family members. I came into that fellowship as a late arrival – into a world of adults and their different shoes.

My father’s – neat, lined up and highly polished

Mother’s – ready to wear and comfortable, for carrying home the daily shopping and going to bingo; a best pair for weddings

Two sisters – kicked off stilettos, only the eldest having a sensible pair of working shoes

Aunty Ruby – visiting in court shoes – from the office

Aunty Oll – next door – shoes hardly worn down, as apart from one afternoon to get her pension, she remained indoors, caring for her youngest brother, my uncle Ray – Heavy, brogue like shoes, in support of the few steps he could walk

Uncles – with hobnail working boots, except uncle Harry whose shoes complimented his sweeping overcoat

And I grew – into school shoes from the co-op divi – summer sandals with crepe soles – when I longed for football boots

Different shoes, different people, all protecting me, as they saw fit, with values to abide by, even though they stayed on the periphery of Faith and never fully embraced it, I was bought up right.

Yet I took a troubled path, with ill-fitting shoes, why, is a question I cannot answer. It wasn’t rebellion. At first there was a loss, aloneness, detachment; then a constant seeking.

Looking back, attributing blame - growing to accept, I had made my own choices and seeing my parents in a different light, the light that came with Jesus in my life.

Jan Hedger
GROW




Heartshore
 
I recently spent one of the most incredible and memorable weeks of my life in a field of beautiful horses near Stroud. As a Soul Recognition Facilitator, Reiki Practitioner and a facilitator of group meditation and creative experience, I am used to working in the deep sacred space of heart and soul, of being in 'community' with others, weaving a unified field of energy within which we work, rest and play. In addition, I had been fortunate enough to spend Summer Solstice in June, camping in a Cotswold Field with about 45 others who had all come together to share a Soul Centered Experience/Retreat. Flo Aeveia Magdalena (who brought Soul Recognition to this country from USA) was able to be with us there and she had previously worked with Dawn Oakley-Smith who runs Heartshore Stables near Stroud and who invited us to spend a morning with her herd on June 21st.
 
We prepared by working with Boundaries...Most of us were completely unfamiliar with horses, but the Boundary Exercise gives an insight into the huge awareness that a horse has of its surroundings ...a type of awareness which we humans, in general, no longer utilise. So we worked in twos; one would stand still while the other went about 30 yards away and began to walk towards the other...we were sensing and feeling into each others boundaries...the layers of awareness we have around us...we raised our hands to signal stop there, or no further...eyes open, eyes closed, getting to know our own boundaries, which enabled us to have at least some understanding and respect for the horses, their awareness and their space.
 
Our experience of the Heartshore herd was profound and unforgettable. We walked quietly into their field and were introduced to each individual horse...their names and characteristics. We formed a huge human circle, signalling that we were a tribe...breathed into our hearts together...expanded and sent out our conscious awareness as far as the distant horizon, and all the while being observed by the herd..who to an untutored eye appeared to be taking very little notice at all. We gradually split up into smaller groups and wandered freely around the field...some of us felt drawn to a particular horse and walked, mindful of noticing the horses boundaries, slowly toward them. Some sat or stood quietly alone, just experiencing the quietness of being there among the energy of horses.
 
And very soon three people had gone into Soul Recognition Journeys, and were laying down on the grass, being attended to by facilitators and horses alike.Several of the horses gently stamped their hooves in time to the releasing breaths and heartbeats of those journeying. Others walked around grazing and yet very obviously in absolute attendance, completely tuned into the soul journeys and the whole experience. Even those humans who were used to riding horses had never sat or lay in a field among them like this...and yet it all felt so natural, and proved to be the catalyst of safety and trust for many more journeys after we left the stables.
 
Later, Dawn visited us to exchange feedback from her horses and our experiences, explaining how the herd was reacting as a whole and as individuals to such a large group of visiting humans. Several of them regularly work with children who have autism or other behavioural challenges and with their parents to assist the release of anxiety and levels of stress. The exchange of energy and the extent to which these horses participate as facilitators was and is amazing and very beautiful.
 
As a result a further week long experience was planned for September. Dawn guided 'a three-day hands on opportunity to learn her herd, establish the fundamentals of working with Equine Facilitators, and provide a space for exploration of our connection to the soul through the eyes and hearts of the horses.' Soul Support Systems' Facilitators then joined with Dawn 'to guide Equine Facilitated Soul Recognition Journeys.'
 
I quote from the flier...

'Dawn's herd of Equine facilitators sense into our individual and collective fields through their relationship to the unified field, where all information is available. They respond to our mutual longing for connection and balance. As we find each other our souls dance together and magic happens!
 
The horses break down conditioned barriers that separate us from ourselves, each other, and from nature. From this place of connection, we can drop more easily into our soul, taking an individual journey that opens our perception to our place in the universe and our oneness with all life.'

 
The whole week proved to be this and much more...a huge learning experience for Horse and Human alike.
 
The first evening, we gathered at the Barn where most of us stayed and where we all shared evening meals together. We were all saged and drumwashed... a beautiful ritual cleansing...and sat in silence around a huge Przewalski's horse skin, who, in life had been a very free-spirited and rampant stallion. To the beating of a drum,the Spirit of the Horse was 'called' in a breathtaking Shamanic Journey bringing us into the landscape and experience of the wild horse, followed by deep Soul Opening Meditation weaving a unified field of energy between us which was to sustain and ground us throughout the week . We all slept with the energy of horse pulsing through our being and some even slept under the skin.
 
The next morning we arrived at the Stables and were welcomed by the Herd, a log fire, cats and goats and the gentle people at Heartshore. We walked out into the huge field under a vast windswept sky and were introduced to the horses there...given an insight into the character and background of each one and just given an opportunity to experience the herd in their environment...the incredible wide landscape...the horizon...the sounds and smells...colours and senses alert and alive. We learned to give ourselves a body-scan before interacting with the horses...to ground ourselves with the earth and to connect to the sky and beyond, and to become aware of what we each bring to the to the larger awareness of the herd.
 
Some of us felt drawn to work with a particular horse and we all spent time in small groups, just 'feeling' into how to approach our horse and checking all our responses, as we built non-verbal relationships with the horses and with each other.  As the week went by we all spent quality time with several horses, learning basic horse-handling skills...how to put on a rope halter, how to lead a horse, holding him or her within a safe and secure space for each of us, respecting the boundaries we all need to keep in place. We were encouraged to touch the horses all over, with sensitive hands, tuning into muscle and bone and skin, areas of strength or of tenderness or pain. We gave healing and re-alignment where we could and received far more than healing in return. Dawn's horses 'work' with you. Its as if they become a channel for healing energy and you just have to be with them to receive it.
 
We all had the opportunity to receive a 'sensory experience' with a horse, where you sit (bare-back) on him or her and gently sink forward upon his neck, letting your arms fall to the side...such an amazing and hugely breathtaking yet totally peaceful feeling as you kind of blend into the energy of oneness and togetherness. After a while the horse seems to shift posture or simply swish his or her tail to signal the time to move into the second position and you lean back until you are laying down back to back. I was with Harry and as I lay on him I felt his muscles moving all along my spine, working with all my tensions and aches with the competance and sensitivity of an experienced masseur and chiropracter. I was able to go into a deeply receptive meditative space, until I felt Harry shifting and ready for the third position. This time you sit backwards on the horse and sink down on your front towards his tail and simply rest and receive. All the time Harry was held by another faclitator and I was flanked on either side by two more, ready to assist in gently steadying me as I moved into each position. We all learned to do this and it seemed so natural and it is true relationship between horse and human, a space of mutual honouring and respect for wellbeing in all its aspects.
 
Some of Dawn's Herd experienced their own Soul Journeys, laying down until the energies had cleared, and other times participating by journeying with individuals in our group. As the week went by we became One Herd, growing and expanding together, deeply connected in heart and soul, acknowledging and honouring each other in ways which were both powerful and gentle. The processes of healing, clearing, discovering and resolving have continued for us all. The energy of horse has been prominent in my dreams and in my day to day experience, in my meditations and when working with others. Recently, as I tuned in to give a young woman Reiki, four of the Heartshore horses 'appeared' and positioned themselves, energetically, like four pillars around her, holding a deeply grounding and balancing healing space for her, which was exactly what she needed at that time.
 
These words give only a taste of the amazing and unforgettable week we spent at Heartshore,  but I hope that in some way this honours all who were there, Horses, Humans and the Oneness we share.
 
Lucia Birch
Stevenage Survivors
November 2012

 


Essence

Was I me before I was born
Come to live in the body I have?
I guess I was, I’ve always been me,
The same near my end as I was at my start.
And is there an end, will I just stop?
If I existed before, I’ll exist after.
Where did I come from and where am I going?
My essence is mine, not formed in the womb
And no one can share it, I call it my soul;
At one with the world, a part of the whole.

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers




The Survivor

Three soldiers in a shell hole.
He was in the middle.
The guys on either side
Took bullets and they died,
Both shot in the head.
Three mates, now two were dead.
He was in a hell hole;
Mud and blood and piddle,
But he was alive.
He knew that he’d survive.
So, he got up and ran
Then died, a nice old man.

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers




Memories

We mustn’t forget how we got
To be who we are and where we are;
Looking at the photographs
Of family members from the past,
Many of whom we don’t recognise,
Elderly women and elderly guys,
People from previous generations
Who came here from other nations
Each with their stories, so many forgotten,
Trying to clamber from rock bottom,
Running from strife, to build a new life;
Seeking security, husband and wife
Who wouldn’t have met had they not left their homes
And taken a journey into the unknown.
Living in tenements, scratching a living,
Taking no handouts but constantly giving.
With children and in laws, nephews and nieces,
Now all scattered in separate pieces;
Deliberately seeking integration
Throughout their new adopted nation
As pillars of society,
Pictures of sobriety;
Proud of time and effort spent
Joining the establishment.
So from around the Country
Two meet at University
And find that they’re branches of the same tree.
Neither knew the other existed;
Long lost cousins with brothers and sisters,
Becoming firm friends without having to try,
To share pictures and stories of times gone by.

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers




Delusion

Most people are ugly, their features are gross,
But I am just lovely and nicer than most.
I am not vain but I have to be honest,
It’s just a shame that my name’s not Adonis.
I don’t only look good, my mind is supreme
And I understand I am every girl’s dream.
But as they’re not worthy I leave them alone
Because I would much rather be on my own.
I’ve not met my equal and doubt if I will.
Psychiatrists have said that, perhaps, I am ill.
They all talk such rubbish; I’ve clearly concluded,
Whilst thinking they’re clever they’re simply deluded.
Their theories all crumble; yet humble from birth
I just know that I am too good for this earth.

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers




Origins

One grandmother was Russian,
One grandpa was a Pole.
The other side, I think, was Dutch;
The Russians didn’t like them much
And it all ended up with me,
A bit of a miscellany.
An Englishman from Tottenham;
My foreign roots, forgotten them.
I was a cockney rebel,
Never far from trouble.
But from a youth that was misspent
I entered the establishment.
I got some qualifications
And then I got a wife
And when I got a mortgage,
I got a debt for life.
Then we produced two children
Who went to university.
They both took out their student loans
And now they are in debt, like me.
Worked hard to get my pension,
That’s much too small to mention,
From which I pay my debts and bills;
Yet, get free travel and free pills
And when I’m dead from all my ills
I still won’t be debt free.
I could have been a Russian,
A Dutchman or a Pole,
But as I am an Englishman
The bankers own my soul.

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers




Missing; Home and Abroad 1939 - 1945


In the last letter mummy had from France, daddy said he loved us and would be home soon.

Daddy lied; he didn’t come home and he must have lied about loving us, cos’ if he really loved us, he would have come home, wouldn’t he - if he could.

Mummy said he was just missing - well I’m missing too. I wonder if mummy has pain in her heart because I’m missing; like the pain, that squeezes my chest so tight my tears are trapped, because my daddy lied; and lies are bad and not good.

I’m on the bridge where I said goodbye to my daddy. I thought he might still be here and hadn’t gone anywhere at all; but there is no-one here and it’s lonely and quiet - not even any trains screaming and screeching their brakes.

So I shall be quiet and not even cry. You don’t cry when you're missing.

He’s not coming is he?

That’s why there is no screaming trains; because he’s dead and when you are dead everything is quiet and your not missing anymore.

Jan Hedger
GROW



Her World

She wore her coat of many colours
with sensual and proud aplomb

Threw on her simple print
cotton gown of French Rose
and headed for the bathroom

Emerging freshly showered in
creamy Honeysuckle White

She let slip the Paris Green
and in the reflection of Silver
saw the woman, who was the wife

Dressed the peachiness of her face
in delicate and sweeping strokes

Shrugged on Prussian Blue jeans
with a simple V-necked shirt
and embraced a mother’s looks

Her coat of many colours
Was worn throughout the day;

Golden corn and toasted wheat
Spilled orange on chequered floor
Black briefcase and Chelsea schoolbag
Waving good-bye on terracotta
Moulding pink, blue and lilac sheets
Green liquid in rainbow foam
Cleansing of bleach and ruby scarf
Blonde child strapped in silver car
Green-grocers and fresh brown bread
Metalled trolley in palette board store
Snuggled sleep and haze of quiet
A chance to sit for a bite to eat
Kicked of school shoes and portrait of red
Paint-chipped cars stretch across the room
Pink- iced biscuits and chocolate milk
Dolls are dressed in tangerine wool
Felt-tip, crayons and colouring books
Table cleared towards five a day
Superman p j’s and Peppa Pig nightie
Moving pictures of bedtime stories

Now her coat of many colours
Lent itself to culinary skills

Peeled off marigolds
untied a Sunflower apron
slipped out of faded espadrilles

Refreshed the sweeping strokes
soft pink lips, Copperglaze Sienna

Waved a spray of Cartier de Lune
glided into silk Ebony gown, and
onto bare shoulders, relaxed Henna

Guests departed, Midnight colour
Collar and tie pulled undone

Gown discarded on Beige pile
Lilac linen resting, soothing
wife, mother, became a lover

Monday brings extra colour
More embroidery to interweave

Tailored suit, hung behind
stripped pine; Black heels
point the end, of Maternity Leave

Jan Hedger
GROW



At The Bedside

He died in clean white sheets
And a folded corner bedspread
Not on a stretcher bound.

He died in a loved one’s arms
And a mother’s tear on his cheek
Not in a medic’s frantic hands.

He died in a peaceful room
And a breeze from the window
Not in the gritty desert lands.

He died in a scent of flowers
And a comb put through his hair
Not on a dishevelled ground.

Battlefield or bedside, it is still death
The death of a soldier, a father, a son
A husband, a brother, a person; someone.

Jan Hedger
GROW



Dignity Signed


Snares wait to trick back
Where In was once held
Without a pipe inside head

Mistakes following mistakes
Covering tracks deceiving
Taking head downward hold
Bent into squalor stink jolt
Stunk lied pulled muff grins
Grinding smile shuffle
Hard work to live a false-face
Masked to survive shame snare
Identity shameful keep-face
Snared bluffs filled air balloon
Swimming assembly assuming
Intent on tried trust broke
Broken bits soul rise
Real justice to heart of soul
To own self identity
Melt into truth
Shout down from below
Faced in the face of deal I
Owner of allowing all
Pride eye shoulders all mistakes
Wiser return to self dealt

John Sheehy


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