‘Social media’ is an oxymoronic term,
for an anti-social vortex of selfies
and vacuous, virtue-signalling
An artificial world of preening,
Who needs a real person to talk to?
Log on instead, and get hoarse from shouting.
Like, share, retweet, repeat;
Like, share, retweet, repeat;
The 21st century hymn.
Forget competing with the Jones’s next door,
you now keep up with Kourtney and Kim.
We live in self-constructed Potemkin villages,
our lives measured by clicks.
But why? Swapping a book for Facebook
is like ditching a Sunday roast for a Twix.
All the world is a stage and we are all players,
said the immortal Bard.
But switch off, log off, live life in the real world,
and end the unhealthy charade.
Rediscover your soul.
Clouds are in the sky, not cyberspace.
Blackberries are delectable fruit, not outdated phones.
And words like cowslip, conker, hazel and heather,
cardamom, moss and ragweed,
roach, rudd, dace and pike,
mean more than ‘snapchat’, ‘emoji’ or ‘ringtone’.
Tunnel in my Mind
I sit alone and hear the distant rumble of a train.
as it comes rushing down the tunnel in my mind.
Tense, I know it carries a mental cargo of worry,
and realise I must search for the courage to unwind.
The doctor’s tell me I must be strong,
and with total love my family are helping me.
Anxiety sometimes weighs heavy like a shroud,
but I know their continued support will set me free.
At times the world seems a harsh, hostile place,
where dark shadows crowd in to plague our senses.
Only with others help and understanding can I survive,
and it’s with their tolerant care I build my defences.
There’s no denying the pace of life can be a challenge,
and no shame at times feeling low and depressed.
But from the smiles on the faces of family and friends,
they see my struggles and I know they’re impressed.
Trees and nature have been my saviours, literally. If it were not for the serenity given freely by nature I think my life would not have recovered. Trees in particular. Why trees? They are so much bigger than me. To really examine trees and also scientifically, makes me ponder their amazing connections with each other and how they help each other along their intertwining super highways, grabbing in damaging carbon and expressing oxygen into the atmosphere, helping us too. My current work is about climate change leading on from my ‘serenity’ paintings of trees.
Everyone does have mental health, I have experienced poor mental health and have my ups and downs. I have also had very satisfying jobs helping others with their mental health issues. Helping humbles me and helps me to realise my place on earth, with others, with nature.
Hours on trains gazing out of the bubble tube of the train, wishing to be in those fields and forests and imagining myself running along the side of the train, some amorphous transparent like me, slowing and pulling back like some sad conquered thing, staying out of the city, the industry, the commerce, the materialism, the concrete and tarmac, and I pine for my serenity.
It’s now nineteen and a half months since you died and I miss you as much as ever.
The middle of the week, when it slumps, is when I miss you most. I miss your midweek messages inviting me over for a ‘cuppa’. You always said ‘cuppa’. I loved that familiarity. I don’t know anyone else who uses that word. But then I don’t know anyone else like you.
You were a one-off. The grief I felt at your loss totally overwhelmed me for a while. I couldn’t understand what was happening. There’s been a heap of processing for me to do. I’ve lost my go-to person and my best and nearest friend.
At your house, sometimes at mine, over our cuppas, you told me about your old and long-standing friendships. They were friends who you regularly made annual, or twice annual trips to visit. I didn’t make the connection that those trips incurred a cost. My immature and frankly, tottery, emotions were still ruling me then.
Now at last I’m healing and emotionally stable enough to appreciate (and not mind) that your old friendships were part of who you were. They fed and fortified you in mind and body. I have a few old friends of course but instability only drains me. At the time when I could have been forming lifelong friendships I was fickle.
We were the same age, born in the sixties, and while my family wasn’t always there for me, yours was. Your big, laughing, blood-bonded family provided solid ground to stand on and taught you how to be what you were. So, really (I get it now) I was a neighbour – one of the ones you spoke up for because for you, a woman of faith, the Christian teaching about loving neighbours was a driving force. I so needed you, my neighbour. To me you offered unlimited reliability, honesty and kindness. And, of course, you were there.
I’m glad you had those old and true friends, not standing any feigning or pretence, because you (and they) have taught me how to be real. Now, without you, I’m trying to really live. I’m trying to be honest and accept myself, believing as I now do, that I was worthy of being your loved neighbour. I’m trying to practice what you taught me. To bear up against the dry and stinging desert sands of grief and let the rains come in their season. I’ve got myself in the queue and I’m patiently waiting and watching for the agitation of the healing waters.
Ann, if you can, just reach down, will you love, and give me a little helpful push, if at all I lose my nerve.