Category: Poetry

This isn’t my normal – #Poem #Disability

Hi folks,

It is high time I shared a poem from my book ‘InVerse Medicine’.

This one is about acquired disability and showcases how attitudinal and structural barriers can isolate the person and compound their struggle.

This wasn’t always my normal.

It isn’t normal for you either,
but it is my permanent.
It is here to stay…
a freak occurrence,
a chance encounter
with a vicious virus
that threw my normal
off kilter
– a mess of atrophied limbs –
while you cross your fingers,
and shy away
from making contact with me,
even though
I’m not contagious at all –
still, even your eyes
don’t look at me,
and you never call it
by its name.

person sitting on wheelchair
Photo by Marcus Aurelius on

I wasn’t born this way.
Perhaps if I had been,
I may never have discovered
that my newly acquired normal
is your abnormal,
and I might never have noticed
that your empathy
feels like pity,
and looks like reprieve.
But not for long, this reprieve,
it’s only postponement,
before your ability
melts away from aging,
and from over-confidence,
even as you design spaces,
and programs,
and whole countries
where access is able-bodied
and it lustily ignores
the fleeting nature
of your kind of normal.

Read more about my book here

There’s None so Unwise – #Poem

This poem was prompted by stories I’ve heard of paternalism in medicine where the lived experience of patients is often not accounted for during decision making. The decisions are, therefore, invariably lopsided and it’s no surprise that patients drop out or experience no benefit at all.

The tattoo on your forearm…
I see it – I see it change shape as you pen
the referral that will send me
to the place I don’t want to go.
You don’t see. You don’t see what I need.

The frown on your forehead…
I notice it – I notice it appear as I try and explain
that my shortened limb doesn’t need an orthopod;
it’s my anemia that’s brought me to your OPD.
You don’t notice. You don’t notice my lost autonomy.

The irritation in your voice…
I hear it – I hear it and it silences me;
you know better than me about anemia
but I understand better what I need.
Your experience doesn’t want to hear about my experience.

I leave
unseen, unnoticed, unheard.
Disappointed, silenced.

man in black blazer sitting on chair
Photo by cottonbro studio on

Perspectives: abilities and disabilites – #Poem

I’m currently engaged in changing the way we – me and others – view disabilities. This poem is an effort to change focus from what is different about others and to bring the spotlight on human attributes which are relatable and non-discriminating.

A poem on a white background

No Christmas for Old People – a poem

Merry Christmas to everyone!
May we find peace and contentment, tolerance and love.

Love everyone – even those who sometimes forget to love you back…

May such heartbreak never visit you…
Wishing you joy this festive season!

Gossamer memories – a poem

If there is one thing I would never wish on anyone, it’s this – cognitive decline and the loss of memory and judgment.

May such heartbreak never visit you…
Wishing you joy this festive season!

Not the happiest poem in the world…

I had promised that the next poem would be a joyous one, but there’s so much happening in the world that doesn’t make for happy words.
I hope to sit in my little garden tomorrow and be inspired to write about hope and beauty and courage and contentment. Until then, here’s today’s poem:

May heartbreak never visit you…
Wishing you joy!

The littlest things remind me of you – a Poem

Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes a part of you, step for step, breath for breath.

Jandy Nelson, The Sky Is Everywhere

Grief is weakness and strength; an ending and a beginning; a shattering and an anchoring; it is a journey without a predeterminable destination.

Wishing everyone happiness and light
and ending with a promise that the next post will be a joyous one…

Walled in, Left out – a Poem

There is a cost to every decision we make – there is gain, but also loss. How we find balance depends on factors that are different for all of us…

this Beleaguered heart
Bitter walls
of Hostile Disdain

Floundering in
Deep oceans
of the Darkest Despair

Did I save my barely beating heart only to lose my soul?

Images courtesy Lukas (Cracked Stone) and Engin Akyurt (Silhouette Photo of Woman) on

A Square Poem…or Two

Last week was the first I’d heard of the Square Poem or the Square Stanza. It is an utterly fascinating concept and [not-surprisingly] quite hard to pull off.

The trick is that the poem should read the same vertically down the page and horizontally across the page. Obviously then, and also to make it a true ‘square’, the number of words per line must equal the number of lines. This form is attributed to Lewis Carroll – you can read his creation here: The Society of Classical Poets.

After a zillion tries, here is what I came up with. This is 3×3 square poem:

Until life ends
life is love…
ends love…beginnings

Here’s where it shows what I mean about the poem reading the same way down the page as it reads across the page

old couple holding hands in hospital
Photo by Muskan Anand on

Here is another one – this time, a 4×4 Square Poem

Pain is sullen companion
is persistent distracting rhythm
sullen distracting relentlessly punishing
companion rhythm punishing me

person sitting on floor with arms around knees

Try writing one yourself. Remember only that the more words you strive for per line, the harder it becomes to write something that makes sense.

There are other mathematical forms of poetry – and also what is called the ‘Classic’ Square Poem [or the ‘Syllable’ Square as opposed to the Carroll Square] – where the number of syllables per line equal the number of lines in the stanza. Read more about the various forms in the links in this post.

Have fun experimenting! I did…

War: a #poem

Is it greed;
a hunger for power;
hatred for humankind
and for every living being?
How is war ever an answer to anything?
How can war answer the questions of food security, and health, and happiness, and shelter for all the creatures on this planet?

Tanks trundle down blameless streets;
merciless feet march ever onward
trampling the fruit of other men’s labor;
the blood flows rich red, quenching nobody’s thirst;
war changes everything – everybody loses – and still…
yet another president reaches for the bugle

steel metallic copper shoot
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on