Come Into The Garden – shortly after her 80th birthday my mother had a series of mini strokes which brought on vascular dementia. At the same time my father was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It was a time of anger and confusion, tears and loss, but also of love, grace and absurdly funny moments. The poems, written over two years, chronicle my journey with them through that time and the clearing of the old family house in Birmingham.
Published by Lulu Press, available in London libraries Reading Well Books on Dementia collection. Buy a signed copy directly from the author (£10 incl P+P) by contacting disherlock1[at]gmail[dot]com.
Performed reading with Di, Linda Marlowe and John Constable and cellist Elinor Gow with specially-commissioned cello accompaniment by Lucas Garner for BBC Philharmonic.
‘This is an extraordinary poem telling the story of an ordinary family from Birmingham…It is a love story of such beauty and depth it takes the breath away and teaches us everything there is to know about family life and family love.’
Nell Dunn, playwright & author.
‘Bad things don’t necessarily make good poetry but when I read them, with joyful recognition. Even as a grown up being orphaned is a journey. Recommended.’
Anna Raeburn, broadcaster & journalist (Capital Radio, LBC, BBC R4)
‘The combination of poetry and everyday speech is very powerful and moving’
Cicely Herbert, poet, founder member of ‘Poems on the Underground’.
‘The poet describes the sudden and devastating effects of the onset of unexpected illness, the confusion that besets a family in these circumstances, and the humiliation brought on by physical decay.
‘Towards the end
The hands that hammered sheet metal,
Wove the air with the delicacy
Of Japanese fans
Fluttering around the beaker
He could not get a grip of.
The humiliation of juice spilled,
What is particularly interesting about this book is the poet’s final observation that you can get ‘stuck’ in grief or, with time, you ‘move on’; either way, the grief doesn’t just go away’.
Lorna Swain in ‘Therapy Today’
The Memory Poems – poems inspired by people living with early stage Alzheimer’s, commissioned by Westminster Arts.
Out There – flash fiction. Silhouette Press