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Poem: Ode to Parkinson’s

Poet and Edinburgh Branch member Vicki Feaver was commissioned by the Forward Arts Foundation to write a poem on the theme of Choice for this year’s National Poetry Day. This is the poem she wrote, in which she starts out seeing her Parkinson’s as an enemy and ends up seeing it as a friend.


 

Ode to Parkinson’s

You began as my enemy:

slowing my steps,

shaking my left arm

and leg, scaring me

with what you’d do next.

 

I once banished a burglar

by rushing downstairs

shrieking like a Maenad.

But we were locked together

in a wobbly dance.

 

The more frantic I got

the more I juddered,

like a wind-up doll

or jiggling puppet.

We got on best

 

when I took the lead:

moving my body

with sudden speed,

exaggerated slowness,

or intentional force.

 

The same with my mind:

free to roam, it raced

towards catastrophe.

I had to change it

to see you as a friend.

 

You were in me for years

but waited to show

until my mind and body

were in danger of settling

into old-age stupor.

 

You jolted me awake:

challenging me to live

every minute left to me,

to burst into flower

like a desert cactus.

 

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