Our government has announced a day of reflection. Just one day? Reflection is what poetry is all about. Every day. A poem is a comment on an aspect of life.
March 23rd is a National Day of Reflection. Namely a day dedicated to remembering the victims of Covid 19 and the bereaved families. Also, the people who worked throughout the pandemic, battling their own worries about transmitting the virus along with staff shortages and constantly changing working practice.
I was in the front line for much of it – care home management is a difficult balancing act at the best of times. This was the worst of times!!
What will I reflect on?
But what will I take away from the period to reflect on in the years to come? Oh it’s not pretty! You can read a full account on Through-The-Glass, where I post random rants and life comments. I’ll link out to that later. But here is a flavour:
She smiled from behind the mask Her voice soothed his troubled mind And brought him out of the living torment of his past To the comfort of words that were kind But meant nothing. And yet – there was something – A memory, perhaps a mother, A worried lover, Someone who cared enough to wait, To pray that his fate was not to fall, He met her tired eyes and behind her, the medals proudly hung on the wall Heroes all. And yet, a call from a hack "You all lack compassion - It's become a fashion to neglect and abuse, It's all over the news...do you have anything to say?" Sir, go away: we've more important things to do Than to be misquoted by you. Please tell the world we're decent souls Underpaid for challenging roles Who are here when others aren't. We know the rules, understand they can't. But we're surely worth some gratitude, not your filthy attitude!, So please, let us do what we do We're far too busy to be judged by you!
We did not ask to be heroes! I need to reflect on my anger!
I often write to get my frustrations – or those of others – out onto paper. Then I can detach and reflect. Am I being fair – am I over-reacting – can I help that person by talking to them – should I leave well alone…? My Girls Talk poems are written about the issues that women reflect on.
A poet reflects every day
A Day of Reflection could be used to hold a hand mirror up to one’s life path.
Look in the rear-view mirror – reflect on your past. What has shaped who you are today. Are your insecurities staring at you from their source? See how each step has led to this point. Every decision, every life event, every happening has brought you here.
The woman in the mirror smiled back at her And together they walked down memory lane. To that place that was theirs alone The place that was always the same. They laughed with the child that had been them And all three danced hand in hand In a summer seaside memory Of warm sun-drenched sand.
See in that mirror how every step has been yours – even what you cannot control has options: your actions or reactions to it.
How often do you live in the past…worrying about events that happened years ago…wishing you had said this, or maybe that.
Do you see mistakes reflected in the mirror? Do you pick over them, trying to apportion blame elsewhere? Hating yourself? Have your musings ever changed anything?
You could spend this day of reflection looking back at times you messed up. Or resurrecting past hurts. But what a waste of time and energy! Unless of course you learn not to repeat it.
Mulling over things that embarrass or hurt you is a compellingly dark spiral. There is little you can do to alter the past and yet it keeps re-emerging. Consequently, you live it over and over.
Where does the present go whilst you are time travelling backwards?
Once more she found herself reflected in that mirror The ghosts of the past haunting her, Taunting her with her own thoughts, Foolish mistakes that no-one else makes. Her guilt. Her shame. She shouldered the blame and its weight threatened to crush her. In a suffocating rush the pain of the years pressed down - Misplaced trust, unfounded fears, And she stood like stone - How could she atone for being who she was? Apologise because her reactions were wrong when she tried to be strong, And the times she didn’t speak…fool! So weak! The more she reflected, the more she neglected – Lessons unlearned….the clock of the present turned Whilst she lived a life she had lived before A life she could not change any more. The mirror showed it all, even though she tried to forget it She could not let it go.
So, use this day of reflection to consider the past couple of years, the pandemic and its victims. The victims who died or lost loved ones, or people whose lives were turned upside down.
Use it too to reflect on years gone by, with a view to only repeating what makes you smile.
Reflection can be a two-way mirror!
BUT also turn the mirror round and reflect on the present. What are you grateful for, what makes you happy?
Look deeper into it – see who you were back then. Is that old you staring back at who you are now? Goodness, how far you’ve come!
How many of the worries that keep you awake at night can you release? You have grown since these things happened, maybe you are ready to let them go now.
It is time!
There is an open road stretching out before you – your road! Step out with confidence!
My dementia poetry comments on a condition that makes the mirror reflect a stranger.
I write for my other site, Motorhome Hobos. We have a new ebook freshly published. HOW TO FIND YOUR PERFECT MOTORHOME. If you’re considering the purchase of a motorhome or campervan, make sure you read this book first. Mistakes can be very costly indeed – our ebook talks you through every step of the way and could save you thousands of pounds.
I also have an ebook dedicated to explaining dementia to children using verse. Children engage with rhymes and I am passionate about “getting dementia out there” – demystifying it. Making life easier for those with the condition, their families and carers.