A stitch in time…

They say a stitch in time saves nine

But who knows that we are broken

When our smiles catch the light and we mesmerise with our stories of hope

And our lives unfold like a picture book

Full of Princes, Princesses and perfection

No poverty here, no lack of good cheer- no sleep deprived hell

Or whispers of madness.

 

They say a stitch in time saves nine

But who knows we are broken

When we give with compassion

And our public persona is playfully convivial,

Full of charismatic colourful conversation disguising the trivial.

No hidden hopelessness here, no silent solitutude, no depth of despair

Or signals of worthlessness wounding within.

 

We march on.

We playfully tease.

We make small talk

With skillful ease.

 

We wish you had seen our innermost thoughts.

We wish you had been a true friend of sorts.

We wish you had held out your hand to take ours.

We wish you had noticed that whilst we spoke through flowers

We were broken, bereft, beyond all life’s care.

All we wanted was you to be there, to lift up our spirits

Make the sun shine,

And be the stitch in time that saves nine.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

I wrote this for a prompt earlier in the week at d”verse but missed the widget, so here it is for open link night. Love to you all. XXXXX Love for the lost. XXXX

 

 

 

June already….

This is my first post in quite a few weeks. It was a glorious May, the weather was sunny and bright and the fields, shrubs and trees blossomed. For me though, I needed to conserve energy, close in and give myself room to breathe.

It was a time of despair, frustration, discord, reassessment, consolidation and repair. It took time and it took silence. Time to listen to the sounds and focus on the real things and let go of the white noise and the humdrum and the background churnings that distract and destroy.

I continually ask myself what it is that is important- to me, to others, to our world. I am not sure I have the answers, I am not sure they are the right questions, I just know that the disillusionment of the last year sapped my energy greatly and I must remember not to let myself get sucked in again by its draining darkness. I can still believe in what seems right to me, it is not for others to decide by either their actions or inactions, I still get to choose what I feel, how I greet each day, how I process the events that happen to me and around me. This helps me get up and reach for a new day, a new dream a new horizon. I am not broken, just bruised and a little misshapen and the bruises will heal in time.

Carpe diem- seize the day. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

Voices of Whittingham….Past lives in an Asylum.

This is again for mental health awareness week. I spent some time today at the archives in Preston. I am currently participating in a local history/arts/creative writing/mental health project. It is based around the Whittingham Asylum at Preston and it aims to give a voice to the lives and stories that played out there. It was a very large Asylum and Preston was very proud of it, there were about 500 staff and often as many as 3000 inpatients.

Whittingham Lives Project.

I have learned a lot in such a few sessions and certainly had some of my own assumptions challenged. The Asylum opened in 1873 and had patients sent there from all over the north-west of England, many of the other Asylums, workhouses, almshouses were already bursting at the seams. It was regarded as a model Asylum and postcards of its external facade were sold as memorabilia. There were extensive gardens where fruit and vegetables were grown and it even had its own orchestra. Underneath this facade still lurked the very real horrors of Victorian poverty and the mental health of a scarred nation. End-stage syphilis was one of the significant causes of the mental and psychotic decline that resulted in many people spending their end of days in the Asylum and in the period of World War 1, both shell-shock and a form of hydrocephalus resulting from the Spanish flu were  responsible for increased demand for spaces and places within the Asylum. The superintendent’s journal from 1873-95 was stark to begin with detailing the very worst events including the frequent dismissals of staff for what can only be described as physical abuse of the inpatients and the frequent outbreaks of scarlatina, diarrhoea and typhoid, whilst rules and regulations resulted in greater detail in later entries, including the deaths from misadventure, poor health and at their own hand.

The Asylum had its own cemetery. People came and went though, it wasn’t always the end of the road and when the photographer that came to capture the newly admitted, those well enough would ask to have images taken to show they were well and recovered to send to their loved ones with the plea to come and take them away.

Today we were considering restraint, emotional, physical and chemical.

I wrote this for Charlotte.

 

In Chains

Into the light, beyond the bands that bind me tight,

Into the dawn, beneath the hands that hold me down,

Into the sunlight, the stench of starch and sulphur stings my eyes

Into the madness, my muddled mind festers in fetid fettered manacles.

Deliver me.

© Alison Jean Hankinson

 

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Just one moment…

It is Mental Health Awareness week Mon 14th onwards in the UK and I wanted to take a moment to focus on the moment.

 

each moment is distinct

it may or may not relate to the preceding moment

it may or may not be followed by a moment of equal or even greater magnitude

it is what it is- a moment.

 

It will pass

It will be superseded

It will be vanquished, resurrected, redefined, it will shine redolent as the star in its own story

And then be gone….to make way for the next moment.

Always remember this.

It is a moment.

It will pass.

 

© Alison Jean Hankinson

 

 

 

The day we fell….

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,

We remember them each and everyone, every year, it is our duty

We solemnly speak their names, we treasure their memories in our hallowed halls

We honour their fate on memorials and museum walls.

 

Kick back, flashlight, night flare

We are back there

I do solemnly swear to bring honour and bear witness

To my country but he is missing in action.

tap tap….clack clack…. frack frack

I scour the wall of missing people.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

 

First line taken from For the Fallen- by Laurence Binyon. Last line taken from “Leaving time” Jodi Picoult. For Bridging the Gap at d’Verse.

 

Listing

Sometimes I just want to shout man overboard

I wonder if they notice me drowning in my sea of despair

The waves washing over me eroding my will to rise above the tide

of hopelessness.

 

Sometimes I just want to shout man overboard

It as if I have been listing too long

I can’t hold on anymore and I am driftwood at sea

Destined to become seaweed and seashells for beachcombers in the longshore drift.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

It was a man overboard kind of week. This is for Napowrimo18. Day 27. Fragile.

 

 

This toxic environment…(selfishness)

What is wrong with you people-

That you stand and stare and revel in the mistakes of others?

What is wrong with you people-

That your putrid pleasure comes from the pain and suffering of another person?

 

What happened to make this a fetid fertile pit of futility

With despair and desperation dribbling down the sides of our decadent lives

Our dreams crumble and turn to dust, mere ashes of former aspirations.

Why can’t we forgive and forget and rebuild and restate

And redress the balance.

 

This toxic environment-

These wasted moments

These lonely voices

These damaged hearts.

 

I tell thee look up before it is too late.

 

© Alison Jean Hankinson

Day 21 Napowrimo2018– Enough said. The theme was narcissism.-