Poetry Mondays: And so it goes

I wrote this poem after a reunion with an old family friend. The first question was ‘how are you?’ followed by ‘what are you doing now?’ This poem is my response. 

What are you doing nowadays?

I gulp, taking in a deep breath

And repeat those four words;

I’m… I’m taking a gap year.

Instantly I’m filled with grief

And regret; my gap year started as

1 year.

Then 2 –

Now 3 years later

I’m still no better.

We base and place


On school, study and

Successes –

I see my illness far from


But it is a story

That needs to be told


I live with an illness

That clips your wings

Shallows your breath

And hollows out

Your hopes;

It’s the devil I know.

I’m afraid of saying –

I’m recovering; I’m looking after my health.

Telling the truth

Doesn’t seem to cut it,

Does it?

As soon as these words

Creep out,

(Out of habit)

I have hurt

The warrior inside; she has been fighting for me

And I ignore that –

I’m sorry.

I’m not healthy

I’m sick.

And have been

For 7 years.

It’s shit and stressful,

To say the least –

But I persist.

I cover up my scars;

My story studded with white-lies.

A sanguine spiel


From the turmoil.

Empty words

And cheesy smiles;

Pour me another glass.

Why do I put myself

Through these frivolities

And trivialities?


The truth is distressing,

Depressing and dark –

Are you ready?

Yes. I was once

A young woman

With the world

At her fingertips.

I glowed,

My thoughts flowed –

I was a force

To be reckoned with;

A true born leader.

(I once wished to be Prime Minister…)

I was blessed with

A love for life,

Sometimes I try to cling

To her –

But there is only


I know the stigma

That surrounds CFS

(And the rest.)


I’m ashamed.

I carry this illness

Because I have to.

I’m strong

Because I have to be.

I’m brave

Because I’ve learnt to be.

I’m optimistic

Because I’ve dodged


I appear in control

Because that’s what I say to myself;

I’ve got this.

How do you answer these questions? Do you say ‘I’m fine’ and change the direction of the conversation? Or do you honestly say how you are?


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