Down the valley and back

I feel better when I walk to Quorn from Barrow

On pavements laid by water meadows

Set close by the River Soar

Slabs stretch for half a mile or more

Bordered by the thick lush grass

Fields of forage fed by floods.

When rain has rinsed the surface stone

The pathway gleams as clean as new

High pitched pylons frame my view

Amphibia discharge their spawn

Runners and ramblers step in turn

To trickle through the watery marsh

Sometimes I’ll take a stick or staff.

Slabs might be raised or cracked or sunk

Briskly tread both rough and smooth

Better put my worst shoes on

So I can risk the mud and sludge.

Cattle, seagulls, herd and flocks

Swans in pairs and dogs in packs

Trace my footsteps if I run.

Liveried narrow boats in line

Fly flapping flags of pants and jeans

Through the Soar’s black liquid brew

Throbbing engines stir and screw.

Though my return is straight and narrow

From well fed Quorn to bony Barrow

Tin trailers on a caravan park

Wink temptation in the dusk.

Might orange sunsets light the sky

Above green grass where pavements lie?

Beyond the lenses

From my host I see beyond differences
deeper than the outer surface.
They disguise me, veiled behind lenses
but I see through these.
For some I am cells, capillaries and upside down retinal images;
for others false lashes, bright colours and drawn lines.
Laughter lines, crow’s feet, age lines
Don’t distract me.
Green, grey, blue, brown are the same to me.
Optical illusions are my party trick,
but don’t be under your own illusion
I am, as said, the windows to the soul.
I see the depth of every emotion
from the heartache of displacement to sheer undiluted happiness,
from early longing to the steadiness of old love
I see it all
And when two eyes look back it lifts me
when they see beyond my body to who I really am.

I climb a mountain

I climb a mountain
Walking steadily leaving life behind.
Away from the frantic high street,
away from the kids, the house.
No computer, no work,
no signal.
I breathe the cool, clear air.
I feel the stillness.
I look down and the world stretches in front of me,
my dog and I are happily alone.
The exertion energises and clears my mind,
Every step filling my body with the mountain’s steadiness,
every rock shares its jagged strength.
On the summit I am an eagle ready to fly,
I perch and ponder
fruit cake and cheese never tasted so good.

I feel better when I am writing

I feel better when I am writing
Sat still, sat poised I write free
This gift of writing is time set aside for me
The pen on the paper, the words just flow
I never know what I’ll be writing or which way I will go
I write out thoughts, feelings and worries, I unravel and unwind
A few brief thoughts on paper, enough to untangle my mind
There are notes on happy days, an idea for a short story or a list of things to plan
It’s always surprising what appears on the page, I write when I can
So stop a while to sit and write,
A calming thing to do,
Remember you write for no-one else
You only write for you

Breaking free

Breaking free

A barbed wire cage of shame imprisons me.
My feathers plucked, jaw cracked, I nurse my sores,
bedraggled, bloodied, gagging to be free.

I feel unclean. Abusers sneer, agree
blame lies with me alone. Support withdraws.
A barbed wire cage of guilt imprisons me.

My fractured wings hang limp. I puke. I pee.
I peck. I squawk. I scratch with sharpened claws,
bedazzled, bloodied, struggling to be free.

Dark deeds denied, dismissed as fantasy,
injustice fuels desire to settle scores.
My barbed wire rage implodes, imprisons me.

Perhaps if this… or that… or they could see
the truth… I bargain, beg, implore just cause,
bedeviled, bloodied, haggling to be free.

I pause… forgive, reclaim autonomy.
I rise on eagles’ wings, my spirit soars
as barbed wire softens, shrinks, releases me.
No grudge or shame, acceptance sets me free.

I feel better when…

I feel better when…

I smell new books, a bonfire, fennel tea;
I hear winds whisper, whistle, murmur, swirl;
I stroke a conch shell, polished ebony;
I see a rosebud ready to unfurl;

I knit a trauma teddy, twiddle-muff;
I play my oboe, scrape its pesky reeds;
I write a sonnet, therapeutic stuff;
I feed my garden robin sunflower seeds;

I find my voice, you empathise with me;
I lose my fear, fight stigma, shun taboo;
we share ideas, campaign for dignity;
you love me for myself, not what I do.

Now still, I know the truth of Abraham,
the everlasting arms. I AM: I am.

Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue

I lay back on the grass
Ponder the past
Tortuous pain
Won’t let the blue mood last

Because from out of the blue
An incredible view
Where the clouds become cliffs
The sky an ocean of blue

And I dream

I dream of holidays
Warm soothing seas
My imaginary place
To escape reality

Colour the mood to a different hue
Cast off the pain
Dive out into the blue
Savour the moment and live again

Come on out of the blue to
An incredible view
Where the clouds become cliffs
The sky an ocean of blue


I feel better when……..
I close my eyes and listen
Absorb each sound I hear
The serenity of nature
My mind begins to clear

The distant hum absorbs me
Entwines me in its peace
The present feels a better place
I feel a slow release

Each creak, each tick, each rustle
Is a magnet to my mind
I listen with a purpose
Distractions left behind

I hear my breath and heart beat
The rhythm of my soul
My body is my temple
And my mind regains control


Mindfulness by Helen Washington

Congratulations Helen!

Mindfulness was chosen for the composition part of the College Music Project
Click here to find out more



I feel better when I see the sun shine in the morning
Cat purring in my ear; dog yawning lazily from a night curled up on the floor
Birds singing loudly perched within the trees
And the traffic outside is quiet as the day for me begins

I smile when the flowers are blooming bright and bold and proud
Dewdrops glistening balancing on leaves
Spiders spinning webs galore, rainbows high above the sky
Butterflies flying, bees buzzing and birds dancing along washing lines

My dog running across the fields on a sunny day makes me smile
Tongue wagging out the side, eyes so wide
Looks like she is laughing as she runs head held high
Leaping across the swaying bushes, tail towards the sky

My granddaughter balancing on her toes trying to reach me
The grin on her face as she greets me
Clapping her hands, singing and dancing
Laughing and giggling, that always makes me smile

So when my heart is heavy and I start to feel down
I think of these things to turn it around
I close my eyes and visualise and
then I feel much better; then my heart begins to smile.


Autumn is a time of many shades
Unending colours of myriads of leaves
Tiny insects find their nests under and between the clusters
Up until the spring appears no knowledge of life will emerge
Merging into the colours of the next years new chapter of life
Never repeating the formation of years before

Spring Time

Songbirds are singing, snow is melting and swallows are nesting
Primroses and Robins and butterfly’s and pansies
Rivers rushing with melted winter snow and rabbits playing.
Icicles melting in the frozen snow
Narcissi, newts and new shoots.
Green grass on hills surrounding babbling brooks and daffodils
Trees, tadpoles and tulips.
Iris flowers around the streams I am lucky to stand here in the midst of them
Marigolds with bright golden heads and mistletoe for wishing, with frost on melting.
Evergreen and the smell of earth as the sun warms the winter crust, every sound and whisper is heard across the countryside fluttering in the new breezes