Life, Death, & Poetry

2000-09-03 13.03.23

“I guess there were all my sons” – Arthur Miller

“A flag! A flag.” – Edgar Lee Masters

There are times when none of us are able to do anything, anything at all, that helps.

That saves.

That can heal, or help start the process of healing.

As someone who chose to work in a fairly sharp end of mental health, this frustrates me.

And, I’ll be honest, being bipolar carries its own truckload of what can present as overwhelming, tsunammi -like feelings.

Then, too, there’s my age: not yet old enough for a bus pass, or state pension. Or, to be able to blurt out: “I’m 83!”, in the middle of a radio, or TV interview.

Just old enough to feel beaten up by life, and, well, shit happening.

Because shit does happen. Bipolar or not, I have to deal. To keep going.

And also, to grieve.

In another life, I wrote poetry. I still do, occasionally. This is an old one, from a collection published by Smith / Doorstop Books, titled “An American in South Yorkshire”. There’s a poem in it about a soldier. It could be any soldier.

From either of my countries.

Talking to Flags

I who am probably
about to depart
would salute you, but
there’s rather a lot
going on just now, and
not nearly enough time to
give my regards
to a blue white and red
bit of cloth, well,
really do love my
country, you see, but

I’d rather not die for
it: rather raise
or taxes or

That fellow who said death
concentrates the mind
had the right of it:
just now I’m concentrating
on turning nineteen.

Cupola starlings 23 10 12





About Sheila North

I am an author and ex-journalist, who has written novels, short stories, and poems. I also help facilitate a writers' group. Check me out on Amazon:
This entry was posted in mental health, Poetry, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Life, Death, & Poetry

  1. blahpolar says:

    That is a very good poem! I like it a lot – lovely balance of cynicism and wit and a good rhythm to both.

    • sjn25 says:

      Thank you. Rewrote it a bit, but not a lot, from the original. Don’t remember what I was so angry about, 25 years ago.

      I do now.

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