Dancing the hokey cokey – Peter Annear

Who does she think she is?
No wonder there’s some flack
some unease
and indignation.
How can she make us whole
make us think,
make us change
when no-one asked her?
What right has she
to turn this stuff upside down,
us to remain level headed?
No; to expect us to know
we’re upside down and start from there.
So precious


I used her idea of “First Aid Kits for the mind” as part of a self-esteem project with young d/Deaf students. In this case we had empty boxes for the youngsters to post their thoughts, comments, advice, support, wishes, prayers, dreams and nightmares. That’s all I knew of her then and I wish I had known more.
Title and beyond triggered by reading Jackie Kay’s Guardian obituary 16/04/05

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You Left Early – Jean Rochester

When I last saw her
She was surrounded by girls
Young and old girls
Would-be writers –
Caught up in her enthusiasm.

She had lost her hair
But no-one worried about that.
Her joyous life had returned
She was back in the world she loved.

That night she brought
Loving encouragement and
Inspiration into our lives. –
We still love and miss you Julia.

You left early with a joyous farewell.


I thought you might like to see this poem about Julia, by 87 year old Jean Rochester, who brought it to Sunderland’s Foyle Street Writers group this morning.
Jean’s failing eyesight prevents her from using her computer so I’m sending this to you on her behalf.
Best wishes
Sylvia Forrest

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Writing the Contours – Jessica Wortley

This body is a story for those who would listen.
Its scars are words.
Its curves punctuation.
This skin sings lyrical,
its breath is rhyme.

It holds its history in the way it stands,
in the way it leans.
Calling, drawing you in,
so that you too become the narrative.


I found Julia’s poetry particularly comforting when my Grandmother was dying. Her words helped me greatly to put things into perspective, and have been a source of strength ever since.  I hope you enjoy reading them. Jessica Wortley

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