Shiny Side Out

You taught me
It was fine to dance alone
push back the terrors
explore my inner minx
dig deep to excavate buried joys
permit the lightest fingertip trickles
on sun kissed skin
trace the nape, slip hips, tap heels
in sync to heart stopping beats
sing,  dream, let go.

You taught me
it was time
to express ideas stored in recesses
long since forgotten,
to experiment,  find merriment,
I used to be strong
you reminded me  I still   am.

You taught me
I didn’t need permission to be
rather more pressing to remain, free
question everything
have the courage of conviction,
see life from an alternate view
through a different lens
to stay awake
speak from the soul
stand for the self
and how   not  to be   cold.

You taught me
to walk and talk again
whipped me gently from afar
sometimes I talked to excess
that desperation to express
long-locked-in notions of woes
gifts, all-seeing eyes, loss, moonlit words
in blue-black skies,  love.

You taught me
it was just grand to have a hand held
grasped and warm
basking in yonder glow of yearning
for yesteryear contentment.

You re-taught
then brought back my smile
it’s still there,
every time your initial flashes up
on screen
and I pick up to hear you say,

“One foot   in front   of the other.”

Kate O’Shea is a poet and photographer from Enniskillen. She has written a first book of poems titled The Human Condition and is working on a second book during these stay-at-home days of lockdown, though she admits it is something of a work in progress.

Kate is a proud co-founder of The Thing Itself, a social event which supports artists from far and wide in poetry, spoken word and song.


One thought on “Shiny Side Out”

  1. I realise the newspaper death notification must consider family sensibilities in its terminology. We need to read such news in graphic truthful notifications like. “Killed himself/herself due to no help from social services”. I echo its bland spokesperson responding to the coroner: “I would say we were unable to shape and provide care and support appropriate to their needs.” Tony Blair’s classic get-out- clause for care denied: “Unmet Need.” A term now adopted by social services.
    I knew KM. through Fermanagh Writers. She was at times a tortured soul. Pendulum-like she swung between coping and struggle with a range of demons. She emailed me from time to time. I always complimented her on her poetry. I found her verse difficult: there was a Rachel Cusk tone. Like that author’s prose, K’s themes of tearing at and scratching scabs of her personal suffering dominated. I know K. was devoted to her mother. Her recent death must have pitched K. into an abyss of remorse; so deep she could not rise from her sorrows. She introduced her mother to me on some joyous occasion: it was while celebrating her daughter’s poem’s publication.
    I grieve for both. Grief is mixed with joy. I am glad we chimed a mutual chord of connection with K. through writing. If I have access to a car on Monday 8th I will go to hearse honour her in the Enniskillen Funeral Home. Another friend is gone. All that survives of her is love. As she goes to her final resting place I will tell myself: “K – You will only be truly dead if I should ever fail to remember You.”
    Anthony J M Brady
    Extract from – On Suicide – sent to local Fermanagh Papers.

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