State Of Mind


I’m going down deep.
Every hour or so
When I’m edgy and rattled,
I’m going to breathe slow,
and simply let go.

I’m going up high.
I’m going to lie
on a cloud and head for
the sky!
I’ll put everything else to one side
and just go for a ride.

I’m going down deep,
and I’m going up high,
but I’m not going far.
An infinite distance
is right where we are.

One of the things about ME (or chronic fatigue syndrome) is that you have much less than most people of what in a computer is called RAM – random access memory – the part of your brain that can quickly recover things that you’re currently concerned with, and lets you do one thing while mentally stacking up a fair few others in the background. I can’t do this. If I try, or if I have to do it for more than about a minute, I crash, just like a computer with not much RAM. And I mean crash – both mentally and physically.

This has been happening a lot lately, and so I’ve been gently steering myself into calmer waters. Coping with ME a lot of the time involves trying to create new neural pathways, and at the pace of a snail, or a glacier, changing the patterns that are hard-wired in my brain.

There are lots of ways to do this. Lying on my back with my eyes shut, and letting words slide about without interfering with them until they arrange themselves into a poem is just one.

State of Mind is this week’s photo challenge.

10 thoughts on “State Of Mind

    1. Ah, thanks, Cate! I’ve been meaning to tell you that yesterday I had the most sublime unwinding session gazing at your orchids – which are heavenly. Like a flight of exotic birds! Thank you so much for that beautiful post!

    1. Thanks. It’s taken me a very long time to learn this, and you’re spot on with the word ‘navigate’ because that’s exactly what it is. And a lot of the time I’m pretty much at sea! 🙂

  1. Well you were very successful with this poem. It is super and I found your account of ME interesting. I have Lupus and its impossible to explain to other people just how weak and helpless I feel at times.

    1. Interesting to hear from you. I think there are definitely shared areas of experience with ME and Lupus, and many things that are hard to explain to other people.

  2. Dapplegrey— wonderful photo–looking at it FEELS like going down deep and soaring at the same time. I had already posted my poem for the day before I read this–fascinated at how we both addressed the need to rest and regroup and how it involved clouds for both of us! Synchronicity? ESP? Just a really good week all the world over for cloud gazing? Who the heck knows? But so fun to be part of. I am sad to read of your struggles with health, but LOVE your description of poem-writing as “letting the words slide about….till they arrange themselves into a poem”. This is exactly how I write poems–other types of writing I strive and revise and make effort. Poems, I just take what arrives and always feel like a fraud when I read about the method of serious poets who go through dozens of drafts to end up with a polished jewel. Different art forms, different kinds of poetry. Rest and write and cloud gaze till you feel better–

    1. I was amazed at the synchronicity as well! But every time this happens my next thought is that I shouldn’t be amazed, but instead delighted and reassured. If poems arrive in this way, then why should it be surprising that they arrive in a similar form at a similar time thousands of miles apart!? You share such a lovely abundance of yours. I too am fascinated by and in awe of the way serious poets write poetry. But I’ve read that this sudden spontaneous receiving of a poem is something that happens to ‘real’ poets too; you remember the story of how Ruth Stone described writing her poems – as recounted by Elizabeth Gilbert – and re-told by Seedbud from Leaf And Twig? I found this absolutely extraordinary (it’s a bit long but I’ll copy it here anyway for the benefit of others who may not know it):
      “Writer Elizabeth Gilbert tells a story about Ruth Stone’s writing style and inspiration, which she had shared with Gilbert: As [Stone] was growing up in rural Virginia, she would be out, working in the fields and she would feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape. It was like a thunderous train of air and it would come barrelling down at her over the landscape. And when she felt it coming…cause it would shake the earth under her feet, she knew she had only one thing to do at that point. That was to, in her words, “run like hell” to the house as she would be chased by this poem. The whole deal was that she had to get to a piece of paper fast enough so that when it thundered through her, she could collect it and grab it on the page. Other times she wouldn’t be fast enough, so she would be running and running, and she wouldn’t get to the house, and the poem would barrel through her and she would miss it, and it would “continue on across the landscape looking for another poet”. And then there were these times, there were moments where she would almost miss it. She is running to the house and is looking for the paper and the poem passes through her. She grabs a pencil just as it’s going through her and she would reach out with her other hand and she would catch it. She would catch the poem by its tail and she would pull it backwards into her body as she was transcribing on the page. In those instances, the poem would come up on the page perfect and intact, but backwards, from the last word to the first.” !!!!
      Thanks for your kind words about my health. M.E. is a b****r. But without it I wouldn’t see life the way I do and there are advantages to everything.

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