Sunday, 26 August 2012

Storm Birds

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._N._Taber

[Update (May 2017): Since a bad fall in 2014, I have been physically disabled myself - if only slightly compared to many people - and spent a good year or so learning to walk again. At 71, I manage quite well now in spite of arthritis in the same foot that suffered a complicated ankle fracture. I use a walking stick which might as well be invisible for all the notice many able bodied people take of it when I am out and about. Cyclists on the pavements and people more interested in their mobile phones and/or listening to music on headphones invariable expect me to get out of their way because they have no clear appreciation of their immediate environment. Heaven forbid they should try looking where they are going! Even so, I remain a Happy Bunny...most of the time.]

Update (Sept 2016); The 2016 Rio Paralympics have been more exciting and inspiring than ever. Well done, everyone!]

I am dedicating today's poem to disabled people everywhere, especially at this particular moment in time as later this week we will be celebrating, supporting and enjoying the London 2012 Paralympic Games. 

There are, of course, disabled gay men and women worldwide too; among them, those determined to follow their dreams in various areas of achievement, including sport. All, like everyone else, can do no more or less than get on with the daunting task of daily life; only, for many if not most, that is likely to prove even more daunting.

As someone who has suffered significant hearing loss all my life (much improved now with digital hearing aids) I often have balance problems. Given, too, that deafness is an invisible disability, with which many hearing people quickly lose patience, it is perhaps not surprising that I have always felt a considerable affinity with disabled people who are frequently - intentionally or otherwise - put down by the less enlightened among the able-bodied majority.

Disabled people are an inspiration, but few see themselves in that light, just wanting to be treated much like anyone else. Is that so much to ask?

So here's wishing Team GB Paralympians good luck, and the same to everyone else taking part in The Games. Let's be sure to support them in the same spirit of sportsmanship we recently cheered on their Olympian counterparts.  

This poem is a villanelle. 

STORM BIRDS

Where able bodied folks go
in a brave new world
the less able, too, dare follow

Nor must we ever fail to show
respect for the D-word
where able bodied folks go

Find inspiration’s brilliant glow
in a storm bird;
the less able, too, dare follow

Love challenges all in the know
(Theatre of the Absurd)
where able bodied folks go

For dreams hid under a rainbow,
hope deferred,
the less able, too, dare follow

Life-force (now ally, now foe)
at best a gift shared...
Where able bodied folks go,
the less able, too, dare follow

Copyright R. N. Taber 2012







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