World Poetry Day


Some of you will know that 18 months ago I had a series of heart attacks. This was, and still is to some extent, a scary time in my life. I’d recently signed up to a creative writing course with the Open University, which I decided to stick with, and as part of my poetry module I wrote this about the doubt and worry in the immediate aftermath, having had maybe 5 heart attacks and not knowing what they were: the fear remains that there’ll be another and I won’t recognise it!

I post this poem  today because it’s #WorldPoetryDay: it was featured last May on a wonderful website I found called Heart Sisters, which can be found here –

and which provided me with a level of reassurance that none of the medics, bar one, came close to.

So, here’s my contribution to World Poetry Day:

                             What was that?

Listen to your heart. What does it say
When it jumps and flutters and thumps?
What does it mean? Is it bad? Or okay?
Which is it?

Familiar sounds, some fast, some slow,
Each clunk and whoosh and beat.
But now: I think I didn’t know.
Or did I?

Silent damage, death by stealth,
An unfelt pain revealed
No hint, no clue about poor health,
Or was there?

My heart attack, my brush with fate –
I’ll know it again they say.
Stripped of disguise, no doubt – but Wait!
Was that another? Was it?

© 2011 Lorraine Gradwell



About lorrainegradwell

Active in the disabled peoples' movement since the early 80's, stepping back a bit now but still speaking up and still looking for independence and an end to discrimination.
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One Response to World Poetry Day

  1. Carolyn Thomas says:

    Hello again Lorraine and Happy World Poetry Day! What a delight to see your poem again here. As one of my ‘Heart Sisters’ blog readers responded to it last May: “This poem is itself a lifeline to those of us who have those “what was that?” moments. We aren’t alone, and we aren’t losing our minds. This is such a life-altering event that we have to give ourselves space to grieve and worry and even accept that things will never be the same again. For me, the lesson has been about listening to my body and yet trusting that I am in good hands – a daily struggle. Thank you, Lorraine, for expressing all this so beautifully.”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself! I hope you are doing well these days.
    regards from Canada,

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