Photographer: Wendy Sama
Image used with permission

Dusty grey clouds float overhead, Reminds us of dark days past

A history of pain, hurt and anguish, Oh the memories and the years gone by fast

The clouds drift apart to a sun so warm, To replenish, cleanse us and heal

Lessons learnt and wisdoms earned, We spread our wings and the freedom we feel

All burdens let go and hatred forgiven, The gift of inner power released

Strange emotions felt, love, caring and trust, Past mourned, put to rest, burnt, deceased

Self esteem rebuilt, dignity and pride intact, Our minds our own, the freedom of speech

Positive thoughts, controlled calm and gentle, The attributes in our children we must teach

Through gifts of courage and strength given, Happiness and joy, like the sun, shines through

We give ourselves freely and open our hearts, Love will be given and be honest and true

So we hand you back the remote control, And the ropes which we were once tied

No longer your play puppets to dance on command, We forgive you, the last word spoken –

But wish no longer to stand at your side

Any negative souls don’t tread on our ground, Your control, hate and hurt is unwelcome

Take heed of this warning, as we now stand strong

Only the glorious sun and bright stars shine in our kingdom

We are beautiful women, born of Mother Earth, Once broken, scarred, beaten and weak

Now our fires burn strong, no hate in our hearts

We don’t need you, we are survivors

We will stand on our own damn feet.

Copyright © 2008, Shannan Walsh

CONTRIBUTORS NOTE:Hi my name is Shannan, I have been writing poetry since I was a teenager, I have suffered from Anxiety and Depression for many years and writing has been a great therapy. I have had to deal with alcohol and drug addiction in the past. I had a child hood which involved battling with suicide and low self esteem which developed into anger and addiction. My words are my life and the roads I have travelled and I have kept them very private for many years, I am finally ready to share these poems and I am sure many out there will relate and I hope know they are not alone.


The Stigma of Autism

Young, maybe 6, cocooned in protected warmth
innocence, love and laughter are child’s things
Autism shattering everything into small pieces
now an outcast, no one understands

7, in front of a psychiatrist, seems school knows best
1970, Autisms’ a mystery, unheard of
no diagnosis, no institution, no label, no sense,
school thinks Health Camp might be best

Health Camps full of confused, anxious children
misfits unable to tolerate normal childhood
sent to find peace, laughter and strength in each other
how many I wonder were Autistic just like me?

Cold, calculating, distant father persecutes
doesn’t want a son who’s clumsy, always bullied
the shame on a man who only understands perfection
your oppression is far more damaging than my peers

It never stopped this thing called Autism
misunderstood words and actions few comprehend
anxiety, depression, alcohol, drugs, crime, what a waster!
a lifestyle indicative of low self esteem

Epilepsy and brain surgery, daunting thoughts
huge waiting list, Government inaction, pending elections
perfect opportunity to show the world hidden strengths
TV appearance, newspaper stories, fight, fight, fight, fight

I won; I beat them all, the Government, epilepsy and my own inadequacies
strength, pride and confidence now my allies
new career, new life, new me
now helping others by fighting to reduce stigma and discrimination

Copyright © 2010 Tipene Taylor