A Mighty Word Army Marches into Battle 

Like light moonbeams they quietly gather 
Stealthily creeping through the cast iron curtains. 
Treading lightly, the whispered word patterns silently amass, 
Stealthily emerging from within the lofty mansion of the gods. 
The rebel army forms a vivid word picture. 
Disciplined, they gather resolutely in the darkened, labyrinthine corridors of the psyche, forming sturdy battalions.
With banners raised, they prepare to march, ready to invade distant lands.
Graceful, curling, silky, smooth little words, skilfully dancing pirouettes, performing acrobatic feats lead the way with agility. 
While taut, tense, cryptic vipers, having skilfully twisted themselves from within the invisible chains, Hephaistos so meticulously fashioned in his anvil, self-righteously form an indomitable rearguard. 
United the word warriors stand erect, on the mountaintops, awaiting the bugle call. 
In unison they surge forward, gathering momentum as they ride into the valleys. 
The word army, united, buoying each other, singing, marches in tight formation. 
In rhythm, the armed force gathers momentum, vigorously occupying and outwitting the foreign, virgin, white unblemished soil of the New World. 

Heather Blakey


The Salvation of Words

Words are my salvation. It has been the words that have drifted from the rich resource within that have numbed me over the past nine months and enabled me to face the onslaught of cancer cells. The mighty word army came and conquered and we have won the battles, if not the war. A fresh uprising could occur at any time, so we must remain vigilant, watchful.

Coming off a sixteen day period caring for my husband as he recovers from the surgery to reconstruct his bowel I am at the brink of exhaustion. There were days when I felt like throwing in the towel, but you do what you have to do.

Last Saturday we came totally unstuck. Darryl's bowel threw a major hissy fit about having been out on the table for over five hours and decided to behave like a hose with a kink in it. The pressure set off the vomiting at one end and liquid poured out the other.

I could try to express what those hours, providing constant care, attending to bodily fluids, were like but A Haddad, a nurse expresses it all in this piece

You have come unstitched

Holes appear on your threadbare abdomen
Tunnels develop and connect bowel, liver, pancreas.
Enzymes ooze out and digest your skin,
no matter how hard we try to stem the flow.
Mounds of dressings,
miles of tape - a jury-rigged system to
hold together our mistakes.
The stench is overwhelming, ever present,
reminding everyone, but especially you,
that you have come undone.

Since I cannot bear your suffering,
since the truth is too horrible to grasp,
since I can offer nothing else,
I clean you up.
I wash your face,
brush your teeth,
comb your hair,
turn you gently on your side,
push soiled linens away,
roll clean sheets under you,
remove layers and layers of damp, disgusting dressings,
and replace them with new dressings and tape.

Since I am helpless in the face of your tragedy,
I give you the certainty of my calmness of my motions,
the competence and comfort of my touch
as I smooth the top sheet over my work.
For a few pristine moments, we allow ourselves
to be caught in the illusion of your wholeness.

My time at the Epworth Hospital has proven that a caring presence is all powerful. Despair can be met, witnessed, felt and conquered. I feel blessed that I was able to be there, that I had the strength to do all that was required of me.