Unknown Songs

Hey Readers

This is a poem which looks at mental health conditions which are not only unseen but often undiagnosed such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Acrophobia. Though both are recognised medical issues many people still lack understanding of them and people who have them are often dismissed as eccentric or introverted. If I sound like I am writing from experience on this topic that’s because my aunt Helen (Nellie Russell ) Timperly had both of the issues I mentioned and I know the impact it had on her life and that of her family , friends, and neighbours. I’ve given it the title Unknown Songs I hope you enjoy the read 

Unknown Songs

My aunt had a neatness obsession

a place for everything and everything in its place

she cleaned the house three, four , five times a day

for fear, she would fail the cleanliness test

she couldn’t let any dust gather

in the home she never left

acrophobia kept her trapped


never venturing beyond the garden gate

fate had given an ordered woman

a disordered life

a devoted wife and mother

there was kindness in her discipline

long before the domestic goddess

had been invented

the original one could never be contented

her illnesses, unknown songs

in the album of her life.

@ Gayle Smith 2017.


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