Thursday, December 5, 2019

'Invisible Octopus': (5) A Poem

Living in the shadows of an Invisible Octopus 

Working on ‘Invisible Octopus’ inexplicably forced me to examine and establish
the truth about what is my normal.

During the past five months I have been working with Dr. Emma Fisher through a mentoring bursary from the Arts & Disability Ireland Connect Scheme. The aim was to write a script for my existing puppets, as well as explore alternative forms of puppetry to accommodate the physical challenges due to my chronic illness/disability M.E.. 
In this paper, which I am sharing in sections, I explore the background to ‘Invisible Octopus’ and the challenges, opportunities and personal revelations it brought. 

Previous posts

Póilin reading the draft of poem in her book
While working on the project I decided not to have dialogue in the proposed film. Instead I'd have Póilin Puppet reading a poem alongside the footage. Writing a poem links in with my previous writing.
Póilin will read in the garden, beside the hospital bed, or in the living room.
The sounds would only be nature sounds. No music.

This is as yet a draft poem.
Explanations and imagery related to the poem can be read/seen in previous posts. See links above.

Invisible Octopus 

by Corina Duyn 

Birds transcend
the limitations of my body
while I live in the shadows
of an Invisible Octopus
The reality of life
with the unpronounceable illness
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
is hidden and fragile

M.E. as Invisible Octopus
acting as Puppeteer
Keeping me upright
or let me stumble at will

Inflicting pain
Challenging my brain
Letting go of the strings
leaving me lifeless

My creative mind
the visible thread
throughout this twenty-one-year long story
Transforming pain into poetry

The desire for freedom remains
Like the birds
I too need to fly the nest
and be one of the flock

Negotiating the right balance
between pulling and letting go
Strength so close to weakness
Joy so quickly pulled away

Octopus pulling strings violently
Knocking me down
trapping my words

Medics silencing me further
Dismissing Octopus’s reality
Sending me for psychiatric assessment

I disappear further
into the shadows
Into the reservoir
of darkness

So many losses

Vulnerability of illness
Uncertainty of knowing
If I improve again
Or not

I can no longer
Without full time care

I am one
In a worldwide community of hermits
Where freedom of movement
Is no longer a right

Breathe ..
Each moment is a death
Each moment is living
There is movement in stillness

Finding peace in my solitude
I am one with the birds
Their beauty and harmony
Uplifting and strengthening

Rising from the ashes
I fly among the birds
in freedom of mind
If only for brief moments of time

The illusions of life
are fragile
in the shadows
of an Invisible Octopus

* Abstract may be quoted, but please reference the source: 'Invisible Octopus', Corina Duyn, 2019., (please include direct link) and date accessed. And it would be great to hear from you where you have used my writing. Thank you

To be explored in Next chapters:
  • Hanging on by a string
  • The play of shadows

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