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The only time

I didn't know Wendy personally, so this poem's theme is how her life and decisions have affected me, through her writing and through her conversations online.

Wendy touched so many people, so I'm sharing the poem here. I hope it catches something of her.

I'm hugely grateful.

The only time

for Wendy Mitchell

You held my hand when I went through

a door you had to open years ago.

Neither of us could change our

minds because our minds

were changed

for good.

You added

windows to the room

and light poured in, and rain,

and sometimes snow.

Your stories and your life

built well, and now

your dying

fits right


Small starlings, sparrows, blue-tits

feast at the garden feeders.

You’re among them, a singer.

One or two pigeons position themselves

on the grass below. They can’t squat

up on the perches, they’re far too big.

They pace, they track the meal you eat,

snap at the crumbs you spill,

the seeds dropped from

small full beaks.

The pigeons strut, puff up to claim

their rightful place of worth,

their awesome size –

but underneath

they weep.

I’m a pigeon.

I’m very large

and loud.

I stomp,

I seethe.

I interrupt.

I’m hungry

for the seeds

that I can’t reach.

I’m helpless, and all that rage blows

when the time has gone.

I survive, and now I hear your song,

You flew at just the right time,

the only time.

Dementia isn’t poison, you said,

it’s something to smile at,

something to love

something to spar with,

something to face.

You don’t tell me what to feel,

you tell your stories.

You drop nuts and seeds.

You share.

You love us pigeons,

our beaks open,

gasping, feeding

from the life

you gave us




174 views4 comments


Mar 03

I love this poem Maxine. A fitting tribute to a wonderful person. The inspiration for the work is fascinating and so appropriate. Thank you once again. x


I love this Maxine, it's beautiful in the way it captures the strength and nourishment we take from other people who share their stories. And you are doing that here for others x


Really beautiful Maxine. Thank you xxx


You captured her spirit well Maxine. You would have been such kindred souls xx

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