Self Portrait

The hill outside my house
gets steeper by the day,
deep breaths required
before I start to climb;

when I reach the top
I find a convenient wall,
sit, reward myself
with a relieving cigarette;

check my bag to ensure
I have got all I need;
writing tablet, pen, glasses,
extra pen just in case;

wonder whether I have
left the balcony door open,
consider going back to check;
the hill deters me;

walk on, get nearly
to my destination, realise
I have left my bag
on the wall; go back,

hurriedly, am re-united
with my bag. Is it possible,
I think, I am losing
cells from my brain;

take my symptoms to the doctor,
he considers, consults
a colleague, declares
himself flummoxed;

good word – flummoxed,
old-fashioned word,
I have a liking
for old-fashioned words;

talk to my son,
who knows me rather better,
he is not flummoxed,
nor am I really.


26 Responses to “Self Portrait”

  1. David,

    I love this. It’s a shame you can’t enter your own poem into your Firework Factory challenge. *smile*

    I could see you doing all of this. I could see me doing all of this, apart from the smoke. (not scolding)

    We all find ourselves baffled at times, but so long as life pinches us to awareness, we are okay. Now, if you had went past the wall and all the way back to the house to look for your bag……never mind, I might have done that.

    Some of that behavior has likely been there a lifetime. You just notice it and worry over it more now. Ha! A person with OCD obsessing about his OCD behavior. But, clearly you have learned to laugh at yourself, and that is what keeps you sane.

    Really good poem, Irish.

    Much love,

    • belfastdavid Says:


      Thank you Shirley – I did think when I posted it that it would fit the criteria for the Firework Factory. I do find more often nowadays I am writing poems about the everyday – I guess that’s why I set that particular challenge. I hope you will be entering.

      I had to laugh at your remark about “a person with OCD obsessing about his OCD behaviour” – Round and round in circles, I guess, before disappearing up his own backside! Don’t say anything… *Grin*

      I know I am well when my sense of humour is intact.

      Take care
      Much Love

  2. The hill would be much easier without the cigarette, david. And isn’t it funny that what we would simply shrug off as forgetfullness in youth we now think of as senility?

    • belfastdavid Says:

      *Smile* There is a lot of truth in what you say Rose. I am just grateful that it is no longer alcohol which causes the forgetfulness.


  3. hehe, Love the story here! I can relate soo much. (especially the cigarette).

  4. diane arthur Says:

    Yes! I find myself going “there” – am on the alert as certain “conditions” are prevalent in our family. I enjoyed this very much. Dianne

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Diane,

      Some days it is a worry, but then I have been forgetful all my life. Not to mention certain OCD tendencies *Smile*


  5. hehe …. i like the old words, too. what did i say the other day when left my keys hanging on the OUTSIDE of the door …. oh yea, told my neighbor must be getting daft in my old age 🙂

    • belfastdavid Says:


      I forgot to mention worrying about whether I have locked the door and resisting the temptation to go back to check.

      Daft is a good word too

  6. If we can’t laugh what is left us. David, your style has all the thrills of a shopping spree without the sobering statements at the end of the month. What a joy to know there are minds like yours blazing the trail but not afraid to turn back for the bags left behind.

  7. I enjoyed this piece of yours immensly David.

    I relate to many facets of this poem.
    Being halfway to a destination and wondering if I locked the doors and a few times I have gone back *meep*.
    Huffing and puffing at the top of the hill, for all my general fitness my lungs are done… but there it is…and just the general wondering of am I going round the bend.

    The ravages of the past can come to haunt us in strange ways and sometimes surprising ways, being of good cheer through it all and keeping a good sense of humor is so important.

    Your poetry always reminds to laugh at myself and enjoy the comedy.
    Thankyou for sharing this. 🙂

    Take care my good friend and don’t forget those all important deep breaths 😀


    • belfastdavid Says:

      Hi Tikarma,

      I am delighted with your enjoyment of this poem. The last three stanzas occurred to me after the last email I sent you – I just thought “Oh for goodness sake David, get a grip!!” Strange how turning things round and seeing the funny side makes them easier to bear. And if I am going round the bend then I might as well enjoy the journey *Smile*

      Did you know that the phrase “round the bend” originated from the fact that the old mental institutions all had long curved driveways so that you could not see the house from the road.

      Let you and I continue with the deep breathing and with our ability to enjoy the comedy

      Take care

  8. Hi David,

    Thanks for that wonderful piece of trivia. No I didn’t know the exact origin. I had figured it would have something to do with old intitutions. It’s good to know and learn something new! *smile*

    I now know why I was litterally driven “round the bend” before arriving at my destination. I’m glad in a way those places have now closed down, at least here. They’re frightfully intimidating buildings, I suppose that too was part of the point. *smile*

    *lol* re: “get a grip!” I can just see you re-reading and your face half covered in your hand as you do. There are times to be serious we know this but yes then we have to laugh. I’m grateful for the email nonetheless.
    I would’ve done the same being someone who takes everything too seriously. *smile*

    Breath. The best advice I’ve ever had.

    Take care my friend.

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Hi Tikarma,

      Those places have mostly closed down here too. However in the haste to move to “Care in the Community” and therefore save money I fear the baby has been thrown out with the bath water. There was a lot of good things about those institutions, as well as bad, but those were all swept away in the change. Let me not however get carried away with my thoughts on the quality and quantity of the provision for the mentally ill in this country. Having worked in mental health for a number of years I still get very upset about what is provided. (The subject of another blog perhaps).

      As to getting a grip, there is great power in sharing our worries and concerns (either in writing or in person) which allows for a different perspective to be taken. I am grateful for the friends I have who allow me to do that. Thank you.

      Breathing now *Smile*

      Take care

  9. Hi David

    Just trying this out to see if it works!

    This poem is what I call “a david poem”.
    It’s lovely!!!

    Lots of love




    • belfastdavid Says:

      Hi Christine,

      I am delighted you made it here – what a lovely surprise.

      Thank you

      Lots of love to you


  10. “Aa! Divvent’t worry! as we say in Geordileand. We can all be scatter-brained sometimes. Nice one. I can well identify with this (:

  11. Hi David, just reading your older poems, this hill you describe has a lot that is like the huge dune behind my house- huge for Dutch messures anyway But also it can refer to the daily climb we do to make it in life, realizing we should have done something elsewhere. lol I hope I make sense 🙂

    • belfastdavid Says:

      You do make sense Ina,

      That metaphor was intended in the line.
      I do envy you a sand dune behind your house – I would walk it every day. 🙂


  12. To those who say that couldn’t happen to them, I believe their noses are growing!

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