I’ve been trying to get creative this Ramadhan, not just because of the time of year, but mainly because my lack of meaningful activity these days is turning me in to a deskilled, demotivated, depressed insomniac! (too many adjectives? …, maybe, but all are true!).
Any way, as many of you know, I’m currently running a project which is designed to empower minority ethnic disabled people through access to the natural world around them. Part of this project will be a photographic exhibition, defining disability Identity through the environment. We want the photographs to be accompanied with quotations, personal stories, poetry etc, and so I thought I’d have a stab at it myself!
Although I’ve written short stories, reflective essays, articles and other commentary, I’ve never ever tried to write a poem, but below is my first stab (please don’t laugh!).
In this poem I use a tree to define the identity of a disabled woman, (i.e., me, that is!). The poem starts off in the negative, that is to say, on the basis of the stereotypes dished out to disabled people by society, before moving in to something more unique, constructive, and true!
Read on, and feel free to leave feedback below.
P.S: this poem doesn’t have a title yet, so, if you’ve any helpful suggestions, fire them over!
Oh Vacant humanity why can’t you see.
A disabled woman is alone like a tree.
Standing bent double, empty and bare,
No branches, no leaves and no flowers dwell there.
Devoid of destiny, Independence or choice,
No wind in her branches to give her a voice.
Occasionally green, but more frequently brown,
Determined by others, until she’s cut down.
No Purpose, no mission, no colour that’s me.
Unseen, unheard, ignored, like a tree.
Then one day it struck me, like a bolt of pure light,
Trees are so lovely, to those with insight.
They are tall, they are strong, they are powerful and free.
Unique, individuals, invaluable, like me.
Each tree is beautiful, different from the other,
Proud like a muslimah who chooses to cover.
Trees give us fruit, light, shelter and flowers,
Causing humans to ponder for hours and hours.
Disabled I may be, but oppressed I’m not,
Like a tree I’m my own soul, I cannot be bought.
With branches widespread and flowers to show,
I’m not scared of living, I’ve a long way to go.
Allah made trees, reaching up to the sun,
So precious their purpose, so treasured each one.
Disabled women bring colour to life,
They stand up victorious despite pain and strife.
They might appear different, baron and brown,
But they are always evolving, never really cut down.
Unique, Independent, zany, that’s me,
Celebrating my identity like a scented pine tree.
Oh vacant humanity, now can you see,
Behind each disabled woman, there’s a beautiful tree.