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Fall – a sonnet

By: Carrie Walsh

About The Poem

In Autumn 2019, I had surgery for my endometriosis, and I spent months recovering, alone at home, in my own mini lockdown (months before we knew what was about to happen) and in November 2020, fresh out of a zoom poetry writing class with poet Rachel Long, I wrote this sonnet, feeling the painful parallels of the previous autumn, waiting patiently to heal, wanting to be out dancing, gilded and glamorous, but being utterly weak and completely trapped. There were so many parallels to the hideous, lonely pain of the winter lockdowns, as there were to my surgery recovery only a year earlier. Having a chronic illness can turn periods of your life into mini lockdowns, but I wanted the reader to relate to that feeling of crossing the days off, dreaming and hoping for a colourful, fun future and not knowing when the was going to be. But I wanted there to be hope, because one day you will bloom and dance again.

I chose a sonnet because, firstly it was the challenge in the poetry class, but it also relates to my world in theatre. I liked to imagine Shakespeare huddled away in self-isolation from the plague, writing his sonnets. Having had my entire working life in theatre & the arts shut down indefinitely, thinking of times when the worst happened, but art still triumphed was all I could do.

The Poem

Gluey scars, a blooming bouquet of
heather on my ballooning sore belly.
I convalesce, nightmares of nitrile blue gloves
my strength slowly turning to jelly.
Posy of zinnias. Halo of pain.
Beady fruit flies clinging on to decay.
Vinegar drops of poison. Petals wane.
A former friend asks me how much I weighI daydream of eyes gouged out of pumpkins!
so I slowly sew my gilded costume.
I want to stagger, shimmer, glide drunken.
Dancing free, a gleaming giggling plume–
But, instead I dry out like lavender,
crossing the long days off the calendar.

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