Breathing ( poetry challenge – essential )

Breathing is pretty essential and scary when you can’t 

I was a sickly child,

it hung beneath my eyes

turned the mirror grey

always breathing.

A bronchial battering

spun under control

by inhalers that popped

and whizzed powder down my tubes,

always pounding.


Violet had an ice-cream van,

our dog used to bite the tyres

it smelled of sprinkles and sherbet,

and I knew how he felt.

“They make your chest bad,

stupid lad”

and they did every time I could.


Friends forgot my name

soup and orange segments,

watching wash days in the rain

breathing deep into my stomach 

words too short to talk or be excited.

The rise and fall of a candlewick bedspread,

an aqua blue ocean to drift on.


No one seemed to notice or care

about the clumps of white dog-hair

and that I was left to play,

in a house with a habit

of nearly forty a day,

always breathing.

© savvi 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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How the environment can affect a child who has breathing problems is clearly illustrated in this poem, Keith.


I think this is much undervalued by the lack of comments. Please accept my nomination.


Again some very telling phrases in this, Keith. Quite a moving poem. Mike’s right, there should be more people commenting. Sorry I didn’t get round to reading this earlier.

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