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Bristol , United Kingdom
I'm co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Monday 2 April 2012

Poem for World Autism Acceptance Day 2012

This is a poem I wrote 13 years ago.  I don't much care for polemical poetry and seldom write it but this wrote itself.  (Plus, it's always satisfying to have a pop at the Daily Mail!)  I am reposting it for World Autism Acceptance Day 2012 which is today.

Back then I could never have known how well things would turn out for my two autists.  They were written off at the ages of four and three.  'No functioning intelligence,' said one White Coat. 'They'll never learn to speak.'  But they are both warm, creative and talkative people with hearts full of love.  I couldn't be prouder of them.

                 Cut Out and Keep 

Already you test me with questions.
But how to explain the inexplicable
in ways you’ll understand?
I have no glib replies.

You bear off my inadequate words
in your hands
to look at, sniff and taste.

Meanwhile I ponder
what I’m not going to tell you –
how in years gone by
they’d have burnt you as witches
or left you to wolves
or the mental asylum,
simply because you’re you.

And I compare this
with latter-day attitudes:
patronising Daily Mail articles
re the latest miracle cure
that works for (a few of)
the Poor Brave Victims
they would deem you.

But we know
there’s no bravery
in no choice.

And so I love this otherness,
as much a part of you
as your scent and skin and smiles
and this is why
I do not wish you otherwise.

© Deborah Harvey 1999, 2012

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