Stories From the Edge of Blindness

In 2002, Retinitis Pigmentosa changed my life. This is my story of a slow approach to darkness.


April 2020

The Final Poems

Today marks the final day in Paul Brookes’ National Poetry Month Ekphrastic Challenge. It has been an honor and a privilege for me to participate in this project, and I am incredibly grateful to Paul, Jane, Samantha, Ali, Jay and Dai, for so much incredible art and inspiration. You can read and listen to the final poems here.

This month has been a wonderful learning experience for me. I learned that I am capable of much more than I thought. I almost backed out of the challenge, sure that I would never be able to write a poem every day for thirty days, but thankfully Paul helped me decide to stick it out. I am so glad that he did. It isn’t about whether or not I wrote good poems, but about dedicating a month to honoring something that I love, about learning from other writers whose voices are so rich and diverse, and about being part of something bigger than just my own words.

I was going to choose my favorite poem from each writer, and my favorite painting of Jane’s, but in going back through the month, I honestly couldn’t choose. Instead I invite everyone to look back through the month, look at the gorgeous paintings and read the beautiful poems, be inspired and maybe even write some pieces of your own. And if you have any favorites, I would love to know.

The artists that participated in April are:

Jane Cornwell

Jane likes drawing and painting children, animals, landscapes and food. She specialises in watercolour, mixed media, coloured pencil, lino cut and print, textile design. Jane can help you out with adobe indesign for your layout needs, photoshop and adobe illustrator. She graduated with a ba(hons) design from Glasgow School of art, age 20.

She has exhibited with the rsw at the national gallery of scotland, SSA, Knock Castle Gallery, Glasgow Group, Paisley Art Institute, MacMillan Exhibition at Bonhams, Edinburgh, The House For An Art Lover, Pittenweem Arts Festival, Compass Gallery, The Revive Show, East Linton Art Exhibition and Strathkelvin Annual Art Exhibition.Her website is:

Paul Brookes

Paul is a shop asst. Lives in a cat house full of teddy bears. His chapbooks include The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). The Headpoke and Firewedding (Alien Buddha Press, 2017), A World Where and She Needs That Edge(Nixes Mate Press, 2017, 2018) The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Port Of Souls(Alien Buddha Press, 2018), Please Take Change (, 2018), Stubborn Sod,with Marcel Herms (artist) (Alien Buddha Press, 2019), As Folk Over Yonder ( Afterworld Books, 2019). Forthcoming Khoshhali with Hiva Moazed (artist), Our Ghost’s Holiday (Final book of threesome “A Pagan’s Year”) . He is a contributing writer of Literati Magazine and Editor of Wombwell Rainbow Interviews.

Ali Jones

Ali is a teacher, and writer with work published in a variety of places, from Poetry Ireland Review, Proletarian Poetry and The Interpreter’s House, to The Green Parent Magazine and The Guardian. She has a particular interest in the role of nature in literature, and is a champion of contemporary poetry in the secondary school classroom.

Here is Paul’s 2019 interview of her: and you can find her book “Heartwood” here.

Samantha Terrell

Samantha is an American poet whose work emphasizes emotional integrity and social justice. She is the author of several eBooks including, Learning from Pompeii, Coffee for Neanderthals, Disgracing Lady Justice and others, available on and its affiliates.Chapbook: Ebola (West Chester University Poetry Center, 2014)

Twitter: @honestypoetry

Paul’s 2020 interview of Samantha

Jay Gandhi

Jay is a Software Engineer by qualification, an accountant by profession, a budding Guitarist & a Yoga Sadhak at heart and a poet by his soul. Poetry intrigues him because it’s an art in which a simple yet profound skill of placing words next to each other can create something so touching and literally sweep him of the floor. He is 32-year-old Indian and stays in Mumbai. His works have appeared in the following places:
An ebook named “Pav-bhaji @ Achija” available in the Kindle format at The poem “Salsa; a self discovery” published in an anthology motivated by Late Sir APJ Abdul Kalam. The poem “High Caloried love” selected for an upcoming book “Once upon a meal” The poem “Strawberry Lip Balm” selected in the anthology “Talking to the poets” Four poems published in a bilingual anthology “Persian Sugar in English Tea” Vol.1 Two poems published in the anthology “Poets on the Run” compiled by RC James.His poems have made it to the PoeTree blog and front pages of & In free time, he likes to walk for long distances.

Here is my 2018 interview with him:

Dai Fry

Dai is an ex social worker and a present poet. Image is all but flow is good too. So many interesting things… Published in Black bough Poetry, Re-Side, The Hellebore, The Pangolin Review. He will not stop.

Twitter                  @thnargg


Audio/Visual.       @IntPoetryCircle #InternationalPoetryCircle Twitter

Paul’s May Challenge begins tomorrow and it sounds like it is going to be epic!!!

My annual National Poetry Month ekphrastic challenge has become a collaboration between Jane Cornwell (artist), and poets Susan Richardson, Samantha, Jay Gandhi, Ali Jones, Dai Fry and myself. April 29th

I can’t believe we are at the second to last day of the challenge. It has definitely been the most production National Poetry Month I have ever had. I love today’s painting; it is a beautiful image that can take you to so many different places, which is evident in the diverse and gorgeous poems.

The Wombwell Rainbow

29Finishing is as Meaningful as the Project Itself

No matter where he goes, it always looks like Yorkshire,
pedal to the metal whenever he can. He comes everywhere
with me. I keep moving, am ghosted by news of milk bottles,
collected late, cricket odds, snow painted over moors.

The endless game of eye spy, that nobody could win, because
the answer was only visible sometimes – grandma’s false teeth.
In the garden, fingering the soil, feather light, never weary.
When I write this, he is long gone, playing mandolin for hours,

making the violin jealous in her velvet home. The needle
always points north, geese skein a morning song, and the way
on is lined with sherbet and barely sugar, Pontefract cakes,
corporation pop. The pull of a homing beacon, the case of

the long way, coming back to the beginning; around each
tarmacked day, a vapour trail, firedogs, a…

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My annual National Poetry Month ekphrastic challenge has become a collaboration between Jane Cornwell (artist), and poets Susan Richardson, Samantha, Jay Gandhi, Ali Jones, Dai Fry and myself. April 28th

A mystical day twenty eight, and a painting by Jane, from a photograph taken by Paul. Art inspiring art inspiring art….how cool is that!!!!!

The Wombwell Rainbow

28 TwitterRendering Ourselves Relevant

There’s not a single one of us
Who hasn’t seen, nor heard,
Nor tasted
The fear
Mankind ingested

At the Tree of Knowledge.
Sure, we gained the world.
But we lost
The visionary existence
Assuredness proffers–

One of unicorns, and
World peace, the flavor
Of sunbeams,
And creation made new each day,
Unbridled by impossibility.

Instead, ours has become
The collective burden
Of rendering ourselves relevant,
Rather than


Our Spired Unicorn

is a place of worship.
A moveable feast beast.

Offer it fruits and flowers
at harvest, Easter and Christmas.

Baptise bairns, get married,
celebrate the dead in its presence.

Pray before its hooves and flanks,
comb its hair, feed it oats.

Don’t try to ride it, or steal its horn.
It is sacred and full of light.

Go where it goes, a disciple.
Some may say you believe in a myth.

Your faith keeps…

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My annual National Poetry Month ekphrastic challenge has become a collaboration between Jane Cornwell (artist), and poets Susan Richardson, Samantha, Jay Gandhi, Ali Jones, Dai Fry and myself. April 27th

Only three more days! It’s been an amazing month of art!!!

The Wombwell Rainbow

27 Twitter sizeTrusting the Musician

Sometimes I wish I were
More than a solitary note
Played intermittently
By whatever musician or animal
Happens by.

Wouldn’t it be nice
To be able to hear the
Whole melodic symphony
Of nature, ourselves included.
But thus, I tempt eternity.

This must be faith,
To know there is
More than we can know,
To trust the music we collectively make
Will continue to grow.


Play it Again

There’s a busker on the corner
Of the main shopping street,
Saxophone held shining forth,
Empty case at her feet.

She plays each day, whatever weather
It’s voice is old deep south,
So animated, living the music,
With the reed held to her mouth.

I do not know her name, or where,
She goes home to every day,
But the sun’s glint on the saxophone,
And her skills always make me stay.

-Ali Jones

🎵 Frank Says 🎵

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My annual National Poetry Month ekphrastic challenge has become a collaboration between Jane Cornwell (artist), and poets Susan Richardson, Samantha, Jay Gandhi, Ali Jones, Dai Fry and myself. April 26th

Twenty six days of beautiful art and poetry is what I call a pretty great twenty six days.

The Wombwell Rainbow

25 brand newProgeny

I was not meant for motherhood,
not with these sharp edges
and a predilection for sadness.
I am a cog in a genetic footprint
that left a web of darkness
behind my eyes,
planted seeds of cancer in the
delicate bodies of my mother
and my brother.
I am the progeny of rage,
of battles with the bottle and carbohydrates.
There is a cruel streak
that runs through the caverns of my veins,
racing against the frenzied connections
that dictate the rhythm of my heart.
I was not meant for motherhood.
My touch is not one that nurtures,
my voice not one that soothes.

-Susan Richardson

Bridge Of Sighs

I am heart fire,
the blue flame.
Hold my mirror
in your other hand.
See reflections,
look for shadows.
There are no others here.

I please my buddha soul,
always now, forever.
I squeeze my other finger
I feel no…

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My annual National Poetry Month ekphrastic challenge has become a collaboration between Jane Cornwell (artist), and poets Susan Richardson, Samantha, Jay Gandhi, Ali Jones, Dai Fry and myself. April 25th.

I can’t believe it is day twenty five. I seriously didn’t think I would make it to day three.

The Wombwell Rainbow

26 for Twitter sizeExpecting

She has read, read and read—
exhausted all the resources.

After 9 months of prenatal
Yoga and eating bland food
all she hopes for are enough
strong contractions.

Don’t lift heavy things
Don’t eat spicy foods
No late nights. Sleep
on time. No alcohol

there are days when she feels
that all this drama should just come
to a standstill — all at once.

Just get it over & done.

-Jay Gandhi

The Dance

When I met my niece,
she was the smallest
baby I had ever seen.
Her tiny hands, bunched into fists,
punched the air
in protest of an ache in her belly
that wouldn’t let up.
I remember taking her in my arms,
smoothing her delicate fingers
singing softly into her ear,
but still she cried.
I stroked her head
and walked quietly
to the laundry room,
turned the dryer on full blast.
It was the…

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A Little Recorded Poetry

I have a new recorded poem up on YouTube, if you feel like having a listen. This one is the first of 5 originally published in The Writing Disorder. I hope you like it.

My annual National Poetry Month ekphrastic challenge has become a collaboration between Jane Cornwell (artist), and poets Susan Richardson, Samantha, Jay Gandhi, Ali Jones, Dai Fry and myself. April 24th

Day twenty four and the sunset of this challenge is upon us!

The Wombwell Rainbow

24 twitter size rannoch moor

Broken Heart Stone

The drovers road
ran through this moor,
stone people in their days.

Between times,raiders from
the west
just walked the beef away.

Railways came to check the lie,
on mattresses of wood and roots.
Took sleep on earth and ash.

Sheep in heavy jumpers
came aboard the train,
in a festive holiday mood
bound once, Firth of Moray.

When glaciers departed
the land breathed a relief
like proven bread raised
on bubbles of yeast.

At black woods edge
on Rannock Moor
the heart stone
marked the way,
glacial erratic.

Near there I saw a heron
take a rest from flight.

A heart is mended
in a dream this Isles way.

– © Dai Fry 23rd April 2020

Old Whistler

He has stalked the pool,
Statuesque for many years,
Wading with tattered wings
Through the shallows.

Once, a human took aim
And fired a shot, his wing
Bears the evidence, of a
Perfect O, that sings

When he dives into the wind.
Sometimes scars bring strength,
And the creatures down below
Still can’t hear him coming

-Ali Jones

The Sinking Sun

I am not a tree,
barren branches that stretch
through the sunset,
thirsty for morsels of light.
A tangle of veins
pressing into the sky
to keep night from falling.

I have no bloodline to the sun,
no call to warmth.
As the night chill falls at my feet
and the path in front…

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I am still looking for more writers to join my May Ekphrastic challenge. Here is what this April’s writers have to say about their experience. I hope it will encourage you to join me on this next adventure.

Paul is looking for people to join his May Ekphrastic Challenge and I highly recommend it. It has been super fun and I learned so much about myself and from all of the artists who participated this month. I am excited to read all the poems in May!!!!!

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