For Mental Health Awareness Week: Helen Akers





Please take away the Egyptian Cotton sheets,

the memory foam mattress-topper.

Give me a room in a house without central heating.

Without daffodils.          Audacious          daffodils  –

poking through the thick hide of winter days

and nights. Each one a carefully wrapped parcel

containing          yellow tongues, lies. They tease.

They’re loud. They are parakeets, each tied

by the ankle to a stone in the bottom of a glass jar.

I can’t stomach their overwrought faces,

their lemon curd light. So insensitive. I want

to dunk them in custard. I’m trying to stop myself

from dunking them in a bowl of cold Ambrosia custard.

Take them away. Close the door.          Please.




Helen Akers grew up in Hertfordshire and moved to Norfolk to study Fine Art/Painting at the Norwich School of Art. She began writing poetry in 2003. She has won the Wells-next-the-Sea Poetry Competition and was commended in the CafeWriters Pamphlet Commission Competition in 2009. She has been published in Smiths Knoll. She lives in North Norfolk. Helen finds that poetry is the form that can best translate the experience of mental illness, it embraces strangeness and the surreal. Writing through and about mental illness can illuminate this complex and too often misunderstood area of our lives

Comments are closed.