Yesterday (I was a Carer) - A poem by Tessa Duell


Tessa reading her poem at the Wiltshire Community Foundations Event

Yesterday (I was a carer)


“Yesterday me and my mum were walking along the chalky paths

Throwing our sandwich crusts to the ducks

And I found a little fish in the grass

And she said “put that down! You don’t know where it’s been”

I dropped it, staring down the front of my little black body warmer

A beady eye stared back at me, cold and unforgiving


But yesterday I touched the bottom of the pool, lungs straining

Climbing to the top of the biggest stone in Avebury

And I chose my galloper and gripped the bar, just swaying

On a merry-go-round of memories, feels like centuries ago

Since you closed the front door and drew the curtains

With no intention of ever opening them again


Yesterday the ambulance came and I was in my school uniform

Going to my bedroom while the white flag ascended

Everything changed so fast and descended

Into agoraphobic panic attacks, hoarding and rituals

It was a red warning signal but it wasn’t visible

Except for a label, young carer, stretcher bearer


Yesterday I was managing my way through sixth form

Driven by something not given but taken from me

And I was shaking when they prized you free

And released you into the wilds of your mind

Formidable, invisible illnesses flaring

Yesterday I was a carer but I never stopped caring. To read Tessa's story, click here.

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