Sunday, 3 April 2016

Spotlight on a Star

This is the first in a new, occasional series, where I spotlight someone I think has talent, or whose work I love and enjoy or respect.

The first post features a young friend of mine, Flora Barber, who goes to school in Malvern and is a budding talent in many creative arenas. She is artistic, articulate, intelligent and a poet of no mean ability, as you will see. I fully expect her to be Poet Laureate one day! I am honoured she has given me permission to post it here.

BBC Hereford & Worcester Radio held a competition recently to Search For The Poet. This is the winning poem in the 13 - 17 age category, the senior group.

HOME - by Flora Barber

A cough, a wheeze, nothing more, just a normal day.
It’ll pass; fade in the absence of concentration.
It’s what they always say.
“Go out to play, you’ll be home soon.”
How many more steps can I bear?
I just want to sleep, find comfort and warmth
To feel safe, protected from the whirlwind outside.

I was drowning on air, screaming but not a whisper leaving my lips.
Can they not see me? Could they not hear me?
My chest is heaving, every breath choking;
Help please, help, I’m being crushed from inside.
My muscles seizing, trembling, heavy with no sensation.
I’m fighting, slipping away, each second a lifetime.
All those people staring, talking, pointing.
I just want to go home.

How did I end up here? All these cables and tubes,
Flashing lights in my eyes.
Why wouldn’t they just go away?
Let me go home, I’m crying, trying to say.
I just wanted to be left alone.
Their words, all this noise, like an orchestra in free-fall.
I just wanted to go home.

The whole world fades away, I’m falling.
I don’t want this struggle, this pain.
Falling down, deeper,
Faster, trying, gasping.
Their confused calm, panicked patience,
These flashes of consciousness, the effect of suffocation.
I just wanted to be left alone.
Begging then to stop, let in the silent darkness.
I just wanted to go home.

The stars, like fireflies, they dance through the midnight.
Like a phoenix, igniting, flaming, burning brilliantly.
The ashes fade, crinkling, crisply crackling.
Fading, burning out, we’ll disappear on a gasp of air.
Tossed onto a wayward wind.
It‘s pitch black and we’ll never see the sun again.
Our voices, just whispering echoes in the back of their minds.
All I wanted was just to go home.

Text © Flora Barber
Photograph © Heather King


  1. I liked it! I'm not sure if I am a very good judge, because I'm not really into poetry or abstract art. That being said,it almost seemed like the writer was writing about what it felt like to be in a coma. What's interesting about that, is that many people could be considered living in a "coma" in their day to day lives as well.

    1. You are not far off. I should have put at the head of the post that the poem is about Asthma and how it feels during an asthma attack. Flora is writing from experience, so the poem has dark undertones, yet at the same time offers her appreciation of the safety we all feel from things we know, people we know and, above all, home. I'm not a poet either, but I don't think you have to be to relate to a piece of work such as this is. I like your analogy of some people living their lives in a 'comatose' way. Thank you for commenting. Heather

    2. Ah, I can relate to this poem a little, because my brother was born with it and my father has developed it late in life, and now has what can only be described as an asthma attack that never stops.