This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit

Disability Arts Online

same old swan? / 22 March 2016

I open one eye. It takes a while to open the other and I use the time to enjoy breathing... just being. How quickly I get to take this 'waking up in the morning' thing for granted - now that I'm physically in this really good patch.

I roll out of bed into a standing position. I learned this back at the rehab unit (donkeys years ago) after my op, it puts less pressure on the spine.

Gulp! Overwhelmed with giddiness I roll back down onto my bed. Standing is out. This might be a good time to acknowledge the pinchy feeling in my gut, that nasty  nauseous sensation and my awareness of the stomach bug going around among friends and colleagues.

I have an iron gut, but the giddiness is really bad; enough to confine me to bed, except...

Oh yes, I am a swan! Oops I mean I'm not such an ugly, no, not that. Not such a scrounging drain on this country's severely limited resources; not such a waste of space; not so stubby and brown, I'm one of the super heroes! 

I look, I see...wheels. Wow! Wheeee! Oh yes, I am a swan/supercrip! How good it feels to roll back out of bed and into my chair - with a head so noble and high; ok, so today I take some shortcuts with the prep...less stretches, no adherence to my morning routine, but what the heck. I am a swan.
I roll. Life rocks, I roll on out into my day. Not such an ugly ducking...not I! 

And still working in the arts...deaf, well almost, to the bird who passes me in the street, rolls her eyes, contorts her face in disgust and spits 'get that ...thing... (that's me); get that thing out of my way.'

Making future out of hope for tomorrow;
unpicking the past in an evolution of
revolution. The surprise weight of manners;
of universal co-existence; of care. The surprise
power of human-kind offering
choices. Leaving the old guard to its war games
while unobtrusively tucking them safely into 
care homes where first do no harm gets
real meaning - learns to be trusted.
Bring on the new swans,
a lovin' those stubby and browns...
I say this.
Enough with the ducklings.
You say, you stutter, words
time still waits for - and deaf shapes,
slow thoughts; broken people,
the surprise wholeness where
no one claims the moral high ground
and no one
will be surprised when first
do no harm opens a way
for us all to be trusted.
bring on the new swans...
enough with the ducklings.