From childhood and in adulthood Birthdays and Christmas Days were the most torturous days of the year for me. One in the heart of summer one in the bowls of winter. Each struck like a sickness whose symptoms laid me low while the disease spread until the full-blown life-threatening day came upon me. But it isn’t like that anymore.
These occasions are habits. The habit of the event causes the habit of thought. Or does the habit of thought cause the habit of event? Habits are addictive. Negative ones or positive ones. Poetry has a way to challenge habits of thought. In the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henry ends
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
You might think easier said than done. I certainy did. But how can it ever be done if not said. It is just as easy to say I am not the master of my fate look what has happened to me! In the first verse of Still I Rise Maya Angelou challenges the habit trauma inflicts on her and her ancestors.
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
It is not just words but their actions which help us become Captains rising above rancid waves of infliction. The act of giving is more powerful than any and more important now than ever. It’s my birthday on May 21st. The best present I could receive would be a gift, a donation, from you to The Gold From The Stone Foundation.
It is a Charity which serves young people, on Christmas day, who have left the care system. Christmas can be really hard in the first few years of leaving care. Last year we supported seventeen Christmas dinners across UK. The Gold From The Stone Foundation creates memories and memories are priceless.
If a birthday is the worst day of your life then I know that feeling and believe me there is better to come if you seek it. I have had some of the best birthdays in my life over the past fifteen years. All over the world. This was my birthday at the end of a concert with Leftfield at the apollo in Manchester in 2017. We had just finished 21st century poem, the last track, then Neil Barnes (of Leftfield) says to the audience “Just one last thing…..”.