Poetry by our Neuro Pride Community

Poetry Corner

New: Follow our ‘Poetry Trail’ and discover poems by our community submitted for Neuro Pride @ Dublin Pride, 18th June, 2022. Simply download the booklet by clicking on the image on the right →

We called it ‘poetry trail’ because we posted printouts of the poems around the Dublin Pride Hub where we held a series of events on Autistic Pride Day 2022. 

A huge thanks to everybody who has contributed their poetry, both in written and recorded form, and to Jacob Wordsmith and Alice Doyle who volunteered to record some of our participants’ poems to make them more accessible throughout the day. You can listen to the recordings by scanning the QR code in the top right corner of each page.

Neuro Pride Ireland is first and foremost a space for and by Neurodivergent adults in Ireland. There are plenty of topics and ideas discussed here using language. Most share one thing in common, they were written to first inform and then entertain. But there needs to be space for communication and self-expression beyond prose.

This is what our creative corner is for. It celebrates the beauty of the language itself and the creativity of our community. It lets us explore topics that need to be felt to be known, to be sculpted to be shared, to be experienced to be understood. 

This is a diverse collection of topics and styles. Some poems are quite light, but most are not. They are real and raw, but no less beautiful for that. The collection isn’t linear, or curated, or in any particular order. You can read from the top, or simply choose a title from the list that pulls you. Either way, browse, enjoy and feed your soul. 

Table of Contents

Autistic Hippy

  • Autistically Me

Mike Barrett

  • ADHD Haiku

Alice Doyle

  • My Hidden Tangent
  • A Doorway to Peace
  • The Night Beckons
  • Rearranging the Furniture

Joana

  • i swing

Polly Rose

  • I am the Originator of a River
  •  Each and Every One

Vanessa Hughes

  • The Redwood Tree

Jacob Wordsmith

  • Inertia’s Best Friend
  • Mask

Eve Reiland

  • Chaos & The Quiet

Anne Doran

  • Them vs Us

M

  • Litany
  • Loneliness
  • Night
  • Vague

Lara

  • The Unexpected
  • The Impossible Ask
  • The Fight Song

Maria

  • Dead Fox
  • Forgotten
  • Summer in the Garden of my Mind

Rache

  • Unknittable

Frank L. Ludwig

  • Progress
  • The Heron
  • The Plant of Progress

Jaymie Doyle

  • Asexual Love
  • Human
  • Pride
Autistically Me

I love being me, Autistically me,
Sometimes I wish you could see what I see,
The smells, the sounds, the world is so alive,
Give me space to be me, and I’ll blossom, I thrive

You may not see or understand,
Why I flick and fidget and flap my hands,
When I’m excited, happy, and full of glee,
When I’m frustrated, tired, when it’s too noisy

But I have my own language, my own way to be,
I learn through movement, I need to be free,
I can do many things with this brilliant brain of mine,
I see patterns, solve problems, with my uniquely wired mind

Sometimes I need your guidance, to learn the things you do,
I can learn your language, but could you learn mine too?
We are so beautifully diverse, it’s what makes this world so great,
There isn’t just one way, we can all learn to relate

ADHD Haiku
Attention Deployed
via Hyperfocus with
Devastating charm
Alice Doyle
My Hidden Tangent

For me, what is unique,
my hidden tangent,
is how I see autistically.
It is not one single thing but
riches and resources.
For all of life, it flows through me.

A Doorway to Peace

My garden is a doorway,
into my inky stillness,
my path to peace within.
It is night time in my garden.
I rest there wakeful and enchanted
by the vast starry landscape
within and without.

The Night Beckons

A leafy silhouetted gap in the treescape frames my view.
It is a window through the landscape of my soul.
I am humbled by its simple beauty.
Night time and the earth sleeps,
breathes life and growth through all that allow it,
soothing, anchoring and expanding us from within.
In its stillness, I feel peaceful.
I glance right – my illuminated path twinkles like the stars.
Steeped in earth’s mystery, I must await its secrets
for they will yield in time.
Now, I invite the earth inwards,
breathing in ease to match the rhythm of my being.
Mine is a gentle path forwards.   

Rearranging the Furniture

My inner and my outer worlds are moving,
reclaiming and restoring my nature.
The reconfiguring of my internal furniture is visible,
reflected in my everyday reality.
Though welcome, my expansion is disruptive,
proprioceptive confusion reigns.
There is pressure to make space from within,
but mine is now a gentle path forwards,
and I will set my pace.

i swing
Polly Rose
I am the Originator of a River

I am the originator of a river
Body spent and broken
I lay my bones and fleshy self
On earthy ground
And allow the weeds and wonderful natural things to take me over
They hold me close and piece by piece
I am simply the latest addition to this alive mineral composition
The breaking apart and breaking down
Releases everything of feeling 
Mingled with the
Warmth and moisture 
Tearful riverlets begins the beginning
I am the originator of your rivers
The life-giving water of your land, loves and livelihood 
I am the mother
And I give of myself time and time again
And so the cycle goes
Enriched with each new addition
Of which you will join some day

Each and Every One

It’s lovely having all one’s friends in one place.
Accessible, always there, providing comfort.
Each one with different
Titles, interests, knowledge and wisdom.

Each one with a different
Voice.
A different story.
Each one
Unique.

Some are older, a bit battered and worse for wear.
Some new and shiny, full of colour, calling out, ‘Look at me!
I’m here!’

Each one has value and lessons to share.
There’s joy. There’s laughter… tears, horror and drama.
They prop each other up, one behind the other,
So that one and all can be found, seen and appreciated.

Each one different
But every-one
Bound and made of the same material.

Each one
I can hold and follow word for word.

Worlds within a world.
And for each and every one,
I am all the better.

The Redwood Tree
by Vanessa Hughes

Hello, said the tree.
Thank you for planting me.
I think I’m going to like it here.

I love trees, said the little boy.
And I love you.
You are a special tree.

All trees are special, said the sapling.
I will always be here
Watching over you and your children’s children.

How long can you stay here? How old will you get?
Will you live forever and ever?
His joy made the birds sing and the sun glow.

As long as I live, said the Redwood,
I will be your friend.
1000, 2000, 3000 years. Or more.

Wow! gasped the child, in awe.
I will never, ever hurt you.
I will always protect you.

And I you, said the tree.
I will clean the air you breathe and nurture your world.
I will protect all of nature beneath my arms.

I cannot imagine a world without trees.
Thought the young boy to himself.
As he wandered home through the life-giving forest.

Hello, said the tree.
Look how strong I’ve grown already!
I knew I’d love it here.

I am so proud of you said the young man.
You never ask for anything.
Yet, you give so much.

Will you teach your children,
And your grandchildren, and theirs too,
To always protect me and love me?

Of course I will, said the father.
They will all know how we cannot exist without trees.
They will love and respect you, as I have always done.

Hello young lady. I am so sorry for your loss.
He was a good man your father.
We knew each other well.

Thank you dear tree, she sobbed.
As she let fall the ashes to the rich earth at her feet.
My father did love the trees so.

Hello, said the tree, to the new family beneath his arms.
Thank you for coming to celebrate my 2000 years in this forest.
I still remember the day your ancestor first helped me take root.

You are such a beautiful tree. Said a young boy.
You protect us and give us life.
In return we will always protect you.

Hello said the ancient tree, to the tearful human below.
Why are your people cutting down and killing my kin?
Are we too many?

I do not want this, said the young girl.
But my family have no money for food.
We must sell the wood to live.

But you cannot live without trees said the mighty Redwood.
We are the lungs of the earth.
We have always been here, watching over you. Breathing for you.

We have no choice said the girl.
Her head hung in shame.
Her eyes misty, looking down at her feet.

The tree paused.
But I have stood for 3000 years.
I have protected you. I am home to the animals. They need me too.

The human stood in silence.
Her eyes still trying to focus on the scarred forest floor.

Ravaged. In pain. Dying.
Fire can not burn me. Disease cannot harm me.
Insects cannot destroy me. Floods cannot drown me.
Only you can cut me down.

Yes, said the man.
You are the only tree left.
But my people need to eat and keep warm.

But what will you do, said the last tree on earth.
When I am gone.
The tree breathed deeply. In. Out.

I know, said the man.
As he started up the chainsaw.
Goodbye tree. I am truly sorry.

Goodbye, said the tree,
I liked it here.
I wish I could have stayed.

Inertia's Best Friend

Content Notice: Addiction, alcoholism

Hi there
I’m inertia
And I’m your best friend
Even after you walked away from me
And you said the story would end
In those drafty P.E. halls
Actually why are they always so drafty
And you said words in your circle of chairs
Words that have me laughing
“I’ve been fighting addiction for so long now
And I’m finally starting to feel free”
You have no concept of prison
Because freedom is me
Call yourself well
I call you unhinged
Call me a prick
But I’m a syringe
I’m every slurp sniff and slit
That gives reality a twinge
Because I am Inertia
I’m your best friend
I’m the choice between the quality and the quantity of life
Before life’s end
I was there when nothing was by your side
So I have to voice my concerns
Because reality is so dull
And nothing is being popped injected or burned
There’s a word for that and it’s masochism
Because life is just designed to be crappy
So I’m going to ask you what any best friend would
Don’t you want to be happy
Do you remember the feeling
The first time you did just a little too much
And do you remember that feeling
That sensation that goes beyond touch
And you can hate me for everything that I’ve given you
You can hate me for all this flirting
But being clean is so neat
Wouldn’t you rather be dirty
And I get what you’re trying to do
I understand what you’re seeking
But your plan has a fatal flaw you’re not acknowledging
You don’t have it in you to beat me
You say you’re going to win
But I always do
Because you forget you’re me
You forget that I’m you
So those sobriety chips
I’m going to eat them and shit them out my fucking end
Because you’re nothing without me
You are nothing but my best friend

HSE Drugs & Alcohol Helpline
This confidential service has both a freephone Helpline (1800 459 459) and an email support service (helpline@hse.ie).

Mask
by Jacob Wordsmith

There’s a secret I’m too scared to tell
Maybe my heart beats for boys as well
Maybe I hate how the mirror fails to show a female
Maybe I’m autistic and you missed it
But that’s my fault
There’s a mask tasked to halt questions of any class
This mask helps me breeze past any mass
And never be asked who is the real person here
A mask crafted with gold and fear because the news has made it clear
The threats I’d get if I loved a Ruth and a Roy
If I didn’t feel like I was a boy
If flapping my hands gave me joy
The different eyes I’d earn when you saw the lie burn
To the tune of Jim Carey saying “Smokin”
And even without violence I’m a freak or a token
So instead of being laid to waste I took my face and I lost it
Now I lie with the other monsters in the closet
But there’s no fear factor when you’re faced with an actor
There’s less pity and rage when the world is stage
With a script perfectly lipped without a word tripped or a line clipped
And you connected with the mask met at the door
Without it will you want to be my friend anymore
Maybe I’m weird or wrong or a bore
Those who’ve seen beneath adore but there are people who think I need to be cured
Because these are just silly teenage dreams
Or it’s a phase going on longer than it seems
Or it’s the vaccines
Why can’t it just be me
What you don’t see is my mask of gold has me blue
Because it’s exhausting pretending to be you
I collapse in bed because I’m through
Scared to start this all anew
And I want to show you who I am
Really I do
So I’m waiting for the day my nature isn’t chit-chatter
The day I’m not at risk of being battered
Or your image of me doesn’t shatter
I’ll tell you this secret
On the day it doesn’t matter

Chaos & The Quiet
by Eve Reiland

I stand here barefoot on carpet, the fiber of comfort and home pressed into my soles. 
My roommate, The Quiet, stands with me.
We watch branches and leaves swing through a wet window.
The Quiet doesn’t echo the cacophony in my mind.
Instead it’s a friend and wraps me in a swathe of emptiness
like a blanket.
It provides comfort in fear,
and its silence feels like a threadbare and button-eyed love
hugged fierce in the dark.
It comforts more than honeyed chamomile
and says absolutely nothing when I need it the most.
The Quiet is never jealous when I return home.
It doesn’t chide that I stink of Chaos
and then shame me for where I’ve been.
No,
solitude is always offered
and I’m reminded this is where I belong.
No matter what, I can always be here
and seek peace from the constant crackle of the storm.
Oh, but I love to be drunk with Chaos.
It’s scented with Life.
Rebellion of The Quiet can be delicious and decadent.
The body-high incredible when saturated with voice,
intoxicated with vibration
and drenched in indiscriminate light.
And that’s not enough.
My skin seeks what it can’t always have, human touch.
It need be nothing more grandiose than a pressed-cheek hello
and honest hug.
Even a sincere handshake will do — that brief, warm connection to real life.
A moment of humanity.
Damn, I’m alive. To hell with The Quiet and bring on the noise.
I fight Chaos. I fight pain.
I rage against the invisible and stand emboldened again
Welcome me into the world.
Your bumping, thumping, chiming, beeping, clicking
noise-dominated world.
I want to hear your chatter, songs, and curse.
Light me up with a message flash, photo snap, headlight swerve,
blinking streaking electronic billboard,
streetlight and spotlight.
Share with me the synchronicity of community.
I want to know your vibe and feel your heart.
Let’s dance. Let’s play. Let’s read our words.
Smack the table. Ring the bell. Roar and applause.
Conversation overlapping conversation.
It doesn’t matter that the commotion shorts my wiring.
Like an addict, my brain’s dependent and I need more.
More of you. More of this. Give me decadence.
Give me decadence until my head explodes
and knees smack the floor
Let’s overindulge until I Shake, Rattle and Hum
a staccato inconsistent to tunes Bono has sung.
Let me feel alive completely — this one moment
full. sensory. integration.
I’m going to do this until Chaos and rebellion fry my mind.
Even then, I’ll be unapologetic when
Writhe and Agony arrive.
With my unrepentant soul spent,
I will seek The Quiet, my mistress of Silence,
to love me healthy
so I can flirt with Chaos again.

Them vs Us
by Anne Doran

Them vs Us:
For years, as long as I remember,
I felt I was different,
Weird, alien, unique and an oddity.
There were many times when I was happy to be different.
I never connected with dresses,
Felt foreign in their wearing.
I made my own mould,
And shaped my own path and journey,
Each time having to change and build the new road, brick by brick,
The way has been no yellow brick road,
No magic way in sight.
Many stumbling blocks lay before me,
Shame, guilt and loss;
Shame is not a currency I buy into,
I’m instantly felt othered,
And alone in this uncomfortable cloak of difference.
I had to tweak the apron strings,
That kept me living in the past,
And not allowing me to be grounded in the present.
Finally stopping the unhealthy cycles –
Instead now of encouraging my eyes and heart open wide
Creating my tribes and collectives that support my recovery
Creating my own chain of defense,
And now to embrace my uniqueness as a positive move,
To allow myself to be seen as the creative I always was,
I just needed to be invisible for a time,
As it was safer but now,
I can open my rainbow coloured wings,
And I can soar and fly towards the light of hope.

Poems by M:
Litany

white walls of insanity
blue-colored loneliness
swirls and spirals
of collective fears
on the clear surface
of eternal mirror
of life and afterlife
and something different
from the deafening screams
of this empty world
silence of the mind
can be louder then
anything else existing
but no one ever hears it

Loneliness

loneliness
such a harsh word
for a fragile nothingness
defining the undefinible
crushing all hope that is left
the movement of the fear and emptiness
makes a fine soundtrack
to needing and being refused and
to the countless tears shed
on the face of society
such a horrible word
loneliness

Night

drops of the evening
are falling on the translucent
surface of the day
staining it
covering it with its
obsessive murkiness
slowly turning it around
making its saintly whiteness
its opposite
the wildness of the world
comes alive, lurking
in the shadows of
many minds, and something
changes forever, the wild
rhythm sweeping
people into a disturbed
dance, and they dance
all night, turning and
twisting in the ecstasy
of the midnight

Vague

dreams of darkness
seen through the colors
of the eye in your mind
endlessly searching
wishes are granted
and broken again
eyes open for a second
and close again
everything forgotten
and new visions appear
in place of the shards
left by the past
cutting your soul as
they are extracted
the distanct ringing
of the alarm clock
sweeps away everything
only vague memories
remaining, always
remaining

A Trio of Limericks
by Lara

The Unexpected

Not what we ordered, who’s to blame?

Can’t you see he’s not the same.

Disordered, disaster,

Hide him, quick, faster,

They might see he’s different, the shame.

____________________

The Impossible Ask

It turns out I‘m neurodiverse.

A blessing, but also a curse.

To take off my mask,

Impossible ask,

You see, trying makes it stick worse.

____________________

The Fight Song

I am a Human, Autistic,

Not Savant, Hero, or Mystic.

Autistically me,

Which I want to be.

So don’t dare call me Allistic….

Maria
Dead Fox

A crisp, bright winter morning,
I saw a fox

Sharp teeth glistening white
Glossy, soft auburn fur
Magnificent bushy tail

A second look…

Glassy eyes
Tongue blue and lolling
Deep angry slit across the belly
The hint of intestines
A brutal scene

I cried for her
I couldn’t look away

Forgotten

Forget my head if it wasn’t screwed on,
Or my shopping list, my purse, my phone.
Rush to find the ‘safe place’ I left them in
Galloping from room to room,
Out of my mind with urgent searching.
There they are at last!
The shopping list a bookmark, purse a paperweight,
Even my phone is found, in the bathroom sink.
Now, where did I leave my keys?

Summer in the Garden of my Mind

I sit upon a wooden swing
Suspended from a cherry tree.
I watch the clouds go sailing on,
In an endless mirrored sea.
I taste salt crystals on my lips,
Deposited by pearls of sweat.
I hear the fragile flowers growing
Creeping slyly toward the sun.
I smell the scent of fresh breezes,
Cool, and soothing my sun-cooked body.
I feel beneath my naked feet
A luscious, green, velvet carpet.

I sit and watch the world go by
Enjoying summer in the garden of my mind

Unknittable
by Rache

I wanted
to knit you socks

With the pattern
of your favourite river

Blue green
with watery ripples
curving joyfully
to the sea

Depositing deep pools
on its way

Travelling lightly

Delighting all
who crossed its path

A haven
for wild ones
who flocked to its banks

This was my pattern
for you

It would emerge
knot by knot
night by night
from my needles’ points
my soft spun yarns

Frowning
I would lean into complications
pick up dropped stitches
unravel mistakes
start again

I yearned
to clothe you in their beauty
for you to see
what I could make you

I guess I wanted to knit you
into existence

But I could not unwind
the shimmering skein
I chose for you
alone

Unwinding
takes two
I learned

One holds the threads steady
one winds them round

I yanked its threads tight
into a tangled mess

A thousand small cuts
broke it apart

What was left
was unknittable

Just short ragged strands
leading straight
to your
dead ends

Progress

People want to be accepted
by their peers and brood about
how the others may perceive them;
fitting in, they can’t stand out.

No one ever makes a difference
who has no original thought;
progress isn’t brought by people
who are thinking as they’re taught.

No one ever makes a difference
who adopts the social norm;
progress isn’t brought by people
who uncritically conform.

No one ever makes a difference
who obeys on bended knee;
progress isn’t brought by people
who revere authority.

No one ever makes a difference
who is going with the flow;
progress isn’t brought by people
who uphold the status quo.

The Heron

Wedges of wild geese in motion
noisily approach their known
destination near the ocean,
but the heron flies alone.

Wedges of mute swans have clustered,
still but for the monotone
beating of their wings, unflustered,
but the heron flies alone.

Birds and humans of a feather,
as biology has shown
many times, will flock together,
but the heron flies alone.

The Plant of Progress

There are seeds in the winds of the planet
of a plant that could alter its face,
but on reaching their marked destination
very few find a suitable place.

Some are crushed on the spot where they landed
till the life disappears from the germs,
and instead of providing a harvest
they provide a dessert for the worms.

Some are starting to grow in a garden
or a field with the soil that they need,
just to find themselves extirpated
by the ones who consider them weed.

Some are trimmed on a regular basis,
and they’re questioned, ‘Why can’t you just grow
like the other sweet flowers around you,
with some beautiful petals to show?’

While they may be abhorred or accepted,
they are never expected to thrive:
they’re regarded as plants with no purpose
which rely on largesse to survive.

One or two in a thousand may manage
to grow free into autism trees,
standing tall in the middle of nowhere
as convention’s revered escapees.

Each of these bears a fruit which is different
from all fruits that have yet been defined,
and their boughs dangle heavy and laden
as they benefit all of mankind.

Jaymie Doyle
Asexual Love

Sex is society’s way of love
But for people who don’t need that act for love
They see intimacy as cuddles near a warm fire
A movie and hot chocolate with
marshmallows
Sometimes being taken advantage of
You realize you don’t need to fit into society’s
way or acts of love
You go by your life rules
And forget society’s ways
Your heart guides you
And your gut gets you out
Of unwanted toxic relationships
Run as far as your heart guides you
Run to the person you love who accepts you

Human

Content Notice: Suicide attempt

Twenty Pills had to be cleaned out
I could feel the sharp pains in my stomach never-ending
Three doses later I was healed
The harm I did to my body was because of the monsters inside me their names are:
Paranoia he made me feel on edge
Empty she made me feel alone
Abandonment he made me fear losing everyone
Dissociation they made me question what is real
Anger made people fear me
Impulse put me in danger’s way
Suicide she put me here in hospital
I will forever be grateful for the doctors
I know now I am not alone and I am no monster I’m human
I have Borderline Personality Disorder I will not let the monsters become me

If you are in crisis, please reach out to Pieta House: Free phone 1800 247 247 or text HELP to 51444

Pride

Love is a gift
Gratitude is a virtue
Braveness is an admirable quality to overcome fears
Time gives people the chance to understand
uniqueness and be open
Individuality is what makes a person
Love says: I figured out I don’t need to fit into society’s
expectations of what is normal. There is no shame for
me loving my life line my girlfriend.
Gratitude says: I’m lucky to have found someone who
loves me. My partner is a guy and he is my forever.
Time says: I am waiting for people to accept that I am
who I am. I am transgender and will not let people say
I am a freak I’m human and will give time for the
ignorant to see the real me
Individuality says: My chromosomes or hormones may
not match my physical traits or assumed gender. I will
not let anyone or medical professionals change me to
what people perceive me
Two spirit says: I’ve two energies in me.
Non-binary is beautiful. My feminine side may be
beauty but my masculine side makes me strong and
I’m proud of both energies.
LGBTI is normal
LGBTI is beautiful
LGBTI is individual
LGBTI has pride for our uniqueness and bravery to be
who we are
We will fight for our right to freedom

Would you like to share your poetry?

If you’re Neurodivergent and live in Ireland or are from Ireland, just get in touch

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