Express Yourself is a 10-part writing workshop for people with Parkinson's and carepartners, held in the winter of 2019. Led by Rebecca Gifford, this workshop guided new and experienced writers through writing and mindfulness exercises, as well as group meditation to help participants tap into their inner creativity and wisdom as a source of healing and strength.
Steven Ward wrote this poem while attending the workshop. The painting below, also by Steven, was featured in our 2018 art exhibit.
Feeling courage despite trembling
By Steven Ward
How do I breathe courage?
In the face of trembling?
How do I tremble without feeling fear,
fear of my disease's militant progress.
How do I hold my peace in a trembling body?
Seeing the clouds darken the setting sun,
the emboldened grey reaches deeper inside.
What must it have been like for my father as his legs began to stop working?
As he slowly slipped from crutches,
We never talked about it.
Why would he?
How could he
with a young stupid teenager without much perspective.
What would you have said? I'm scared.
I hate this weakness.
I hate what it's doing to my life.
Way too out of character for this guy,
this guy who went up north in the fall hunting deer, moose and Elk on horseback with snow up to his chest,
this guy who at 19 years of age
led work gangs building railroad bridges,
this guy whose Dad came home from the Great War
broken and silent.
No, it wouldn't have dawned on either him or me to talk about feelings. While he must have had them, I never saw them,
never saw him frustrated, angry or depressed.
Just stoic, as he drew his withered legs up
into his van and drove to work each day
till a sudden, early end.
He was younger than I am now when he passed
but, if I am quiet,
I can feel his breath in me.