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

A Natural End to Things / 28 February 2014

photo of a bright red / orange butterfly with thick black lines and white circular spots delineating areas across its wings

Monarch Butterfly. Image © Richard Longstaff

Zoom in to this image and read text description

The Winter storms. TV radio, all media telling the awful tales of the storms. One word that seemed to be on every ones lips was , loss. The loss of property, the loss to industry and of course the awful loss of life.

It came at a moment in my life when I was losing some one. I thought long about loss and asked myself this question. Is it better to lose some one from your life knowing they are still living, out there but no longer part of your life? Or would it be easier to except if they were dead?

My loss is my son. A parting of company. Once so close we have drifted for the past two years. A few weeks ago things came to a head and how shall I put it? He went one way and I the other.

My poem A Natural End to Things looks at this process. The good days of his childhood when we would be joined at the hip, out bird watching with his siblings or playing sports on the park.

The opening stanza says it all. Slowly the poem unfolds into the story of our falling apart. The disbelief of stanza three is the failings of each other to except who we are and what we are like as humans and family. Waders sat on islands of total disbelief, isolated and lost to each other.

The strength of the relationship we once had is still there in my mind and shown in stanza four. Lets hope that we find it again one day.


A Natural End to Things

The sky leaden with rain seems different.
I remember Summer's and voices that were
Exuberant, hands that ran through the rich
Ripe stems of tall wheat
Gone now.

The fields are stubble.
Once green, now the hedgerow is barren
And a brown, singular sparrow is the only
Pin prick of life
All that remains

The reservoir reveals bare banks.
Sheets of algae suffocate any hope of a
Resurrection, waders sit in the gloom on
Islands of apostasy.
All belief has passed.

The hills are crowned with mist.
We once walked them without uttering a word,
Knowing that our bond and our love
Was communicable without speech.
Dead now.

© Richard Longstaff