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Tuesday Shower

This one has been percolating for a while, and I thought about posting it on Sunday for World Mental Health Day. It's a personal piece (and my recent listening to Frank Skinner's poetry podcast has made me accutely aware of how self-indulgent intensely biographical poetry is... but this is my blog so, hey ho...) reflecting my cyclical battle with low mood, which due to medications and work pattern is most pronounced on a Tuesday. Occasionally, if not addressed proactively by rest and restorative action the previous day and distracted by specific activity and engagement on the Tuesday, this can tip over into something worse... I can become paralysed by the enormity of what lies ahead in my diary, and descend into an unproductive cycle of self-criticism and regrets over often minor things that have happened recently... This begins under the duvet, is carried through to my shower and on into the day if I am not careful...

Warm water cascading in a clear glass box,
The door firmly shut to seal in the torrent
And exclude the day to come.

The coal tar soap smell carries me 
In memory to a time before en-suite showers
Were an achievable aspiration.

When the biggest stress was spelling 
“friend” or “their” or the seven times tables
Or “would it be liver for lunch?”

Now no soap or shampoo can wash away 
The angst of what the week might bring 
Or how the past is still in play.

The whirring noise drowns out all prayer,
But not the tumbling jumble of regrets 
And half-formed resolutions.

Washing complete I turn up the dial
And enjoy a short period of scourging
By steaming needles of water.

I cannot stay cocooned there forever however
So step out unclothed into the cold cascade
Of the coming busyness.



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