Why Trish rhymes

Blog entry posted by trishrhymes, Jul 1, 2017.

Hi folks,

Just thought I'd explain for anyone interested why I call myself Trish rhymes.

I used to be a Maths teacher. Science and Maths were my thing - still are. I still enjoy trying to learn new science and understand the ME science research better.

I HATED poetry at school. It scared me witless. I couldn't learn a poem by heart to save my life. My brain doesn't seem to be wired that way. And when asked to write and essay or answer comprehension questions about a poem, I went into major panic mode. What if I got the answer wrong? What if I made a fool of myself and completely misunderstood the hidden meaning? Nobody told me what I was supposed to do was respond to the poem as it came across to me. I thought I had to get the right answer.
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When I was forced into ill health retirement by my ME worsening 13 years ago, I felt quite depressed and a failure. My GP prescribed a course of 6 CBT sessions.

The therapist was worse than useless. For a start, the room allocated for our sessions was up 2 flights of stairs. When I said this was difficult because of my ME he did nothing about it (he could have requested a ground floor room for us). He ignored the fact that I would arrive at the top of the stairs close to tears from exhaustion. In fact one week when I actually did shed tears he told me I should have cancelled the session if I wasn't well enough to focus on the therapy process.

And his idea of 'helping' was to get me to tell him negative thoughts so he could persuade me to think differently. For example, when I said I felt a failure for not having a career any more, he just told me this wasn't true and I should stop believing that. The whole process left me worse off, feeling more of a failure.
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Meanwhile, in order to engage my overactive brain, and because I like learning, I decided to do some Open University courses. I'm lucky that my ME symptoms are far more on the physical spectrum - I need to spend most of my time in bed, and need help with showering etc, but my brain still works pretty well for a few hours a day.

I did the OU Arts foundation course and then dipped into creative writing, thinking perhaps I'd do what loads of people imagine they can do, and write a novel.

There was a short introductory course on writing poetry, so, despite my hatred of poetry, I signed up, thinking it might help me make my writing more literary, with imagery etc. To my huge surprise I loved it.

I enjoyed the challenge of starting with a germ of an idea or an image and developing it within the tight confines of a few lines. I also loved the whole rhythm and rhyme thing, and the adventure of starting with a line, and using unexpected rhymes to draw me on. I treat it as a game - not recommended for serious poets!

What I also found, after doing more creative writing courses, was that I simply don't have the stamina to write a novel, and if I'm going to all the trouble of developing rounded characters with a full backstory, the short story form is too limiting. So, by default, it was back to poetry.

In the end I didn't finish the OU degree. My stamina declined and I couldn't get the essays written on time. So I now just do short on-line poetry writing courses, though less now that PR occupies that same available bit of my energy envelope.

While learning to write poetry, I also tried reading lots of poetry, including lots of modern stuff written since my school days. Sadly, I still find most of it incomprehensible or trite. I have enjoyed discovering a few favourite poems and poets, but most of it leaves me cold.

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An unexpected side effect of writing poetry has been that it has achieved what the therapy completely failed to do. It has given me a medium for exploring and expressing my thoughts and feelings about my life, including this illness.

I went through a phase of writing lots of poems about my childhood, life experiences and being ill until it reached the stage where I was boring myself, and realised I'd been through my own brand of therapy and come out the other side with a measure of acceptance.

The other unexpected bonus is that I've discovered the freeing power of doing something just for pure pleasure,. As a very competitive person, it has been liberating to focus on something that I'm very bad at. I cannot write a modern poem that will win prizes or get published to save my life. It's liberating acknowledging that and not even trying to compete.

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At the moment the extent of my 'poetry' writing is joining in the limerick thread in here. When I can't sleep and am alone and bored in the middle of the night, I sometimes creep in there and compose a silly limerick, or, as is often the case, a poem consisting of a series of stanzas based loosely on the limerick form. The sillier the better. It cheers me up, and there's often someone else somewhere in the world to read it and respond quite quickly, which gives me a lovely warm feeling.

So, I'm not a poet, and have no aspirations to be one, but I do love writing (and reading) a good bit of silly doggerel.

Here's my latest offering from that thread, written in response to a line in someone else's poem which mentioned the flight of years:

Ah yes, they are flighty things, years
giving gentlemen hairs in their ears
and everything sags
on hoary old hags -
it rouses Old Time's mutineers

who call for a remedy (drastic)
of botox or surgery (plastic).
But when Father Time sprinkles
a dozen more wrinkles
my time-ravaged face looks fantastic.

Instead of a smooth featured moon
may face is a wrinkled old prune
and I'm ever so pleased
that my boobs reach my knees
I'm a gorgeous old-timer cartoon.

As you see, no Poet Laureate!

Here's the thread.

http://forums.phoenixrising.me/inde...ther-poetry-forms-also-welcome.12609/page-115

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So back to my title. I call myself Trish rhymes because I do (rhyme). Often. Badly. And with great pleasure.

When I joined PR, I had to choose a name, and I'd already started a blog called trish rhymes, so I used that as my name. My blog only has a couple of posts in it - a rant about poetry, and a rant about ME written 18 months ago after I had just stared digging into the story behind PACE. I have learned much more since then, but I think my version at the time was surprisingly good, if very lengthy.

If anyone wants a longer read, it's at:

https://trishrhymes.wordpress.com/

one day I'll get around to writing an update about ME.

To finish off, here's another one I wrote a few days ago that sums up what I've been saying in my long winded way.

My career was curtailed by ME
and it bothered the hell out of me.
As I lay in my bed
I decided instead
that failure would liberate me.

No more teaching my students hard sums
no more hiking the hills with my chums,
I'd become a bad poet
and now, don't you know it,
writing limericks conquers the glums.
  1. Paralee
    Oh, this is right up my alley! Very very good! I do poetry, but had forgotten the different kinds and methods, rules, etc. Thank you so much for this. They are great, just sorry you had to do them because of ME.
    trishrhymes likes this.
  2. Mary
    I love your poems! And I'm someone who has always hated poetry. I could rarely make sense of it and just never saw the point. But yours are fun and made me laugh : )
    trishrhymes likes this.
  3. hellytheelephant
    Lovely to read a bit of your journey with ME...and grieving the losses. I had a brush with CBT with the pain clinic and it was absolutely useless. I can't find any purpose in lying to myself that things are not the way they are eg often very difficult, painful and worrying. For me meditation is more helpful ( in small doses), as an approach. ..and of course being creative. I love these poems!
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