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Mental Health

On the theme of mental health, I looked my coping mechanism and those of my family.

First I explored my use of gardening in handeling depression, how planting seeds can turn the threat of grey days into a promice.

Then turning to the people who shaped me, I traced my lineage in three short poems about how the different customs of the places I’m from deal with life, be it pickeling, brewing or grilling.

Gardening on Grey Days

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on

Odd Remedies-Poems

Once again I was lucky enough to write for Refresh Magazine, on a theme that I’m sure we can all relate to; mental health. Just like everyone else in the Post-Rona world I have had to seriously adapt my methods of coping, of keeping my sanity mostly within my grasp. For this I have mainly turned to gardening, to planting veg and sprouting seeds and generally hoping that something will grow from it. But being in lockdown with my family made me also have to confront how they deal with things, how I have learned to deal with things. From this my three short poems, a collection of Odd Remedies, were formed. Each tackles different ways of cooking with feelings (something we seem to all have gotten more into in this time).


Tea storm in a china cup
roll the leaves under
such a smooth surface

Placed down in patience
weighted bag dunked twice
then drips to the sink

Made a small mess
considering the soon spill
if you forget your hands

Or the overflow
from a sugar lump
and imposed sweetness

Always coasters too
minimise the marks
the stains of life

No proof we were here
but the hot touch kettle
and some sodden brew


While loss can turn
you stomach on itself
so can the brine
you keep it in

Cardamom buoys
mark buried forms
the submerged
and the salted

In ferment holds
bitter swollen growth
once fresh veg
and once fresh hopes

Always saved for
some harder winter
tomorrows storms
are rolling in

But find here
at cupboard’s end
some odd remedy
with a too tight lid


Hickory smoke, worms its way
though my lungs and nose
it mills about by the open fire
beer in hand, with the salt-pop
of charring seafood, lemon-wedged

From the earth today, in the midst
my aunt tore tomatoes, zucchini, rage
pummelled lettuce into submission
hacked back the young tendrils
threw them on the flames

This summer the tarmac melted
and in the afternoon, cicada screaming
the hills loom in, peek inside the barbeque
offer back-seat-grilling advice
and wind just about everyone up

Then onto plates, clamour turns to clatter
set tables and tempers with butter pots
garden peas, guilt and generations
smoke-sweet flavour dissolves
and for a moment, in the heat, comes peace

Refresh Magazine is a creative passion project, born from the idea that creativity is part of our fabric and a powerful way of making sense of social injustices and the world we live in.

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