Upon Disappearing

I’m not quite sure

when it was I disappeared

the precise moment, minute, hour

I only know that one day

it happened

I ceased to exist

to count,

to matter,

to be.


Nobody told me so,

the milkman still knocked,

neighbours still smiled,

kettles still boiled,

and children still cried,

but somewhere, somehow

someone flicked a switch

and rubbed me out

from flesh, to ash, to nothing,

this graphite emptied page

of scratchings blown away.

Gone the feet that minded well the gap,

gone the grip that firmly shook Director’s hands

gone the brain that stormed complexity of task

and in its place this nothing, this nobody,

automated moron with no guarantee

to please, achieve or satisfy,

faulty to the core, what’s more

a non-returnable product,

unfit for purpose

and shite marked INCAPABLE

of washing, ironing,

stacking of dishwasher

(to required standards),

of choosing cup, curtain or cushion,

in short, incapable.

Access denied to automated moron,

drawers out of bounds,

financial affairs out of bounds,

all areas deemed responsible.

out of bounds.


I remember well

the point of re-entry,

it started with the eyes

energised, transporting back to life

the brain and then the feet

and last of all the tongue,

from stifled, to unrestrained, to me

Lazarus reborn but angry

that he should have to die

to prove some point...

Now it’s all just memories,

inconceivable memories,

fuzzy round the edges

stuffed in dusty albums,

dragged out

by poems,

other people’s poems.



La dee da dee da ►


<Deleted User> (9801)

Mon 24th Oct 2011 13:28

I agree with most of the comments! Trust Banksy? Yes I'v dissapeared many times, to come back xxx

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chris yates

Mon 14th Feb 2011 12:53

Great poem Isobel I think we have all dissapeared at some point but oh boy have you made a come back,keep it up girl fab xx

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Chris Dawson

Fri 21st Jan 2011 22:53

Struck a chord here - very deeply. haven't yet made it to point of re-entry myself - but yes, writing and sharing experiences helps.
Well done.

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Elaine Booth

Tue 11th Jan 2011 22:03

I re-read this a number of times, seeing different interpretations of the central theme. This, for me, is the strength of this poem - the fact that it can touch a wide audience, being concerned with expressing a common human experience which can be felt at different times and in different situations.

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John Aikman

Mon 10th Jan 2011 22:51

Fabulous poem.

You haven't just re-appeared...you are part of our firmament.

Some lovely language...I particularly like 'from flesh, to ash, to nothing,

this graphite emptied page

of scratchings blown away.'

although I do think your own poems have 'dragged you out' too....or maybe...'lifted'?


Thank you.



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Mon 10th Jan 2011 22:33

Thank you Winston, Janet, Laura - glad the poem struck a chord for you.

Mr Black - actually I am not a coal miner's daughter - I am a Heinz soup maker's daughter - tomato soup to be exact. Because of that I happen to know that UST means tomato soup and UBV means baked beans. Ha - no poxy university education could give you such a good grounding in label-less life skills. Thinking about it 'Life Without Labels' would make a pretty good title for a poem LOL.
Now what did your dad do for a living? Chop horses heads off? xx

<Deleted User> (7164)

Mon 10th Jan 2011 15:07

A heartfelt poem this Isobel and one i can identify with too as will many other women and some men i would imagine. It isn't exclusive to women only.

Well done with your audio too. It gives me an opportunity to hear it as you perform it in the comfort of my own home where i can savour the words. Thank you.xx

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Laura Taylor

Mon 10th Jan 2011 11:18

Really like this Isobel...reminds me of my own lost years, 7 of them to be precise, when I was trying to be a person that everyone 'approved' of.

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winston plowes

Sun 9th Jan 2011 23:04

Hi Iso. Hmm, Yes. this is a real phenomenon that doubtless creeps and grows over time in the mind after maybe a life/career change. I am also familiar with Val's poem and agree. Your reading of this came over poewerfully at goosebumps in Bolton the other night. Nice to catch up. Win x

P.S. on listening to your audio, the final lines of hope via poetry rang nicely.

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Sun 9th Jan 2011 22:45

Thanks for the comments everybody. I didn't set out to write a miserable poem LOL. I do find reading other people's poems affects my moods and stirs things up I should really forget. Philipos is right though - our memories are part of us and make us what we are.
It is clear to me that people disappear for all kinds of different reasons, men and women alike. One of my favourite poems on this subject was Val Cook's Invisble, exploring the effects of aging. My poem of course has more to do with loss of identity following the loss of economic value, which happens when a woman gives up her career to stay at home. How well women adapt to this depends on all kinds of factors - compatability with her partner being a biggie. It is without doubt a bewildering experience.

Thanks again x

<Deleted User> (7789)

Sun 9th Jan 2011 20:39

I must say I did like some of the lines in here a lot, and the reading struck the right tone, a sort of world-weariness.

<Deleted User> (7212)

Sun 9th Jan 2011 19:44

are your drawers really out-of-bounds ?

(I like the poem a lot BTW)

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Cate Greenlees

Sun 9th Jan 2011 19:30

A very poignant and moving piece of writing drawing on obviously personal experiences to give it such impact. A poem that can, like Gus says, be accessed on various levels. No one could ever call you a "non person" now sweet pea!!!
Cate xx

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Gus Jonsson

Sun 9th Jan 2011 17:52

Hello Loviness

Its so good to hear you again ,

I have signed on especially to reply ...

I have listened to this wonderful poem three times and read it many more times and it speaks to me in differing voices. Mainly of the intelligent modern woman buried by the busy man, once buried ... belittled, be valued and bewildered...

I can well imagine the molton lava of frustration that you discribe as Angry Lazerus....

I don't think I agree with Dave... but I wish I did .... Shite marks on many of the blogs should be gifted by admin... they probably haven't enough.

anyway back to your poem ... it was superb and thought prevoking.... and as usual beautifully performed.

Hope to see you soon and dont worry about being cold at Jeff's gigs... I'll keep you warm.

Gus x

<Deleted User> (8943)

Sun 9th Jan 2011 17:52

Hi Isobel, thanks for your comments on Rewind.

I enjoyed "Upon Disappearing" I'm almost at that disappeared point myself and clawing my way back with "poems, other people's poems..."

I especially liked, "this graphite emptied page / of scratchings blown away" what wonderful lines and how poingnantly they express the nothingness. Touched me deeply.

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Dave Bradley

Sun 9th Jan 2011 17:29

What a contrast. If I read your last poem correctly, it is about the way that poor quality poetry is dumped on WOL like spam email in our inboxes. By contrast, this one is about the extraordinary effect that a good poem can have on us. Connecting with our most potent memories and stirring us deeply.

A vivid description of an extreme case of a common and painful experience - we've all felt at times that we're disappearing but it doesn't often get written about.

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Sun 9th Jan 2011 16:13

I know the feeling chuck - but where would be without those precious memories eh - liked especially Gone the feet that minded well the gap, gone the grip that firmly shook Director’s hands - flowed smoothly and a nice piece to read

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