When I was a new, young wife

My husband attended university for four hyper years.

I was teaching in an inner-city school Monday to Friday

And earning a little extra money as a Church Soloist –

Weekends and holidays.

After three years of hard grind I became very sick.

And my doctor could not find the cause other than overwork

Which didn't quite tick all the boxes.

She was really concerned.


And then, one day, tearfully, I casually said,

'My husband is writing exams this week.'


She almost leapt over her desk.

'Your husband is IN COLLEGE! UNIVERSITY!'

She smacked her head. 'OH MY GOD! KISSING DISEASE!

Mononucleosis never crossed my mind.'

She looked shattered.


Well, with the right tests, I did have glandular fever.

And I was so ill.

But the real reason for this 'monologue'

Is to chronicle a very weird experience -

An attempted 'mind/body invasion'

By another personality – another 'CYNTHIA'!

It happened just as I tell you, without decoration.

My imagination couldn't fabricate it

Because I have no basis whatsoever to build on.

Whoever 'SHE' was, I didn't want 'HER'.

I didn't like 'HER', and 'SHE' knew it:

Clever, but mean, 'SHE' was.


But, ironically, the last straw was: 'SHE' hated ice cream!

Me – the original Me - I loved ice cream.

Now – who doesn't like ice cream!

This 'new personality' was not welcome!

There was not 'room' for two of us in my SELF!

And I waded in - fists flying so to speak - a real fight!

'SHE' appeared only when I was totally alone

Which I thought was very sneaky.

I never spoke of this 'situation' with anyone

Not even the doctor.

I thought it was MY PROBLEM.  I had to DEAL with it.

So I stayed silent.

And I kept a strong heel on 'HER' neck.

I can be mean too.


But, one evening, 'SHE' slyly slipped the grip.

My husband had brought home ice cream

As a treat, and I was delighted.

Spoon in hand, ready to dive in


Stepped right into my physical body

Slammed the bowl violently across the table

And snarled, 'I HATE ICE CREAM!'

My husband almost fainted.

He knew nothing of this situation.

I saw RED! 



I was furious!


My husband was upset – scared even -understandably.

So, of course, I confessed my problem.

'It's like a bad dream - wide awake. 

I should have told you sooner.

But I didn't want you to worry.

You have so much to deal with at college.'

He didn't leap away from me as he might have.

But the intruder in my mind – 'SHE' did.

'SHE' bolted and never came back.

While it's not possible to bury the bizarre

And recover innocence

It becomes possible to think of it without fear.

◄ Less 'Me' and More 'US'

Television Moon ►


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Ruth O'Reilly

Tue 20th Aug 2019 18:53

So when your illness was cured you could eat ice cream again? It almost sounds like the virus possessed you for a time! A very interesting poem, it is the first I have read of this nature. By the way, yes I agree about Manchester's skyline, there was a time when I was mainly looking after my mum so not passing through town too much and it did have that effect on me, but is because we have so many Victorian buildings. The contrast is adding character and I do love Salford Quays these days. I think it's saying we are just as good as the European cities but retain our sense of self as a city, at the same time!

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Don Matthews

Fri 12th Jul 2019 00:32

I usually can't get into long poems but this one held me to the end.....clever, different, and well done

You mixed me up a bit though Cynth
With mononucleosis
I thought it was to do with
Rab-bit myxomatosis

I obviously don't know
One 'osis' from the other
I've done my kissing for today
So mono will not bother

Just have to keep an eye on Peter....

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Martin Elder

Thu 11th Jul 2019 22:11

As you say Cynthia a strange one who would not like ice cream , but there are those that don't . I love that line about the 'intruder in my mind'
An excellent poem from the pantheon of rich memories you have
nice one

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Thu 11th Jul 2019 19:23

Ghosts of moments past in stressful times can come through unexpectedly. I still suffer from the stress of bombing when a child in Liverpool and certain subsequent events relating to explosions in the armed forces etc. Fortunately my partner understands, and sometimes her 2 doggies look at me knowingly and wag their tails as if to say, 'It's Ok'. 'It's Ok' we still love you. And then they start slobbering all over me. It's weird but so is the storehouse of the human brain. You are not alone with your inner turmoil world believe me. P.

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