Mike Bell

Why I promise to make poetry, not Parkinson’s disease, my daily challenge


Author: Mike Bell Published: 21 March 2016

Mike Bell poet leadOn World Poetry Day, we hear from the designer-turned-poet who, after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, pledged to write a poem a day for a whole year.


Hallucinating Parky

Medications are not working
Time to increase the dopamine agonist
Hoping to stop the jerking
Now I need to be a pragmatist

Then comes the side effects
You see things that are not there
They seem like real objects
Your mind wanders and you stare

The hallucinations are real
They strike early morning
The imagery is surreal
I am lucky they are not calling

I see a woman with a key
And a man in a chair
The woman tries to flee
The man spins around in mid-air

Two girls are playing
Then they start swaying
They try on some clothes
It is time to compose

Why is my mind wandering
I just want to sleep
My brain is just squandering
My body needs upkeep

They only last for several minutes
At least they are not spirits
Then comes the bars of light
And everything becomes all right

Stephen Duffield


Sleep tight Parky

Off to bed the parky goes
Looking forward for a sleepy doze

Via the benchtop for the nightly med
Then slip, slide on the silky sheet bed

The parky brain is not wired for sleep
When all you want to do is fall in a heap

For me a good night is three hours of sleep
Coupled with three hours of restless leaps

This is the best I can do
No wonder the parky is tired and blue

Time to get up parky
A new day is about to be sparky

Stephen Duffield


A Parky visits hospital

Hospital here I come
To get my parky treatments plumb

I meet and greet the Parkinson’s nurse
Who over the next few days will be my universe

Along came the speech therapist
Who talked about being a vocalist

Then came the physiotherapist
Who helped me climb Mt Everest

Followed by the occupational therapist
Who applied her skills like a specialist

That night I met the neurologist
Who took plenty of notes like a journalist

The movement disorder neurologist starts some tests
Then makes a request to increase the meds

We do some more testing
Time for some resting

We do some more scans
Time for some more med milligrams

The timing of my meds is important to highlight
To align with the meals helps to stay upright

Spent some time with the Psychiatrist
Now I think I am a pharmacist

So now we have a new baseline
That becomes my new parky lifeline

So long hospital, I have enjoyed my stay
Looking forward to more positive days…

Stephen Duffield