Thanks for paying a visit to my plot – not the garden pictured here, I hasten to add, but rather my place of productivity and creativity as a poet/writer. In this summer season that speaks of growth, variety and fruitfulness in our surroundings, I would like to ask you a question:

How does your garden grow?

It’s that time of year when many of us are enjoying the fruits of our labours outside – after months of sweat and toil perhaps –  maybe gleaning our own home-grown produce, having a BBQ, relaxing, reading, or just basking in the sun (hopefully) and admiring our handiwork. Even if we lack a space of our own to call a garden, we can still admire and visit other people’s gardens and enjoy them second-hand instead.

Have you ever imagined your life as a garden?
That’s not as fanciful as it sounds. Life involves labour and toil, sweat and tears, joys and sorrows, heartache, pride and envy too sometimes when ‘the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence’.

What if you felt there was precious little in it apart from weeds?

Our tests and trials can feel very much like thick, tenacious weeds that choke the life out of us and appear to prevent any good thing from developing.

I have frequently felt like that about having M.E and other attendant long-term, chronic ill-health conditions over the last 20 years. For those who may have no idea what that could feel like (although many symptoms are unique to the individual in variety, intensity and persistence) then I tend to suggest it is like: ‘either going down with flu, having flu, or recovering from flu’.

Most of us can relate to that feeling to varying degrees – the weakness, pain, letargy, cotton-wool head etc.is horribly familiar. During a recent bad spell of M.E symptoms I found myself expressing how I felt in verse, as I am prone to do at times of intense emotion.

I hope the poem ‘Invasion’ below will help you understand a little about what an M.E sufferer can go through.

Still on the garden theme – sickness and disease can reflect those tenacious weeds and thorns that seem to spring up out of nowhere, invade the space, stifle the vitality of the growing plant, are so persistent and seem impossible to remove no matter how vigilant we are at trying to get rid of them. Our hope is that God may either teach us how to live with them or provide relief such as this verse describes:

‘Instead of the thorn-bush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow’ ~ Isaiah 55:13a


Do I have M.E
or does it have me?
Snaking tendrils of pain
coil through nerves, muscles, sinews
joints and every fibre of being,
leaching energy from each cell,
until I am left wrung-out
like a discarded dishcloth.
Fiery darts attack at random,
invading, crippling, agonising –
Everything hurts.
Foggy clouds encircle the brain,
obscuring clarity
of thought and purpose.
Living in a limbo-land,
a living-death of exhaustion,
pain and weakness,
 as normal life passes by –
too bright, too fast, too alive
for me to join in with any ease.
Then a voice calls to me
in my dopey, yet sleep-elusive state;
A Voice of Love, of Calm, of Peace.
It is my Lord, reminding me
that I am His and He is mine
through every circumstance of life
and transcending them all.
Yes, I have M.E –
but it doesn’t have me –
God does;
so I am safe
in His arms.