Storying Sheffield

Two poems by David Whitehead

Recovery: A Sonnet

Soft Spring rain wakes my mind from Winter’s thoughts,
And seeps through matted grass and melting soil,
To warm cold rocks within the garden’s heart,
And tempt new life to start the season’s toil.

Dark seeds, their secrets hidden from the sun,
Twist, turn and heave within the wombdark earth,
Then grope towards the unseen light beyond
And push pale strands of life to seek self- birth.

Sharp- tongued blades stab dank and rotting leaves,
And pierce the tired dreams of last year’s weeds,
Then stretch to greet the strengthening sun above
Beyond the lightening sky and greening trees.

Dark Winter days give way to Spring’s strong light
Which draws my sombre thoughts to fresh delight.

Spring 2017



For years you bullied me.
Day after day nagging me to buy a bottle;
Testing my nerves walking past a pub
Until my hands shook.

When I tried to be strong
You mocked me.
When I gave into you
You smirked.
When I was tired
You tempted me.
When I was depressed
You whispered you would make me happy.
When I made a fool of myself
You watched disdainfully.
When I was drunkangry
You watched with pleasure.

Getting rid of you a burden lifted,
My mind cleared,
I saw you for what you are:
A bully.
Gone for one day, a night,
But always hiding round the corner
In a dark alley
Lurking in the shadows.



David Whitehead is a retired English Literature teacher who spent 25 years of his career teaching in SE Asia (mainly Singapore and Brunei). He travelled extensively in the region, and also in Australia and New Zealand. On returning to the UK in 2010 he was diagnosed as having Bipolar Affective Disorder and an addiction to alcohol. He lives in Sheffield.