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Jonathan ROBIN

Rookie - 107 Points (22 September / London)

Bell's Palsy Sonnet Crown Frown


December turns November's shredded page.
Complacent assumptions artificial
lose centre stage, as spirit must reguage
priorities of ease so superficial,
review life's tenets, try to disengage
from nervous palsy interstitial.
Peripheral vision victim, without rage
as useless as ineptly hit-and-missile,
must see paralysis as passing stage
creating challenge prejudicial.
Patience is virtue helping mind to wage
war on clock, lock block, return to strength initial
though face awry perhaps for time to come,
number seven optic nerve now numb.

Number seven optic nerve, now numb,
taken for granted, normally ignored,
leaves facial features slanted.
Voice, not dumb, answers questions with weak monochord.
Flesh elastic flaccid has become,
control relinquished, hanging on a word.
Vision peripheral blurred. Though rule of thumb
provides for time-line, faculties restored,
frustration, hope, play hide-and-seek, mind glum,
stares awry at some lop-sided smile. Record
of former glory plays back yet stays mum.
Health is wealth we appreciate too late,
when illness strikes through accident or fate.

When illness strikes through accident or fate
attention's paid, emergencies are laid
side by side, some prostrate, some afraid,
upon their stretchers shored by metal gate.
Ache, Pain, Depression, urgently await
but hold their breath in queue, minds dwell on spade,
till rest for good or evil is repaid
as egos and identities deflate.
One stroke starts life, one more: it is too late
to draw conclusions, seek to be obeyed,
order, plan, or question fate, for, frayed,
life's braid unravels, saint and reprobate
rendezvous with hell or heaven freer,
There seems no antidotage panacea.

There seems no antidotage panacea
reversing wrinkles, shrinkles, age's ills.
Alzheimer and ten thousand shocks and spills
'that flesh is heir to' when sense slows, goes queer.
Alert at ninety, by all near held dear,
is not the common lot, sight fails, slight chills
mutate despite most modern doctors' wills.
None stem time's tide. Horizons disappear.
Thus treat each day as treat, ignoring fear
and angst that fear of fear itself instills
as petal power from past pride's flower fills
time's rills as, falling, death's felt calling near.
Paralysis reboots mind joys would reap -
awake, asleep, dry eye must ever peep.

Awake, asleep, dry eye must ever peep,
asleep, awake, lop-sided lips mouth late
and early struggle to articulate.
Paralysis struck swiftly, on guard keep
a wary eye while weary brain can't weep,
aware must wait while nerve link reprobate
plays tricks twixt life and Styx, active, probate.
Wit winks while eyelid left behind can't creep.
Who once dissolved defenses, insight deep,
now lies constrained, can't set smile's record straight,
remains in limbo, rhyming wait with weight,
while unresponsive muscles seek lost sleep.
Recuperation odds revered and feared,
to slime returns mime much too highly geared.

To slime returns mime much too highly geared,
presuming on life's lease till palsy's rhyme,
Bell rung, wrung peace, piecemeal cut off in prime,
paradox perpetual, decks cleared.
Stage silent, godless or godfearing jeered,
or curtain cheered at end of pantomime,
no castle under lime, soaked sods turn grime
to mock man's half-cock pride ride disappeared.
Tomorrow and tomorrow once appeared
to set [h]our petty pace 'til end of time,
where openly men close door showing climb
must fall precede, all seed from cropped corn sheared.
Wheel turns, dust dust returns, cost here’s,
challenge met, or coward debt, lost years.

Challenge met, or coward debt, lost years
inter regrets, bets lost or won. Fame flamed
soon's watered down, crown tumbled, wild time tamed.
Abandonned aims, irrelevance, tapped tears
exchange youth's free spring for shoe-string trapped fears
with all but self unjustifiably blamed
through insecurity or shame self-shamed.
First wait, then weight, agenda filled soon clears,
slate empty, sleight of hand forgotten, biers
prepared as palsy claims both hale and maimed,
'to sleep perchance to dream', game unacclaimed,
today here, gone tomorrow, sorrow steers
triumph to rot forgotten, - which offence is.
The body, ill-prepared, lost eye lined fences

The body, ill-prepared, lost eye lined fences
symmetrical because some muscles stopped
reflex reflections, on the hop caught, flopped
out dry-eyed. For most, the shock immense is.
The blow fell unexpectedly. Through senses
stabilized, peripheral vision dropped,
s[l]ight blurring, palsy light, field, focus cropped,
by hanging eyelid slack. One lacked defences.
Hospital - with zero sum expenses -
in Paris proved eye-opener when chopped
capacity de[p]leted. For who've shopped
around for cheap insurance, confidence is
dependant on brain damage many mar.
Death draws our existential veil ajar.

Death draws our existential veil ajar
As far too close for comfort end appears
To jar hour conscious introspection, clears
External trappings' deck of pimped pomp's power.
Will fades as spade cold ashes stirs. Spark's char
Is comfort cold indeed. Tomorrow fears
Today's pearled sweat beads lead to heedless bier.
Hope, scope, ambitions, fall as shooting star
Evanescence illustrates - space-bar
Perpetuation mocks as farce, 'tis clear,
Hence now, tomorrow nothing, presses here.
EMotions on Time's oceans fade afar.
ERA over, memory departs,
LIfe That Yearns Time spurns, fresh cycle starts.

Life that yearns Time spurns, fresh cycle starts
departure fresh, or flesh distorted, pain
bedside companion, breaking caring hearts
unless luck sets the record straight again.
Two thirds recuperation on the charts
seems lot or little turning on Fate's kiss,
prognosis vague upsets all applecarts
over-optimism is felt amiss.
No longer cocky, finite jokes, choked, fade,
hide bound by palsy mind from hidebound free,
cock crows, then silence, banter's banner frayed
by muscles uncontrolled, which cannot key.
Pride melts with movements hampered, will defied,
dew diligence when eyelid is denied.

Dew diligence when eyelid is denied
control of wink, when blink becomes a feat
beyond the ken of mice and men, conceit
melts to humility, while cares abide.
Heartbeat accelerates to coincide
with worry, movements taken for a ride
by malady haphazard striking fleet.
Fixed expression canvas could complete
as flexibility falls to one side,
focus reduced, no longer far and wide,
too close for comfort, wanders off the beat.
Pride, knocked for skittles, cannot make ends meet,
patience, once praised, stays stage-struck, sorely tried.
Fixed interest stocks soar, dividends go bust,
confusion from confusion must adjust.

Confusion from confusion must adjust
to face tomorrow’s out of kilter grin
with humour ‘til the specialists non-plussed
seize on season’s reason, find win-win
solution to an accident now cussed
in no uncertain terms as worms begin
to lay their weight on current state where lust
must bridled be, - who’d seek as kith and kin
one open eye, one which retains unfussed
perspective, lacks control of muscle spin
to twin both sides in unison true, just.
Dissymmetry becomes a moral gin
and handicap self-evident, untrussed
is optic nerve from verse which would begin
tongue in cheek to seek peak share attraction,
Inertia catalyzes swift reaction.

Inertia catalyzes swift reaction
testing limits unbeknownst before,
experienced elsewhere, though, we ignore
discomforts which might hamper freedom, action.
Impervious to muscular contraction,
left eyelid, lip, unable are to draw
lines which smile, frown designed, while vision poor
interferes, and adds unsought distraction.
In health, free from nervous petrifaction
few seek out illness, won’t by choice explore
the options closed to those who chance, gene flaw
or accident have trapped, lose speech, sight, traction.
Priorities should be revamped to earn
focus on Special Needs as top concern

Focus on Special Needs as top concern
must modify perceptions shared by all.
Those blind or speechless, lost beyond recall,
still grasp at straws, effect and cause discern,
too well aware temptations bridges burn.
First impressions seem attainted, ball
‘questions aye’s and no’s’, past free-for-all
is circumcised, uncertain seems return
to ‘normalcy’ which, hitherto could earn
approval’s hallmark stamp. Cramps now forestall
options infinite. Cut and dried, in thrall,
one’s tied who far and wide went, wit withdrawn
from choice unlimited. With lost credit
ink flows as if it knows life's tale is writ.

Ink flows as if it knows life's tale is writ
cannot rephrase a passing phase whose light
too soon extinguished must merge into night
where sot or sage blot page, through age unfit.
We’re puppets strung, hands wrung won’t change a bit
repeated role enforced by karmic spite.
If free-will reigns, there’s no pre-destined right
or wrong, no rung to heav’n, no roasting spit.
Through ‘accident’ or ‘fate’ once lightning's hit
‘to be, or not to be’ is in limelight,
depends upon coincidence - spotlight
few duck with prescient authority.
Who walks can’t talk, man manages, though weak,
who holds his peace, condemned by double-speak.

Who holds his peace, condemned by double-speak,
who acts his piece, slight recognition earns,
between the two what voice for choice may tweak
advancing chance, who causal dance discerns?
Life's lease release few willing seek to peek
beyond the veil, to paradise, hell’s burns,
or purgatory. All fear trough and peak,
‘the vale from which no traveller returns’.
Confined, bedridden, both, unhappy lot
space, trace, forgot ‘as finger writes, moves on’
priorites once pressing are forgot
as movements are constrained, true smile long gone.
Mind, undermined, may plan forbidden scheme.
Comparisons with hindsight simple seem.

Comparisons with hindsight simple seem
when fateful footfall flays ‘unkindest cut’
to sever fancy, fact, where yawns redeem
no nightmare fears when eyelid cannot shut.
No need to add to those prose screeds which teem
prolific on life’s rhymeless time climb, but
terse verse may show dimensions unforeseen,
alternate aspects of ill health’s dark rut,
reflections which on higher plane help gleam
hope’s beacon ‘fore life’s final uppercut
replacing frown with fixed grin, skinless cut
from niche so ‘indispensable’ on team.
Palsy swamps stimulation, abyss steered,
sore cornea, slack lip, mind grind uncheered.

Sore cornea, slack lip, mind grind uncheered
are juxtaposed within this swift spun sonnet
as optic nerve’s observed when crookèd, sheared,
recuperation’s odds: few bet upon it.
Partnering frustration has appeared
unbridled spleen, an angry bee in bonnet,
weighing all options with perception cleared
of wishful thinking, been and gone and done it.
Paralysis shows fall from grace, grown beard
can’t mask misfortune though mind tries to con it
committing rambling thoughts to paper smeared
with words erased, replaced, blue blot spots on it.
Lopsided outlook blurs sight’s storyboards
though metaphors strike sympathetic chords.


Though metaphors strike sympathetic chords,
sonnet metamorphosis complete
maintains momentum’s mirrors till towards
tossed sleep’s return’s embossed on crinkled sheet.
One little cares for life’s snares, strife filled street,
when sense of humour, dream denied, affords
itself the luxury of lines to beat
eternity’s sharp introspective swords
to ploughshares. Match met, mighty pen would treat
itself to compensation’s grained awards,
rewards grasped unexpected from defeat.
When unresponsive jaws urge exit_ation
upon Bell’s Palsy’s cause no recitation.

Upon Bell’s Palsy’s cause no recitation
consensual has ever been agreed,
in any case fear, greed, distress, elation,
soon sink whatever superficial need
is seen to safeguard mortal rank or station,
when viral illness executes trust deed.
What’s blasphemy and what is profanation?
what prayer path may top-down be decreed
when out of sight slips logic’s pagination?
Re-education sometimes may succeed
yet there remains no fail-safe medication
providing progress, success guaranteed.
Unwanted inflamation will proceed,
objections Death will always supercede.

Objections Death will always supercede,
replacing them by funeral oration.
No moral here is offered. Rose and weed
first struggle, then succumb, this their vocation
shared by all flora, fauna, led and lead
reduced to naught despite vain invocation
to greedy gods, bead creed, to speed indeed
from illness through redemption to salvation.
Who takes for granted thriving daily feed
on dainties drawn from every other nation,
gaily ignoring [s]he should ever heed
each morning’s warning that life’s current station
may t[r]ail to full stop, present won’t succeed
in meeting deadlines set in former stage.
December turns November's shredded page.

Submitted: Saturday, September 07, 2013
Edited: Saturday, September 07, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

Bell's palsy is a paralysis of cranial nerve VII (the facial nerve) resulting in inability to control facial muscles on the affected side. Several conditions can cause a facial paralysis, e.g., brain tumor, stroke, and Lyme disease. However, if no specific cause can be identified, the condition is known as Bell's Palsy. Named after Scottish anatomist Charles Bell, who first described it, Bell's palsy is the most common acute mononeuropathy (disease involving only one nerve) , and is the most common cause of acute facial nerve paralysis.

Bell's palsy is defined as an idiopathic unilateral facial nerve paralysis, usually self-limiting. The trademark is rapid onset of partial or complete palsy, usually in a single day.
(2 April 2009)

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