Thursday, 23 August 2012

Locked In

I normally shy away from politics and the news for my poetic inspiration, if only for the reason that there are plenty of poets out there who do so better than I.

I know that this is a controversial subject; one that everyone has a strong opinion about, but as I read of Tony Nicklinson's passing, I was moved to write the following poem, in dedication to him and to others who are currently facing similar situations.

Locked In
If Heaven called, then rolled on by
would you still have the heart to cry,
to carry on within a shell,
a prisoner in a living Hell?

Would you still have the heart to cry
whilst shielding pain from passersby.
Denied the urge to rant and rail
against the Gods, might your faith fail?


Whilst shielding pain from passersby
I have no strength or heart to cry,
for as I sit here silently,
the law has robbed my dignity.

I have no strength or heart to cry
my only wish... that I could die
amidst the warmth of family,
such peace, I long for urgently.

My only wish... that I could die,
my spirit's dead, my soul can't fly.
I'm locked within this useless shell,
tormented life, a living Hell.

Tony Nicklinson was diagnosed with Locked In Syndrome (LIS) following a catastrophic stroke in 2005.

A person with LIS experiences a total paralysis of all their muscles, rendering them unable to speak or move. They can usually move their eyes and sometimes can communicate by blinking. Cognitive functions are retained, which means that they remain conscious and able to think and reason for themselves whilst being totally dependent on their nurse or carer to perform even the basic activities of daily living (ADL)

There are three categories of LIS.

Classic: unable to move or speak but conscious and with vertical eye movement

Incomplete: as above but with some other voluntary movement for example, hands. Occasionally, the ability to move facial muscles and make basic sounds is also present.

Total: conscious but with complete immobility and total inability to communicate.

On August 12th 2012,Tony Nicklinson lost a long legal battle for the right to end his life in a dignified manner, at a time of his choosing and with medical help. Less than a week after the judgment, Tony passed away peacefully at home, following a rapid deterioration after contracting Pneumonia. 
He was only 58.  May he rest in peace. My thoughts and best wishes to his family.

1 comment: