Express yourself

20th March 2017

Writing is a great way to express yourself and share feelings that may otherwise be difficult to articulate – and poetry in particular can be a powerful outlet for emotions


You don’t have to be Keats or Byron to write poetry – that’s the great thing about it! Poetry is subjective and all about interpretation, so you can never be ‘wrong’.

Poems don’t have to rhyme either, they can simply be a collection of words that describe how you think or feel about something.

Writing about a difficult time in your life can be therapeutic and help you to make sense of the chaos and confusion you may feel during these times. That’s exactly what Bernadette Keogh has done, after she sadly lost her brother John Paul to meningitis in 1992, a week before his 13th birthday.

In a cruel coincidence, Bernadette’s sister Angela also contracted the life threatening disease, but was fortunate enough to pull through.

Bernadette originally from London but now living in the Netherlands said, “I have started writing poetry and was inspired to write a poem about my brother.

“I am very happy to be re-discovering the joy and creativity involved in this form of expression.”

Power of poetry

Bernadette has kindly given us permission to share this very personal poem, in the hope of raising awareness of the disease, and of the power of poetry.

Dear John Paul

Your destiny was set by a doctor’s mistake.
Damaged brain and body.
But you were loved and you could hear.
Head tilts in recognition of Her voice.

Captive in a shell that could not serve you
Were you in pain my love?
To hold you was to know you
Whispering words, connected by the heart.

We lost you when you were just 13
A Mother up all night
So you would not leave this world alone
Leaving behind fragile body for wings.

So why not give it a go yourself and write a poem about your meningitis experience?

Email your poems to