I’ve had flu.

The proper one where you can’t function and your skin hurts and everything’s inflamed and all you can do is to stare into the middle distance and wait for it to leave. I haven’t read anything, written anything, made anything for weeks and I’m still off coffee.


I’m trying to float

in this deep iron bath,

raising my pelvis from the cold and

tilting my head into warm water,

ears filled with dead sound.

And it works for a while,

looking up at the shower head,

hanging hoof-like from the ceiling.

There is a rough-maned, zinc-hued horse

pounding the attic floor.


Snorting steam.

My hands are floating on the surface nudging foam.

Can I feel the inside?

Watch me.

I reach a finger into a blue-oiled bubble.


I see myself in a

solitary water drop on the tap.

I am a small, twisted, one-eyed


I wait for the next

and the next

until I am cold.


Filed under poems, poetry, writing

10 responses to “Flu

  1. Trust you to get creative around an illness! I sympathise hugely and hope you get back to normal very soon.

    I had labyrinthitis in Dec and am still having physio to reset my balance and I’ve found it difficult to feel creative about it!

    • It’s not good, this illness thing. I’ve been utterly wrung out. Poor you with the labyrinthitis…hub had it a couple of years ago and he was not happy. Gross understatement. Hope you get your balance back very soon xx

  2. Jacqui

    Me too Claire. I’m never ill, my first time off work since 2009 but this has gone on for almost a fortnight . At the worst point I was in a hotel room supposedly going to a wedding dance but I had a bath, felt exactly like you’ve described and knew I was never going to get out of bed that night. Funny the going-off-coffee thing, i thought it was just me,although I had a craving at one point for instant rubbish. I also lost my voice for a week, only just managing to bark out low notes now. Feel better and well done for the poem xxx

    • Oh Jacqui – didn’t realise you’d been so unwell…losing your voice is pretty extreme and how on earth did you manage Kenny? Hope you’re feeling brighter xx

      • Jacqui

        Oh he buggered offshore of course. How come as women, even when we are ill we are expected to get on with looking after children (other people’s as well as my own), shopping( picked up a week’s supplies while collecting my prescription), cooking(although the girls did make me an omelette one night ). Perhaps I should lower my own expectations and learn to say no more often…?

  3. My expectations are very low but the worm will turn one day and there will be some raised eyebrows (thinking women only commune in South of France…I’ll save you a spot)!

  4. The only times I’ve ever thought I wouldn’t mind dying were when I had ‘flu, so I really hope you’re beginning to pick up again. Take it steady, it takes longer than you want to get properly well, so be very gentle with yourself – loads of pampering is essential!

  5. Thanks Anny. Am steadily improving but the dead London sky’s not helping me feel like I want to go beyond the front door!

  6. ack–I could feel the pain of that one. Been fighting the crummies on this side of the pond by lots of naps and trying to cut back on sweets. Hope you are getting better. Tea and sympathy. 🙂

  7. Thanks cricketmuse….tea and sympathy very well received. Had a coffee in the caff this morning after dropping off youngest. In fact, sat outside in the sun (still barely hovering above freezing but I have a big coat!) and feel much much better! Hope your crummies stop. I find large slugs of whiskey help….x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s