by Margaret Williams


She sits there,
Long unmown leaves tickling her feet,
Spinning. In the seeming silence,
Spinning. Amid the golden sun splashes.
She cares not for garish plastic toys
Not for her daydreams
Of boys and teenage love.
Instead she hears
A symphony in the tones
Of the ice-cream van.
Feels sparks of prismic colour
In the feel of the breeze on her face.
She spins, and fills herself
With the world that's real to her.
The world she can touch and taste and hear,
Related in ways she does not understand.
But with a flicker of the eyes,
And a slight opening of her arms,
She invites you to join her.
To sit and spin in the afternoon sun.

Margaret Williams


I wanted this poem to capture a snapshot moment in the evening of a day last summer, and hoped it would enable me to express the wonder I felt at it. The girl in this poem is in her early teens*, severely autistic and we have been working together for several years in various situations. The point at which she invited me into her world was therefore, for me, a very moving experience and one I will never forget. I wanted to explore the fact that this girl was entirely at peace in her world, fascinated by the small things - the chime of an ice cream van! Therefore any invitation to join in with her (incredibly rare, she is usually uncomfortable around all people who want to come anywhere near her) was something to be cherished. In my opinion, only by relating to her world was I able to make any progress in our relationship or be able to show her anything of my world. I found this poem interesting to write as it let me think about what I really felt at that time.

*details changed to maintain patient confidentiality

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