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Disability Poems, Disabled Poetry About Wheelchair Contents In A Disempowering World

Updated on March 21, 2012

Why Disability Poetry?

Walking past a shop one day, I noticed three people crippled up in their wheelchairs. Balanced on their bodies, twisted with cerebral palsy, there held money tins. They were collecting on behalf of a disability charity.

This inspired me to write disabled poetry. Why? I felt angry. Were they collecting with free will? Did they really have an informed choice? Or was this manipulation from the charity - using guilt from the passer by in order to extract money?

The truth is, we don't know the truth, but it got me thinking... how would it feel to be in a body that didn't work but with a perfect working brain? How would other's respond to me and how would I respond to others? What would be my thoughts and feelings? Would anyone really give a damn or would I just be a charity case?

Disability poems are a concept that many haven't thought of but is a great way of expressing yourself, particularly in a dis-empowering world.

This poem is my take on what it just might be like to be caught in a body that won't behave and a brain that is all seeing and knowing.

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“Hello, how are you today?”

A crusty old lady stooped over, all gay.

Her hand touching mine – a manner of pity –

Makes ME feel small – makes her quite witty!

The look in her eyes, her soul she unveils –

She’d rather shoot off, and visit the sales!

But her duty to do, ‘the good deed of the day’, makes her so saintly –

The path of GOD’S WAY!!

Now I’m the poor bugger, she’s chosen to help,

Me murmurs, me utters, me given to yelp!

“Would you like me, to take that my dear?”

(Oh, here she goes, -- just what I fear).

I find myself nodding – my neck very stiff, I utter, I murmur – I’m given to sniff.

She opens my purse – hands over some change, - (you’d think that I suffered with more than the mange!).

Let's erase 'disabling' for 'enabling'!
Let's erase 'disabling' for 'enabling'!

I sit here and flicker my chair here and there,

Blank faces and titters, smiles and stares.

As my hands are so shaky, the can that I bought, has given me reason, to fight and to fought.

This sweet little lady bows over my hand,

“There, there my deary”, (my mouth feels like sand!),

“If I hold you quite steady”, (then I can drink fast!),

“Now if you’re quite ready” (Oh dam and blast!),

The drink that I hold has dripped over my dress!

“What have we done love – ah, what a bless!”

So, here ends my ditty of life in a shell,

What’s more the pity –


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A Disability Poem To Enable

In this disability poem, I have deliberately described the wheelchair first and it's contents second. I wanted to do this because I wanted to highlight dehumanisation. This aimed to shock the reader into understanding that people in wheelchairs are not an object or content, but are real people with real feelings and understanding - just like any other human being.

We, so called 'able bodied' people take our abilities for granted. People with disabilities have so many obstacles - every movement has to be planned and accounted for. The point of my message is not about dis-empowerment - for which so many people with physical difficulties have inflicted upon them more than the difficulties themselves - but empowerment. Let us think not in terms of 'disabled', but more in terms of 'enabledt'. Let us enable them to live an independent life with dignity and respect. Surely that is a human right for all?

© 2011 Shazwellyn - This work is covered under Creative Commons License

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    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 5 years ago from Great Britain

      You didn't 'get it', did you Debbie? #Sighs#

    • profile image

      Debbie 5 years ago




      This is without a shadow of a doubt, the worst "poem" I've ever read. I hope you don't mind me sharing it on my blog as such. ..."to fight and to fought."...LOL!

      Disabled people would cringe reading this.

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain

      Thanks Becky. We need to think in terms of empowered rather than disabled. People in wheelchairs are just that... people in wheelchairs! Thanks for stopping by :)

    • profile image

      Becky 6 years ago

      That's sooo true! Good work, when I was in a wheelchair its funny how people just completely ignore you and treat you differently x

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain

      resspenser - people want to be treated like any other human being, not because of the disability but because of the ability. We are all one, whether we have tools to help us get around or not. Thank you for your kind comment x

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain

      Hmrjmr1 - It is a totally different world from that angle and the humiliation... and the humiliation x

    • resspenser profile image

      Ronnie Sowell 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Great work, here. My knee went out on me at Myrtle Beach once and I had to ride in Mark's wheelchair to the car at a huge mall area. It was amazing how I could feel people ignoring me, avoiding eye contact, etc.

      A view from a chair: it gave me a new insight.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 6 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Up and Awesome Shaz. Wouldn't hurt anyone to ride a mile in their chairs. Life and people are a whole different view from that angle. God Bless.

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain

      Thank you Senoritaa and Vinaya :)

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 6 years ago from Nepal

      Very true and convincing. Nice work.

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Senoritaa 6 years ago

      Empowerment! Such a clear and strong message so beautifully presented. Voted up.