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Two Poems: Like Elsa & Hyperacusis Hell

Like Elsa

Family gathered in the conservatory,

youngest niece, Isabella, watches me,

as I rest back on the comfy chair,

sweeping my straggly, static hair

into a messy heap, over one shoulder.

Smiling, she says to Christina, her sister –

“Hey look, Dodo* has put her hair like that

and it looks like it’s in a plat, and because

it’s…white, she looks like Elsa”.

I’m happy then, delighted to be like

their favourite Disney character;

it’s the best compliment I’ve had

since depigmentation began.

Like the Snow Queen herself,

in her spectacular ice palace,

a resplendent arctic blonde – different,

but shimmering and lovely.

I’ll take that and treasure it:

I’m like Elsa.

Wirral 2020

*Dodo – a colloquial Welsh word meaning ‘aunty’.

This poem has been published on my social media pages: Twitter/ Instagram/ Medium: @serensiwenna It is also on my slides for the Public Health, Private Illness Conference and will be performed as part of the poetry reading evening event associated with the conference. It has not been published or submitted anywhere else.

Hyperacusis Hell

They’re always at it, everywhere –

fiddling with keys, crunching

crisp packets, and rolling tissues

between their fingers – and I can’t stand

these sounds, so slight to the normal ear,

but horrendously thunderous

in my own personal hell.

And they’re opening and closing their pens too,

thumbs moving, in and out,

over and over, click, click, click, ARGH!

It’s a cruel irony isn’t it? Losing functional hearing,

but developing unreasonable sensitivity

to every murmur and whisper, disturbing even

the all-encompassing silence – promised to me;

It makes me grumpy.

This world is becoming increasingly alien to me,

every day, and gradually confusing,

as the small sounds drown out the more important ones –

and I can’t differentiate between them.

Hyperacusis is a hell – one I can never escape from.

Wirral 2020

*This poem was originally published in Welsh as ‘Hunllef Hyperacusis’ (Hyperacusis nightmare) in the literary magazine ‘Barddas’. I have switched out the word nightmare for hell during translation to retain the alliteration; I feel the essence of the poem is also retained.

white woman with long platinum blonde hair in a blue jumer, smiling. she has a greenery backdrop.

Sara Louise Wheeler writes the column ‘Synfyfyrion llenyddol’ (literary musings) for Y Clawdd community newspaper in her hometown of Wrecsam. Her poetry, belles lettres and artwork have been published by Tu Chwith, Y Stamp, Gŵyl y ferch Anthology 2020, Meddwl.org, Barddas, Qualitative Inquiry, Centre for Imaginative Ethnography, and 3am Magazine. Sara is currently conducting an introspective project, exploring her embodied experiences of Waardenburg Syndrome Type 1 through a variety of creative and scholarly mediums. She is a Visiting Research Fellow at Glyndŵr University and lives in Ness, on the Wirral peninsula with her husband Peter and their pet tortoise, Kahless.

This is part of the Sister Stories series.

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