“Mindfulness” * A Poem of Breath * Holly Darragh-Hickey

I draw it in.
Deeper —past the habitual asphyxiation
Burning at the base of my throat.
It’s a draught to empty—
Oh, to swallow deep forests and crisp, alpine air!
It circulates, slackening musculature there—
Opening up the body.

That radiating breath!
One chaining easily, from part to part—
Alacrity to replace, to fill up every cell.
It begins as a zephyr—
Parting teeth at first,
Fluid, over the coils of my windpipe,
Riding the current into the pulse of my throat,
Then bracing into my chest—
Dilating the breathable organs—
The thickening mesh of alveoli.
One by one, awareness comes.

My breath falls,
Expands as the universe;
I enter the deep sleep of timelessness and divinity.
My awareness sharpens,
Centres on my crown—
The origin.

Blood primes, releases every muscle—
Drops my brow, rolls into the orbital sockets,
Funneling through nostrils—
Sifting the hair follicles there,
Alighting on cheekbones—
The perimeter of lips, the cusp of chin.

Then the rest—
The helter-skelter of vertebrae,
The swell, the dip of stomach and naval,
The flaring of the hips,
The cinch of wrists, ankles, thighs,—
And every rise and hollow in between.

The world expands, intensifies—
I See. I feel. I hear. I smell. I taste.
And I ride my thoughts as endless waves—
Flickering tides of consciousness.
Surrendering to them—is like submitting to a natural law!

I see. A secluded ring of grass—
Sun-baked crisp and yellow,
Stems curled, fraying, separating—
Like the last island of summer
Hemmed in by the green.

I feel. A spray of air on my face;
It sifts between lips—
Cool sensitivity, where a tongue momentarily flickered—
Saliva withdrawn from chapped lips already.

I hear. The friction of headphones against my collarbone,
Encircling my throat like a torc—
Crepitating listlessly with every jostle.

I smell. Rain-washed lavender, following a storm—
Heady fragrance, drifting in on cool evening air.

I taste. Old coffee granules, marinating between my teeth.

And then—a final sweep of self—
Inhaling restoration, exhaling fear.
The latter, slowly dissolving—
Every broken one.
I return to the beginning—
I am.


—-About the Author—

Holly Darragh-Hickey is an Irish poet. Writing has long been an outlet to her, as someone living with mental ill-health. Her poems catalogue challenging experiences from her life, endeavouring to create beauty from the darkness. She also writes about the solace of the natural world.

Holly’s poems and prose are due to be published in Bua Collective and mental health organisation Shine. She is also a volunteer writer for Libero Magazine—a peer-led magazine that champions good mental health.