Hello and welcome back to our #SeeMeHearMe blog. This week, we’re extremely pleased to share with everyone the following poem written – and read – by Andy Strowman. At the risk of appearing to have a good grasp of both the subtle and sweeping strokes of the poetic pen, as it were, not to mention everything in between, Andy’s poem is a success in terms of its poetic form but, more importantly, in telling the story of his trauma – sometimes nuanced, sometimes not so nuanced.

We invite you to take a nice deep breath or two in order to ready yourself for immersion into the world as seen and experienced by a young Andy growing up Stepney Green, London. And feel free to take another grounding deep breath or two as you make your way towards the poem’s conclusion. Indeed, you may want to read it a number of times to truly see and hear Andy – we have and, even though the poem covers matters of real emotional texture, it’s an enriching experience all the same!

Andy has kindly offered to share his poems with anyone so interested so if you would like to contact Andy about this or any of his other poems, please let us know and we’ll help make the connection.

If you would like to share your story with our healing community, then please contact Derek at enquiries@epione-training.com or Felicity Douglas on Twitter @FelicityDougie.

In the meantime, over to you, Andy. We thank you with all of our hearts and wish you every success going forwards!


Mum and I

My Aunt Dorothy sends

old photograph of boy and mother


The best guitar she can;

For my mother I become

The Milward Street Band.


I take away her crying

I give her the ultimate way;

To make her start laughing

Is the sum of my day.


Sometimes she cannot,

She has no more tears;

I am ordered to sit

And watch all her fears.


She tells me to watch

Her face. I must.

I am only three years old

Who can I trust?


She puts on her record

Sophie Tucker-it is-

“My Yiddishe Mama”

No one can dismiss.


The gramophone record is crackling away,

Only my mother and I can relate in this way.

Crackle and crackle, on it must go,

But my mournful mother is still crying,

Only she and I know.


My mother and father; so poor and so sad,

No one is saying my mum is so mad.

But my Auntie Rae knows

What it must be

To live with a sister with so much memory.


Auntie Rae goes to work,

My Mum so alone;

A mother so forlorn

Can bring no happy home.


So, I am sent from neighbour to neighbour,

Who knows what they do?

Some kind, some disfavour.


Another sad is to follow

As Auntie Rae gets attacked;

My Mum is so violent

I see her get smashed.


Mum needs her money,

She needs it so bad;

But Auntie Rae runs out,

She knows Mum is mad.


I throw things at Auntie Rae

Before she can leave;

So much sadness,

How can Mum grieve?


So Primary school comes,lamp and frame

Friends I have found;

I have some relief,

For the pain on the ground.


Worse is to follow,

As I head for the big school;

I am made fun of.

I am the big fool.


Beatings and bullying,

Day in and day out.

Who can I tell?

Where can I shout?


Accused of being a queer,

Made to pay the price

Who do I tell?

Where’s my advice?


My Mum tells me,

One morning, one weekend,

“Daddy doesn’t love mummy anymore,”

I have no friend.


So, I must be quiet,

Tell no one I say;

God has gone mossing,

Where can I pray?


My Mum stops washing,

My Mum still has some sweets;

Our favourite: “Tonight’s”,

Is so much relief.


The dark and the smell,

Is all I remember;

January till July,

August to December.


No one comes near us,

No one can speak,

No Dad who has spoken,

No one to greet.


One Friday night he phones us,

Starving of love;

He found a fat woman,

To give her a shove.Mum and I by Andy Strowman - Curtain blowing in the wind


I am ordered by my brother, Howard

Speak on the phone!

I stay silent and refuse,

I stay so alone.


Each day after school,

The house is so sad;

I came home having learnt nothing,

How can I be glad?


The smell I remember,

Fifty-four years have gone by;

The pain is still with me,

I am unable to cry.


I write my poems,

Each one is so sad;

I read each to my mother,

I am still a young lad.


I go into her bedroom,

I am struggling to breathe;

The smell of my mother, I cannot dare leave.


She pulls me on top of her,

I feel safe, I am aroused;

I realise my loneliness

I am her crowd.


The joy of sensation

The thrill of her touch;

The bullies are fading,

I need it so much.


I know she is lonely,

I know she needs her love;

Where are my brothers?

I cannot move, cannot shove.


She holds me so tightly,

She is all I have got;

Where is my father?

Where is the wedding knot?


She holds me so tightly,

Her smell I remember;

Her need I have now

January till December.


Some call it abuses,

Some call it truth,

Some call it anything

But a normal youth.


The ritual was silent

She meant me no harm;

I had no one,

I never knew any calm.


Now I am happy,

I wrote what I can;

My mother is silent

In the deep of the land.


When she was dying,

I heard these words said:

“i never wanted you,”

before she was dead.


People imagine

What happened to me?

Now I am older

At last I am free.


My advice to anyone

Call it what you want;

But a child has no voice,

A child never says “Can’t”.


My father deserted us,flowers in grass

Left us starving and broke;

My mother so lonely,

So sad with no hope.


Who could she turn to?

Who could she ask?

I never had someone

To give me a path.


But I was lucky

You had a path you said;

At fourteen I worked,

But I was so dead.


Unless you have realised,

Unless you know best,

You will never know

What it takes to get rest.


My words are my comfort,

My solace, my hope;

No longer so hungry,

No longer so broke.


I ask all of you,

Please do not judge me;

My lament at school

Nobody loved me.


Our Auntie Rae stood by,

An angel so near

To be so alive,

To remove some of the fear.


Authorities, you can go now,

Go away to your car;

My mother is dead now,

You were always so far.


No neighbours were crying,

No neighbours came by;

We were so silent,

We never asked why.


Author: Andy Strowmam

2017 Copyright

old school photo

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