Category Archives: The Barry Pankhurst collection

The Barry Pankhurst collection – two more poems.

Indonesian transportFact not Fiction


I went shuffling around all the rooms

becoming extremely confused, and my

wife started to wonder why, what’s the

problem she lovingly enquired, I can’t

find my paper I said with a deep sigh, so

we searched the house high and low, even

the rubbish bin was given a glance, but my

newspaper was still nowhere in sight,


Then later in the day as my darling was about

to cook lunch, as she opened the fridge, Oh

what a surprise, what is your paper doing in

here she questioningly cried, and without

even a second’s thought I replied with an

instantaneous jibe, far too many hot issues

inside, so I put in there until they cool down,

causing my wife to laugh so much, she cried.



Barry August 2009





The human brain has more complexity than any modern technology and still defies the greatest minds, yet even though we might have dementia it can bring out abilities that we never knew lingered deep inside.


How can it be?


People keep asking me, how can it be?

that now you can write in poetic verse,

when it was something you never liked,


Even my doctor asked the same question,

who inspired you, to dip a quill into ink,

who’s the influence behind the way you write?


Could it be a latent gift sprung from within?

is it a spiritual gift bestowed on you by God,

or is it just the brain’s persistence with a fight,


I shake my head in astounded bewilderment,

as I don’t have any plausible explanation, as

it’s just as medication invigorating my mind,


Now when people speak I might hear a word,

or sometimes a verbal flowing phrase, thence

my thoughts have the inspiration of verse,


All I’m trying to do is stimulate the brain,

whilst broadening awareness of an illness,

using romantic, yet it’s actuality, in rhyme,


So I’m not in search of fame and fortune,

neither the Poet Laureate Nobel Prize,

I’m merely motivating the brain, to survive.



Barry August 09





A conversation betwixt Heaven and Hell within ‘my mind’ from the Barry Pankhurst collection.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A conversation betwixt Heaven and Hell within “my mind”


My battle of wills within the intellect doth ensue each day,

so sometimes I seek a higher point of view in clarity,

for it’s quality of magnitude so I become not passive,

and not blurred within a haze until spring doth dawn,

whence birds’ eloquent song or beauty of voice are not of choose,

for they will always both be welcomed with warm embrace, but…

thence doth start a conversation betwixt heaven and hell,

where a foray and affray within my mind doth continual dwell,


Compassion is mine alone to give, sayeth the heaven,                                  

Then confusion is mine to entail, comes the cry from hell,

I shall awaken the brightest of new dawns, sayeth heaven,

Then I will descend upon your setting sun, cryeth hell,

Thou can seek solace within my embrace, sayeth heaven,

Then I will lay lament on your memories past, cryeth hell,

I will give fortitude in body and mind, sayeth heaven,

Then I shall eat at the very heart and soul, cryeth hell,

I shall be at your side throughout everyday, sayeth heaven,

Then I will send ghouls in the night to disarray, cryeth hell,

I will reign over your every walking step, sayeth heaven,

Then I will rain discord on the equilibrium, cryeth hell,

I shall guide ye through the storm clouds of dismay, sayeth heaven,

Then I will send a dense shroud that darkens the way, cryeth hell,

I shall calm the harshest decibels to mind and ear, sayeth heaven,

Then I will diminish speech with fraught tears, cryeth hell,

Have no fear, for your life is in the hands of God, sayeth heaven,

Not if I have my way, comes an echoing cry from hell,

Then thou art the most cruellest demon, sayeth heaven,

For the being that fights illness surely embodies the Lord,

To this there were no more cries to be heard from hell,

Truly Alzheimer’s doth take me betwixt heaven and hell…


Barry November 09


  :   This particular poem received a lot of encouraging reviews when posted on the Alzheimer’s society ‘Talking Point website’ in the poetry section, here are just a few quotes for you to see how other people view my poetry:


Barry I think this poem is far too important to be overlooked as  I have thought of this poem a lot and I feel sure it will mean a lot to people that come across it over the years.
I’ve often wondered why there aren’t many responses to your poems and I really do think it is because they are so brilliant that it can be hard to know what to say.  It could be a bit like how a pauper might feel at being given riches out of the blue and not quite knowing what to do with it but at the same time knowing that it is amazing!
Your poems are the kind that remains important forever Barry – they have that quality about them.

In some ways it seems a shame that you don’t ‘know’ just how different your poems are.  I’ve always wondered whether they are a spiritual gift and that might explain why you don’t know where the ability came from?  Who knows – but it is the difference between a poem by Pam Ayres and a poem by Shakespeare.  Both have their place but one is destined to travel over the years and not everyone can understand.Sometimes when I read a poem of yours for the first time, I am left speechless (yes, me:) because there is nothing to say in response.  It seems it does not require a response.Best wishes Helen Tomlinson 


(I agree with Helen, Barry – I read your poem this morning & was somewhat speechless – I can honestly say how much of an impression it made…

.thank you,) Bookworm,


(Barry, I’m a Quaker and we sometimes use the phrases that go back a long way in the history of the Society of Friends.

There are two I use in response to your wonderful poem. One is ‘This speaks to my condition’ and the other is ‘This friend speaks my mind’)
Thank you, Shelagh,

More from the Barry Pankhurst collection.








One of the many problems with living in a foreign country when you have dementia can be having to also readjust your mind with all the differences in customs, cultures, traditions, and the differences in language which can cause added stress to the condition.

Confusion ensues


Today my wife has been home, it’s her rest day

from our shop, I should say it’s nice to have her

bustling around me, but now the problems start,


She’s cleaning and tidying up the house, starting

to move things all around, now attacking at my table,

where I sit working, day in day out,


So I decided its best go outside, relax, and take in

some fresh air, but when I came back, to sit at my

table, what a nice surprise waiting for me, as nothing

could I find, yes it’s lovely to have you with me today

my darling, But,


Where are all my pencils and ball pens, and where are

my note pads for me to sit and write, where have all my

poems gone, and where are the dictionaries for my mind,

everything’s gone, it’s all out of my sight,


I know from within your eyes the table is now nice and

clear, But, Oh dear, Oh dear my love, you have so totally

confused me this day,


Now you’re sitting beside me talking, telling me all the

latest news, about a goat just born in our village, without

any legs but has two heads, that everyone is going to

look and see,


You’re getting so very excited, talking about this big event,

but the right words in English you can’t find, so now you’ve

switched to Indonesian, and then telling me the same thing

in Javanese,


No, stop, stop, stop not in three languages please, as my

head is spinning, going round and round, all the languages

mixing together inside my head, or has someone turned

on a blender in my brain,


Yes my wife it’s lovely you are by my side today, but

one thing is now very clear in my mind,

Confusion ensues all around.


Barry November 2006 




Oh what’s happening within my life, as nothing around

seems to be right, my trousers are too tight, and then they’re

too loose, the belts are too wide, so they wont fit through the

loops, my shirts are the wrong colours, and why have they

got long sleeves, now my hats are all wrong, and why do

I need so many pairs of shoes,


The food tastes terrible no matter what I eat, yet my

taste buds are craving for delectable treats, the sun’s

scorching bright, yet why am I feeling so cold, so I’m

wearing two jumpers as to ward off the snow, I’ve

brushed my hair a dozen times, yet it’s still not as I like,

but should the parting be on the left or the right,


Now I must have those ball pens, but I don’t know why,

since no longer do I sit and write, then the clothes in my

wardrobe I really must change, as within my eyes they all

look the same, and I must buy those new trainers, in case

I go out jogging tonight, so I’d best have an umbrella,

just in case it rains,


The television’s now rubbish, no matter what I watch, so

should we think about buying a new TV, and when you

go shopping can you buy a new clock, as I’ve lost the sight

of time, now you want to sit talking telling me about your

day, yet I sit with tight lips, and a frown, as I’m scared my

words will be mumbled to confound,


Oh obsessions, obsessions, as now nothing is right today.



Barry August 2009



I do not have a clue


I want to scream, I want to shout out,

smash a dish, let all my feelings be felt,

and I do not have a clue as to why,


I went to write a most eloquent verse,

but the words in my mind won’t rhyme,

and I do not have a clue as to why,


I went to make a light Victoria sponge,

but the idea collapsed before I did start,

and I do not have a clue as to why,


I went to paint a pictorial floral scene,

but the landscape’s all sheaves of wheat,

and I do not have a clue as to why,


I went to play you a romantic melody,

but the notes on the piano sound the same,

and I do not have a clue as to why,


I went to type a letter on the computer,

but the keys all merged appearing absurd,

and I do not have a clue as to why,


I went to cut you the most fragrant bouquet,

but the flowers had no blooms or scent,

and I do not have a clue as to why,


I want to scream, I want to shout out,

smash a dish, but Oh dear, I’m still in bed,

maybe this is the clue to all the why’s.


Barry September 09


Poems and autobiography from Barry.


The seven dwarfs rolled into one.                                                                               I’m the seven dwarfs rolled into one

Do you remember the princess fairy story,

Snow White with the seven dwarfs, of the

spell cast on an apple, sent her to sleep, then

awoken again by a handsome young prince,

The seven dwarfs were her friends, but

can you recall their poignant names, as what

they symbolize in my dementia mind, is that

I am now very much the same,

First there was Bashful, which is now just

the same as me, especially when I try to talk,

but Doc was the wisely little fellow, a bit like

my Doc who I go to see every two weeks,

As for Dopey, well what can I say, since

many a day I feel like that, but then I get

Grumpy, with a long mournful face going

wandering about,

Yet other days I can be extremely Happy,

full of excitement, which then makes me

feel Sleepy, and now occasionally I even

have Sneezy fits,

So mirror, mirror on my wall, tell me who

is the fairest of all the dwarfs? But you are by

far the fairest it replied, as you’re just like all

the dwarfs rolled into one mind.

Barry August 09



As you read this put yourself in the shoes of a person with dementia


Synonyms of Confusion


speaking, this is all much

the same, but place yourself

within my daily mental disarray,

confusion, confusions, confusing a mind,

mystified, conundrums of dementia affray,

perplexity, perplexing, at my every thought,

bewildered in bewilderment, I wander astray,

puzzlement, as I can’t understand what you said,

uncertainty, now grips me as my confidence is dead,

baffled, as I can’t regulate or restrain anything that I do,

understanding, of my illness completely defies your days,

misunderstanding, what you said, so misconstruction prevails,

disorientated, unsettled, mixed-up, all at sea, now that’s truly me,

incomprehension, lack of understanding, blankness, at what to say,

disorder, turmoil, chaos, disarray, all declining into Alzheimer’s disease.



Barry August 09






Barry this poem is verging on genius and I am very sincere when I say that. I found it totally baffling. I really wanted to understand and hold the words and meanings but I couldn’t. The shape had an optical illusion effect which compounded the confusion. I cannot imagine having to go through life experiencing that much of the time – let alone a lot of the time
I realise from this poem that understanding dementia is not necessarily through language alone but experience. Your poem gives us a fraction of the experience, and I would like the sitters (who care for Alan whilst I’m working) to experience what it might be like to be Alan.


Helen, wife and carer of husband who has dementia 





My Autobiography. 

My name is Barry Pankhurst,

I was born in May 1946 in the town of Enfield, Middlesex, England,


By profession I had been a Master Baker and Confectioner specializing in the decoration of celebration cakes, when I first started my career at the age of 15 in a small family run business called (Painters of Enfield) little did I realize how my career and life would evolve, it gave me the tremendous honour of being able to make cakes for many members of Royalty, stage and screen celebrities and to be used in television advertising, then when I was working as a regional bakery adviser within one of the UK’s leading supermarket chains I noticed a challenging job opportunity in a bakery trade magazine to work overseas in Doha Qatar as a bakery manager within a department store, so I applied for the vacancy and out of 300 applicants was fortunate to get the position, it was to be a major stepping stone that would change my whole life in so many ways.


After having worked in Doha for 4 years I was asked to join one of the worlds leading consumer companies as their regional bakery advisor to the Middle East and then became their regional manager to the Middle and Far Eastern countries being based in Thailand, it was a career that bought me into contact and an understanding of many different cultures, customs, traditions, religions and changed my whole philosophy of life, then I was asked to move and be based in Indonesia were I have lived for the past 16 years with my Indonesian wife Sumi and stepdaughter Yuni.


Then in January 2005 fate took a devastating twist in my life when I was diagnosed with having mixed dementia with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease which turned my entire life upside down, having this illness is made even worse where I now live in a small provincial village as there is no Alzheimer’s society or day centre support groups for either myself or my wife so we had been in a very much go it alone situation, well that was until about 4 years ago when providence was to take a fortuitous twist and purely by chance via a UK Alzheimer’s society website of which I am a member through E-mails Richard De Lullington (Richard) and I came into contact with each other and ever since that day we have become firm far distant E-mail friends, I’m sure you have all read Richards own autobiography account of how he was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s only to be told 10 years later that the diagnosis was wrong which in itself must have been extremely difficult for him, his wife Lynda, and the children to try and readjust back to a life of some normality again, yet even though he was undiagnosed it has not deterred him from still corresponding with me, to me this is the sign of a true friendship even though we have never actually meet face to face, and now I feel even more privileged that he has offered to put some of my dementia related poems onto his website to try and broaden the awareness of this debilitating illness, what more could a man look for with such a dear friend to support him.




(Alzheimer’s has become my mother of intent in broadening its awareness)