Nora, by Paula Matthews

May she be blessed a thousand times who first blessed me.

Little do you know my story. You seem to like me.
You identify something I can’t recognise.
You even asked me out to lunch.
Twenty people in this office,
you choose me for the seminar.
When you pop your head around the door,
in your lovely stripy top, like the funny clowns,
from the happy circus, before the dark clowns came,
little do you know your holy role in the hidden tale.
You think you are offering me coffee;
you’re giving me life. You’ve never seen
beneath the mask, but you soothe the deepest wound.
Precious Nora, if I could tell my story,
you’d be cast as an angel, or Mary Magdalene
anointing damaged feet with oil. The hero and the star.


Paula Matthews is a poet and social worker with personal lived experience of mental health. She has worked extensively in the field of mental health arts and is currently acting as a consultant for arts projects who wish to achieve best practice in inclusion and participation. She is currently writing a collection based on her experiences of bullying and her hopes for recovery.