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‘shadows of aphantasia’

my mind is blind
unable to hold
an image, a face, a place,
I might devise an outline

use words, describe
a radiant smile
have some recall
but images cannot last

they disappear
into the breath of words

last night you were lit
in a double shadow
as if soul and spirit
exist  –

beyond the bronze
on my shelf
wind in tail,
fore-leg held high

but kept alive –
by words in my mind

Gill Cody has spent much of her life living in Asia. She trained as a counselor and teacher, founded a Montessori pre-school in Hong Kong before going on to work with women with historic sexual abuse. Her studies took her from literature, education and counseling to the understanding of dreams. She is currently a director of children’s entertainment company based in London.

“Having recently discovered I have aphantasia’ (the inability of the mind’s eye to create, retain or recall images) I wrote this poem out of a prompt from Sally Flint’s Adventures in the Blind Field. I was drawn to the course as this condition affects the quality of my observations and having photographs to focus on and then explore ‘beyond the frame’ was both helpful and freeing.”


  • Sheila Jacob

    Lovely to see your poem here,Gill,it’s beautifully written.

  • Gill Cody

    Thanks for the feedback Sheila. It’s a first for me even in this safe forum as I’m so reluctant to publish anything as I always think it can be improved! Also ironic that the poem’s topic is the very thing that quietly undermines my confidence as a writer 🙂

  • Sheila Jacob

    Hi Gill, I’ve only just seen this reply. I can imagine how the condition would undermine your confidence but perhaps it’s also what spurs you on to write. It can be unnerving seeing one’s own poem in the public domain, I guess a poem can always be improved but that’s not a bad thing if it keeps us writing!All the best,Sheila

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