Morse Code

A poem about the effects of isolation during lockdown on a young person's mental health.

Mental health and wellbeingCurrent issues
By VoiceBox ·

Tzipporah (not her real name)

A 22 year old creative from South London

Who reads Morse code? … --- …

I’ve been treading water for so long,

I think, I’ve I forgotten how to swim.

So, when life becomes sea

I embody, drowning.

Fighting waves that can’t be seen.

Saltwater fills my lungs

As I try to keep abreast,

Eyes blinking in Morse code,

signaling distress.

They ask me how I am

And I regurgitate slogans like

I “Just do it”

Bout to “Have a break have a Kit Kat”

Concealing the night, behind a white smile

I say “I’m good”

“I’m - on - top - of - the - world”

And I repeat and repeat

Until I believe it myself,

And can say it comfortably.

Need four hugs a day


Sleep paralysis

Is the only thing that holds me.


I smoke the green,

when I’m feeling blue.

High on cold nights, finding cover beneath analogies,

Coming loose at the seams,

But never seem to get across what I really mean.

Cold nights, when you just need a spooning.

A hotboxed car, to blaze old tunes in.

When the lights turn low,

and the minds in need of soothing.

Lost in the game of smoke and mirrors,

With additions of liquor.

At the bottom of the bottle,

residue of the word sinner.

One day

Hands pressed together,

I said

“Please God just…

give me a sign.

I know you’re there,

I never ask this of you,

But today, I just

can’t stop crying.

Matrimonial vows

I swear I’ll never ask for another one

It’s just, I’ve lived in monochrome for too long

And forgotten the colour of the sun.

I’m not sure where my purpose lies.

I know I’ve not been a good servant.

I know I’ve not been complying.

I hear the walls whisper in the night,

they say I’m not worth the trouble,

they say failures a crime.”

I think about what they discuss behind my back, and with whom.

What other slurs I’ve been assigned

If the drapes get in on it too?

Then I realise…

They’re just echoing the thoughts harboured in my mind.

How can it be, that the monster beneath your bed,

Is kinder to you, than the conversation in your head?

My hearts in need of compressions and I yearn deeply to ascend,

But I’ve seen people do hellish things, to try to get to heaven.

So, I fashion myself into a kintsugi bowl.

Scars bound with liquid gold.

In the sun, shattered glass glitters,

So, I guess I bare a glittered soul.

Hands cut trying to find peace in my broken pieces,

Creating something new, from the reworking of the old.

I’m not good at goodbyes though,

You see

I savour them in my mouth

and let them create cavities

In my teeth.

But someone has to die, to turn the prince into a king


This version of me, must perish

so that a future me

can live.

***Morse code: A method used to encode text comprised of dots and dashes

***Kintsugi: The Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold, silver or platinum. Presenting the idea of beautiful scars. Thus, creating a stronger, more beautiful and unique piece of art. This practice, for many, being a physical representation of how we should view ourselves; sentient beings, refined through suffering.

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