How sympathetically Carole Bromley catches the wonder of someone hearing for the first time. Her poem comes from The Everyday Poet: Poems to Live By, edited by Deborah Alma, The Emergency Poet (Michael O’Mara Books Ltd, £9.99).

The editor’s Emergency Poet label was conceived as a way of bringing poetry to people, including those with dementia.


‘It sounds very very high’


and she sobs for the joy of it,

for the reds and blues of it,

the shock, the hullabaloo,


the kerfuffle, the Sturm und Drang,

the sudden ice cream in a shake,

the sherbet firework burst.


‘It’s just amazing’ she cries

her face in her hands.

‘I’m going to say the months of the year’


and she hears them, shaking,

‘January February March’

April overwhelms her.


It’s like never having seen a bird,

or the sea or the stars

never tasting an orange,


like living all your life in a cave

and coming out into the light,

the sun on your face.


Afterwards she walks by the Tyne,

daren’t go alone for fear

the birdsong, the traffic, the ship’s hooter


will be too much. They are not.

It’s like falling in love.