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I smile inside


Dawn chorus, sun rising

First coffee of the day,

Fresh bread toasting

Strawberries and cream.

Cherry blossom and peonies

Longer days ahead

Sunshine on face

And summer breeze.

Colours of autumn

Carpets of leaves,

Crisp winter mornings

Clean sheets on bed,

Warm towels on skin

Log fire crackling,

Silence of snow

Christmas lights of tinsel.

Stormy nights outside

Waves crashing on the shore.

Pouring colour on canvas

Sculpting clay in my hands,

Words run from my fingers

And dance to the music.

Baby smells and dimples

Holding finger tight,

Watching him sleep

‘You’re my granny’, he says,

I smile inside


By Caroline Wren


Lazing in a late Autumn

English country idyll.

All is peaceful but for the

Quiet tick tock of an old clock.

There’s no place I’d rather be.

Out of the window sits a statue 

Of Buddha on a leafy green bank.

Before it stands a bird feeder.

Against the window is some 

Stained glass that I made.

Sitting in this comfortable chair,

The atmosphere invites one to meditate.

At the moment I see a nuthatch feeding.

The tranquility is simply bliss.

Most of the leaves are down now.

At the moment I am detached

From all the world’s problems.

There is calm and I have mental well-being.

In a nutshell, Paradise!


By Chris Williams







It was never money, or really even toys.

It was his face, and a bear hug.

Simplistic, time, his face, and warm gentle hugs

where you almost couldn’t breathe.

You would sit on his lap and bounce up and down.

He felt mine temporarily, again.


Then he left and I relied on

my memories of his time and those hugs.

I then felt the comfort of a Spiritual hug.

Jesus' warm loving blanket wrapped around me,

keeping me safe.


Then a more earthly, surprising hug again, simplistic,

but equally making me smile,

inside my whole body.

I had a second chance of love,

and he too had big hands and he embraced me so tenderly.

This love, this smile and hug were to last.

By Debbie Watts

O look lord


I went for a walk today.

Well, a roll.

And even that was haphazard.

No rhythm. No momentum. No dynamism.

Certainly no straight forward lines. No flow.

Fingers caught in spokes.

Gloves slipped.

Nails tore.

Brakes failed.

And an arm fell off

(fortunately, not mine).


I huffed over bumps in the ‘accessible ’path.

I momentarily floundered in a loose gravel sea.

I dodged the dropped shingle.

I swerved through wet leaf litter.

I trailed brown slime and sludge.

I careered down the hill shrieking “wheeeeeeeee....... “

But I didn’t fall in the puddles

and the dog didn’t pee on my wheels.



I peered.

I prodded.

I examined.

I successfully contorted my camera to ground level.

And unsuccessfully got stuck there for a while

watching a snail take tea with a worm.

I talked to a robin for intelligent conversation

and carefully consulted a bee,

needing to glean her nutritional “recommendations”

before she released hold of my hat.


I glanced under leaves.

I rummaged in the reeds.

I reached for ripe blackberries

smeared and swiped them over my lips

and christened my cheekbones with

warpaint scooped from river silt.

I felt rough smooth worn grooved bark

as I greeted the scars of each tree.

I imprinted tribal patterns along the pavement.


I saluted the sky,

waved great looming clouds goodbye

watched them thin into torn flags

and streak blazing banners across the heavens.

I named a new colour.

I collected an acorn and chewed on some grass.

I buried my hand in the sandbank

then plunged my hand through

the pond’s puckered surface. (I’m nearly sure

the strange green will fade over time).


I tapped on the concrete.

I tickled the wet railings.

I twisted the loose plastic and,

plucky knight on her charger,

rescued an entire country of twigs

from being smothered.


And I sat still.


And heard my breath smoke into droplets

while my chest crackled;

Lifeblood pounded in my ears.

I smelt the damp dog-rose.

I sniffed a dried cowpat.

I inhaled the comfort of bonfires.

I heard creatures burrowing

and others uprising

through tunnels engineered before time.

I caught the buzzard’s mew as he played

on the thermals and watched four rooks

layer up their new home.

On the other side of the Yew

I heard a spade’s sigh

as it slipped into soil

and the pear fall thud messily behind me

(another lucky escape).


I lost count of the number of times I said

‘o look lord’ to the spirit striding beside me.


And all this without leaving my bed.


By Kate Kennington Steer

Love in lockdown


“Go on” they said

“pop on-line”

“Go on” they said

“learn how to swipe”

“Go on” they said

“choose left or right.”


And, so it began,

locked in my haven.

At least it still felt safe.


“Go on” they said

“use that old photo”

“Go on” they said

“make it black and white”

“Go on” they said

“you’d be a fabulous wife!”


I coughed in horror,

I’m just happy being me,

if only they could see.


“Go on” they said

“knock a few years off”

“Go on” they said

“look far and wide”

“Go on” they said

“you needn’t even go outside.”


Ping, ping, ping - ping

Who are all these people?

I haven’t even swiped…


“Go on” they said

“you’ve obviously been liked”

“Go on” they said

“it’s the new way to date”

“Go on” they said

“plan a face to face.”


I coughed hard, again.

“Obviously, on-line” they said.

But I prefer to write.


“Go on” they said

“get to know them more”

“Go on” they said

“find out if you get along”

“Go on” they said

“send each other songs.”


Surprisingly enough, this all went rather well.

Until one extra quiet day – ping – a picture,

of what, I could not tell,

until I put my glasses on!


“Go on” they said

“send one of yourself”

“Go on” they said

“it’s how it’s done these days”

“Go on” they said

“do not be afraid.”


I checked my interactions

then noticed a new name

lockdown was lessening

so, I retraced my steps in vain!


“Go on” they said

“meet in real-time”

“Go on” they said

“a socially distanced walk”

“Go on” they said

“it’ll give you time to talk.”


What they didn’t know was this

that Dan had become Dwayne

a builder to a banker overnight.


(he had even updated his photo)




The long and short of this story

my friends, is that not all, is

always as it seems!


My position on the online tables

had tumbled rather a lot.

And kings and princes of the deck

somehow felt a safer bet.


And especially now, that meeting up outside

was becoming an actual possibility.

I’d rather reclaim my spot.


Thus, the modern dating game,

was over. At least I had tried -

and appeased my lovely friends.

My summer of 2020.






now I am back to what I know

‘Solitaire’, of course, and the

‘League of Legends’ where

boys never show!



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My internal smile


Life cycles,

Life up's and down’s,

Life is a journey,

That takes you,

This way,

That way,

In every direction,

Life takes you,

But you will always,

See me smiling inside,

That Invisible Smile.


By Sandra Priseman











Smile for a stranger


My son is very observant 

even though he's only four.

Chocolate thumb in mouth,

blanky dragging on the floor.


Standing in the queue 

around the corner at our local store

I see he's staring, staring

beady eyes galore -

fixed entirely on the strange man in front,

brow tightly wrinkled. 


Oh boy he's thinking; he can be blunt!

Baby blue eyes, soften and twinkle 

looking him up and down,

he pulls his blanky tight.

Pokes the strange man,

and says, very loudly, with all his might 



Well now the tables have turned 

its suddenly very hot. 

He looks ME up and down

with the deepest concern


with utter dismay.


I'm sure he still wondered, of the past,

for a while

but it made my day.

21 years later

it still makes me smile.


By Zena

My little bubble

Cat purrs a lot, but doesn’t speak much.

He chirrups in the morning when he first meet.

Sometimes he yowls for attention,

or to insist on immediate food.

But there is one occasion when the sound emits is indescribable.

I blow soap bubbles,

a children’s toy,

and he is just ...

He is ... but truly ... with ... and oh so ...
I can describe my feelings, however.

I feel lightened, heartened,

drawn towards this little boy,

and I smile.


By Malcolm Floyd

Creative Response's Stories Which Make Us Smile Inside 

Creative Response By Debbie 

Creative Response By Julie

Creative Response By Paula

Creative Response are a charity supporting vulnerable adults of all ages with mental health issues, including addictions, learning and physical disabilities. For more information please visit

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Smile inside


The early summer sun warming my body

Limbs outstretched floating alone in the middle of the secret lake,

All my dark thoughts and fears sinking into the deep black water below me,

A feeling of peace and freedom from the eternal struggle washes over,

A smile appears within.

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Creative Response By Lizzie


Creative Response By Charlotte C

Creative Response By Tony L

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