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By Pat Winslow


From our first to our last,

every breath is an act

of survival.


Breaths are like steps.

Each one follows

the last


just as one smile follows another.

One smile invites

the next smile.


In this way we build a journey -

breathing, walking

and smiling


even if we have to learn

to do them again

and again.


Some things outside us

makes us smile inside –

birdsong, children, sunshine,


random acts of kindness – phone calls,

texts, how are you, a sandwich,

jam and scone, a cup of tea.


What was outside we bring into the warm.

We are the sum total

of these things.


We are the sum total of each other.

Therefore, be gentle,

be kind.


Cuddle up to someone you love,

someone who loves you,

a dog or a cat.


Take delight in laughter, flowers, knitting.

Sing when you hang out the washing.

Dance when you’re in the mood.


And play! You’re never too old for a train set.

Remember the whistle, the smell of coal,

an oily rag, the smoke.


Wave a flag. Celebrate every rainbow,

every snowflake, bluebell,

and April shower.


Look at home from a different angle.

Put your heart in your hands

and reach out.


Imagine a grassy view to the Thames.

Look beyond, ahead.



You can’t stop a river going forward.

Be like the river – get to

where you’re going


but don’t forget to stop along the way

and taste each moment



there’s no going back.

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