Crossing the Sahara by Scooter


SKU e-book Category

168 in stock


A Collection of Poetry
By Linda Appleby

ISBN: 978-1-84747-602-9
Published: 2008
Pages: 552
Key Themes: poetry, schizophrenia, homelessness, female experience, recovery


This is a diverse collection. Variety is the hallmark of the poems. You cannot take one of two poems alone and become familiar with the poet’s style. The subject matter is the most uniform aspect. These poems are about the struggle for respect, the establishing of a place for a sufferer from schizophrenia, through life on the hospital ward and homelessness. The stage is set with natural scenery: the hills and streams of South Cambridgeshire, the bleak but potent fens. A Welsh valley backdrop . The poet’s characteristic affinity with Nature is manifest in the weather and the seasons. Her personal battle is fought out with thunder and rainbows by the elements. Not an impersonal photograph, but the countryside personified in emotion and spirit. There is variety in spiritual orientation, an eclectic but not too eclectic use of Buddhist, Pagan and Christian traditions, bound into a totally original philosophy. Ballads, songs, hymns even, a recognisable borrowing from the oral and sung forms, but also free verse, haiku, rhyme or not, the romantic, the modern. And humour. If you sample across the whole range you will build a complete picture of one woman’s slow wrestle for dignity and connection.

About the Author

I was born in Cambridge, five years after my Mum and Dad had come here from Wales in 1951. We were townies, but there was plenty of contact with the university, the major local industry. Fascinated, I worked hard and got a free place to The Perse Girls’ School, three school prizes and places at Somerville and Wadham Colleges, Oxford. I got a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics but remained passionate about literature, music and the music of literature, poetry. Devoted to study, all that my school remembered was that ‘you were the one with the emotional problems’. But how could I grow and achieve things, when there was so much forcing me to give it all up? I feel I was being kept by some in a dark place where I would not flower. It is not surprising that I was confused by messages of high achievement and social expectations of loyalty and support for the less fortunate. These conflicts would not go away. Love of the written word led me into English teaching, but my ‘personality problems’ (I presume) meant that my career never really took off. Two lovely sons, divorce, full-time teaching, I was exhausted and sectioned in 2000. They diagnosed schizophrenia. I was homeless. The rest of my story is in the poems.

Book Extract


‘Welsh Women Don’t Write Books’

By the time I arrived there
The work had been done
The devil was in the journey



The bleeding heart
Which thought it would never stop loving
-Love, the most controversial word in the language
-Love, at your age
Is slowly sealed, married, repaired
No more leaking, gushing – healed

A painless suture, a cleaned wound



To blink back tears
Like an infertile seashell
Phobia. Physalis-lit
Polka-dot islands, like
My mercy-jar
Brimful of worthless copper
Dug from the silt of the ocean bed
With a conch to call ‘Rally!’
The coral reef frustrates the angel fish
They think it is false
Lacking the sea’s sincerity –
Like divided twins
I bear a beacon of scented twigs, but
Brandish a crooked besom


There are no reviews yet.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.