As we continue to share submissions to our 80/20 arts project, here's a new poem from Orla Blakelock.

A new arts project from Bipolar UK for young people


This tiger sips her hot beverage with a charming brazenness

The kind of charm most of us long for but never undertake,

the kind that needs a raw appetite for gristle,

bones and steak

This tiger has a hunger for the pythons of the rainforest,

for the sharks that like to bite

So it is no wonder this young dragonfly more than warms her appetite

The bright blue dragonfly with the short tight curls, the bright blue

dragonfly who turns the heads of all the girls

Tiger sees, tiger likes, so now the tiger has come to tea. She sits and looks and

waits, then she says: "Do I have to pay for your tea, or

it is free?"

Young dragonfly flurries into a haze of blue confusion: “Why of course, whatever set you under

that illusion?”

Tiger smiles, tiger smirks, she is already beginning to see dragonfly’s quirks

The tea is made and the sugar descended, and already tiger feels that it’s ended.

As she stares into the depths of dragonfly’s eyes, she realises

she doesn’t need to try

 

Tiger sees that she has the dragonfly’s wings,

that she has the power to snap them as she sings - to the tune that tigers like to call

‘majestic’. It’s what they do when their minds turn from happy to sick

This tiger’s stripes have gone rotten and dragonfly begins to feel her heart bleed,

as she wipes away the cotton

from her eyes

Dragonfly’s wings are clipped, her colour drained and drenched

in mud. Dragonfly is wounded, she is without her wings, only now she only hears the poison

in the words the tiger sings

This tiger is like no other, immune from the ruin she instils in family, her lovers. She has no limits, no loyalties.

Tiger knows what love can do, and so she has only come for tea

 

But now the teapot is spewing acid, and the cakes are talking madness - the tablecloth has run away, overwhelmed with sadness!

All that’s left is a table with angry pots and seared teaspoons

The tea party has been swallowed up, swallowed up with gloom

So with this sorry sight, the tiger falls away - she is nothing without tea and cake to fill her tray

 

It is no surprise to realise that tiger knows how to fake, no surprise to realise, she knows how to

take. Take the colour and drain it from Dragonfly’s face

Drench it in mud, and make her sorry she ever liked the chase

She muffles the dragonfly and takes her pride -

dragonfly is taken in, and out with the tide

A tide swarmed with attention and exhilaration

But one which never reaches the shores, for it did not have

the patience, to feel, and know the warmth that dragonflies can bring

To know the damage we can do when we are tigers with wide eyes and a face like a king


Find out more about our 80/20 arts project for young people.

Learn more about our Youth Service especially for young people affected by bipolar.