The Bag Man- for those who are weighed down right now.

This is mental health awareness week 2020. Our thoughts are with those among us who have or who have had mental health issues as well as their families who often times suffer along side. Mental health is just as important as physical health and just as we are urged to look out for signs of physical illness, so must we look out for signs of mental illness. Not only that, but this week in particular, let’s renew our calls to de-stigmatise mental ill-health. Let’s remember that it’s ok not to be ok. And let’s remember that it is ok to ask for help and it is ok to offer help. 

I wrote this poem some years ago and I offer it today for anyone who know what it feel like to be a ‘bag man’ or a ‘bag woman’. May you come to know your true value just as you are and may you come to know a sense of purpose, calm and peace. Solidarity and love today and all days. We’re in this together. 


The Bag Man

I was born some time ago

With tiny bags grafted onto each hair follicle

Tiny, invisible collecting bags

They floated emptily

From my newborn hair

Happy, little kites helping me to float

Helplessly, easily

Into life


But collecting bags collect

Things, people, memories, dreams

Wishes, regrets, real or not

All collected in the bags


It is a curious fact

That the nature of the collecting bag

Is such

That the difficult things weigh a little more

Than the happy things

Go figure, but it seems to be


And so….

Nowadays the bags can get heavy

And on some days

Rather than lift me, floating

They make each step

A drag

Legs a little heavier

Mind a little slower

Day a little darker


The bags, you see

Real or not, get full up

And I slow down


But oh, the joy!

On a day when the scissors

Cut loose a bag or two

It does happen

Through forgiveness, reconciliation, closure

Bag gone

Through sifting the real from the imaginary

Bag gone

Through contact, connection and cuddles

Bag gone


And the freedom

No words

Just lightness

Just stillness

Just a beautiful sense

Of being…ok





This poem features in my book, Gym for the Soul. More details here

One Comment

  • Theresa Kearney

    Yes I have mental health illness. Just now a great big hug from my children and grandchildren would cut a very heavy bag. Please God I beg your intervention during this pandemic to help us find a way to give and receive physical hugs from those we love so much.
    Much as virtual hugs make us smile, nothing can replace the real thing.

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