Boakesey Closs has just been unveiled as the ninth Manx bard. Each month, Boakesey will be sharing one of her poems with us, and letting us know some of the thoughts and ideas that inspired it.

To say I was shocked to have been appointed as the ninth Manx Bard would be the understatement of the year as, while I enjoyed submitting my work and being able to perform it in front of the judging panel, I never really thought I’d win.

It was only when my friend nudged me and pushed me up towards the stage that it started to sink in and for once, I was lost for words.

They also say that ‘pride comes before a fall’, so I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when, on my first day out following my inauguration, I had a nasty fall, landing heavily on my knee and ending up in Noble’s ED for the afternoon.

Thankfully, local people and visitors appeared as if by magic and looked after me until an ambulance arrived.

Thanks to them and all the Manx Care staff, I’ve escaped with just some nasty bruising, but I’d like to put on record my thanks to everyone concerned.

We never know what’s going to happen so it’s reassuring to know that, on our island, we live in a caring and compassionate community, ever willing to help others.

This brings me to my theme for this month – resilience.

One of my aims during my tenure is to promote poetry and other forms of writing as aids towards emotional well-being.

More on this to come, but September brings the onset of autumn, perhaps the season most associated with change.

Days become noticeably shorter; leaves display a magnificent range of colours before falling off; storms become more frequent and everyone and everything starts to prepare for the onset of winter.

We know it’s going to happen, so we act accordingly.

However, change does not just happen at certain times of the year.

It’s a constant thing, but most changes are relatively insignificant to us in our daily lives.

From time to time there will be, for every one of us, really big changes that we don’t expect or want.

This is where resilience comes in. I think of it as our ability to react or adapt to change and is one of the most important skills we can try to develop.

These days, resilience is often taught in schools, but its acquisition is a gradual process and it can’t be learned overnight.

However, here are a few tips to help towards building your own resilience so that you can be better prepared to cope with whatever happens in the future.

First and foremost, physical self-care is as important as emotional.

I have physical challenges myself, so I know it’s not one-size-fits-all; what is OK for me is not OK for many others.

Other factors to develop include self-confidence; taking control while acknowledging that some things are beyond our control and (most important) encouraging and developing support networks of friends, family and others – in person or online.

Talking of online, there are lots of really good websites offering advice on physical and emotional well-being.

Use them, but please be wary as some, as I’m sure you know, peddle false and potentially dangerous information.

Enjoy the autumn and take care of yourselves and each other.

September Changes

“For everything there is a season”

For some, new schools, new jobs, new friends

Each new beginning because of an end

In the North, an end to Summer

Nature readies for Winter’s advance

Glorious golds and russet-red orange

trees displaying resilience.

Demonstrating how

they store their nutrients for survival

Anticipating colder times

despite a lack of sentience.

“Every action a reaction”

Change is ongoing, unending

Year round, lifelong, unpredictable

No need to be afraid as

our reactions keep us strong

Will this year bring early storms

or a wonderful Indian Summer?

Trees prepare and so must we

We cannot tell what is to come

So, expect the unexpected and

Build up our resilience to

Survive and even thrive.