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Jumping into Writing with Julie Stevens, the MS Word Juggling Poet

My MS started when I was nineteen. I was at Homerton College, Cambridge training to be a teacher. Being told you couldn’t go to your first end of year ball was hard! Five years later, I was diagnosed with MS. After 14 years, now in the Secondary Progressive stage, I took ill-health retirement. MS was leaving me with extremely weak legs and awful fatigue. My balance was causing problems too. A hard decision to make, but with a young son, enabled me to spend time with him. I concentrated on that.


Thirty years after onset, I have two children, walk with sticks, and use a wheelchair, or mobility scooter when going further. I wasn’t sure about mobility aids, but am so glad I have them. They make a huge difference. I don’t have to worry about my legs giving up on me on a shopping trip or day out.


I started writing poems nearly two years ago and now have over two hundred! MS has given me so many ideas! My poem Juggling Words comes from the brain fog and fatigue I get sometimes. Going into my own world and putting thoughts down is very relaxing. I have now even started sharing some of them on a website and social media. Reading comments about how people relate to them and enjoy them is great. One lady told me how my poem explained a symptom so well, she was going to show everyone. ‘You have the words I cannot find to describe how I’m feeling,’ she said. It’s amazing that I’m able to help someone with a poem.


A lot of my poems are based on my experience of having MS and they really have got people talking about it: ‘I didn’t know it affected you like that’ I’m often told. Having been published now in several poetry magazines, I hope it’s not too long before I can publish a book of my poems and raise money for MS charities. MS has led me into the world of writing, open mic events and much more! Jumping Jules is the name I publish under and I definitely am jumping for joy with all the happiness this has brought. You can read more of my poems on my website www.jumpingjulespoetry.com with links to all my social media platforms.


Julie Stevens

Secondary Progressive MS




Juggling Words

My legs are always struggling to flow

and my brain doesn’t tell me

what I need to know.

I’m a word juggling poet wading upstream,

in a river of words trying to catch what I mean.


He asked for an apple or was it a pear?

I really couldn’t remember

after I’d walked over there.

We needed some stamps from down the road,

but I bought him some milk,

that wasn’t what I was told!

I’m a word juggling poet wading upstream,

in a river of words trying to catch what I mean.


When speaking with them

I couldn’t follow the debate,

forgot what we were saying

wanted to hide or escape.

I tried to join in, but got it all wrong,

so I sat there quiet pretending to be strong.

I’m a word juggling poet wading upstream,

in a river of words trying to catch what I mean.


This brain fog can really get me down

makes me anxious and worried

the chief zombie in town,

get rid of this tiredness

I’m trying not to drown,

but all this muddling and tripping

makes me the best performing clown.

I’m a word juggling poet wading upstream,

in a river of words trying to catch what I mean.


If I say a wrong word

or forget what I was told,

please don’t leave me out here

alone in the cold,

my cognitive powers are not all they seem,

I could be Prime Minister or even the Queen.

So be kind to me when I get it wrong,

I’ll always make you laugh singing my song,

I’m a word juggling poet wading upstream,

in a river of words trying to catch what I mean.


Copyright ©&℗ 2020 Julie Stevens (Jumping Jules Poetry)

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Edited by Nigel Bartram and illustrated by Olga Hendel