I wrote this poem for my gorgeous son Michael and to remember what it was like when he was young. Things have changed a great deal in the past 5 years and continue to change on our undulating journey through the world of autism. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

A young Michael
A young Michael


Message to Michael

A message to you, Michael, our son.

We love you now and have always done.

You took your first air on the 28th day of September,

two weeks early, a great day to remember.


You had a shock of black hair and a newborn cry,

that clenched my heart and raised me to see why

you were upset? Was it hunger or some hurt?

Was it the need for a cuddle or a burp?


There was no easy settling like most babies do,

in the early hours of the morning. What a hullabaloo!

Thank God there were two of us to take turns in the night.

A feed and long cuddles until all was right.


A strange pattern emerged as you grew past two.

No waving at others when they waved at you.

Switching lights on and off was one of your things,

and looking sideways, pulling at our heartstrings.


Lining up of objects, such as chairs and tin cans.

Creating order from chaos but ignoring demands.

We’d call your name but you’d not seem to hear.

Too immersed in the depths to even see our tears.


When we tried to talk you’d respond with the same,

just like a parrot, Echolalia its name.

Daddy’d come home asking ‘How was your day?’

You’d reply right back ‘How was your day?’


Being our first child we didn’t know what to think.

Were all children little scientists? My heart began to sink.

Where was the communication? You didn’t seem to comprehend

this complex world around you or how to play with friends.


At playgroup you stood away from the crowd,

twisting your hands, keeping your head bowed.

You’d sit in silence and focus on one toy

blocking out all around you. One overwhelmed boy!


One day you refused to enter. It was all too much you see.

You screamed in the car and held on tight to me.

So playgroup ended – I couldn’t bear it anymore.

I wouldn’t make you go – my boy who I adore.


At Kingscliff you played in the ocean so cold.

We took you from the water but you would not be consoled.

Waves and foam were your fixation. Chilly sea no vexation.

Then I knew what was wrong – no need for further information.


I saw a boy who was swimming in the dark sea of autism.

I saw a boy whose white light hadn’t passed through the prism,

to disperse into the rainbow of colours expected.

I saw an out-of-sync boy with his striking wings extended.


I saw you near to the surface and ready to emerge

from the murky but mesmerizing depths, then submerge.

This was the beginning of a tumultuous journey

that would see my fledgling soar most beautifully.


To be continued …

Written by Mummy (aka Gabrielle Bryden)

22 thoughts on “Message to Michael

  1. wow that was just the most beautiful thing i have ever read…it brought tears to my eyes , so sweet and very meanful can’t wait for the poem to continue. michael is a beautiful little man :0)

    1. Thanks Katarina – it brings tears to my eyes as well – just remembering things that I’ve forgotten. He is beautiful indeed.

    1. Cheers Maxine – what is sadness but a moment in our lives that is then gone (only to be recreated though poetry) and then replaced by more sadness or much happiness (but usually a mixture of both). Hopefully the sadness bit is outweighed by the peaceful or happiness bit. It’s all about ratio’s isn’t it!

  2. he is so beautiful, what a beautiful boy! i’d be so proud of him if he were mine.
    i’d be just enthralled by his precious being. such an adorable face! with or without autism, i’d be completely in love with those eyes and that hair and those little fingers, he is so handsome.

    1. I’ll tell him you said so tipota. He is pretty chuffed with himself at the moment, now he’s going to be ‘famous’ with the poem and all. Yes, he’s beautiful alright. Very European looking with dark eyes and skin.

  3. Of course the worst was the not knowing. Once it had a name and a prognosis, the worry is halved.
    I just finished reading “Look me in the Eye”. (the story of an Aspergian, brother of the author of ‘Running with Scissors”)
    It is a wonderful autobiography and an eye opener for me and also a shock. I recognised myself!. The fit was not exact, but in the spectrum of Autism, who does exactly fit? Loved the poem and yes, he is a dear human being and will continue to bring you joy as he offers you a slightly different but equally valid view of the world.

    1. It was a relief in a way to get the diagnosis – had long had suspicions (my Mum was onto it first). I will look up that book. Thanks Stafford (wonder what obsessions you have 😉 besides limericks of course).

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