A memorial to Emma Lindley

From Graham Partridge, A poem

I knew Emma best at the beginning and towards the end of her life. As for all of us, my memory of knowing her is unique.

For me it was a strange mix of sometimes feeling like some kind of non-theological god-parent; other times a strange and challenging straddling of her world and Richard’s world.

More than anything she made a friend of the part of me that knew mental illness – or maybe it’s more an impossibly special “hyper awareness” of the soul…

When I was ill / becoming ill/ emerging from illness, forty years or more ago, I used to write poetry. This website has made me write something again – something to share about how I knew Emma and what her finishing her life means to me.

Love always.


That’s my first memory of you –
A wee tot in a corridor cot;
Your tiny gasps life critical:
Asthma stifled, even then
as silently we urged on your defiant little tummy
Pumping for breath like a bellows

You knew:
The world’s not quite our stage
Your true unbounded soul’s becoming
Penny-pinched and bruised
By cash nexus realities
Relentlessly forging their cruel bargain
With the true poetry and drama of your own dear life

Emma amazing –
Your thoughts shimmered
on the wind
Like butterfly wings of shining silk
While you
Brought down to earth again
Said “I am the ugly insect”

Emma amazing =
Your mind rippled with taut ambiguity
Complex with beauty
You flew the brave banners of your thoughts
Into the stiff winds of public skies
While you felt sometimes like
A rotten flagpole

Once you told me
Your body felt so alien for you sometimes
Like a vehicle you didn’t want to be in
and couldn’t drive

and this time
I think you felt the road ahead
was narrowing,
Too fast,

and you decided, you decided
to jump out now

That you
like all your friends behind
must cope now
your life to be complete

so everyone would suffer less
….and even you

Thought-soaring, lovely, tattered pure and lovely
Brilliant, battered, radiant fragile smiling
Darling Emma

When you took your special self to that final edge
I hope you flew
I hope you flew


  1. Francis O'Neill

    That really is beautifully put and so tenderly expressed, Graham. I am sure it encapsulates the thoughts and feelings of many who were present at the memorial gathering and began to appreciate and understand the very deep impression she made on so many lives. Thanks

  2. Mike Levi

    Truly, a beautiful message from the Edge, from one who long ago stood on it. It is only sad that it should have taken this circumstance to generate it. Perhaps we will all Meet on the Ledge some day.

  3. Sherry Jenkins

    I knew Graham when he was at that edge and writing poetry. I am happy to see his gift of poetry used for one who was dear to him personally and through shared experience.

  4. chloe

    I m inspired to read this today on what is Emma s birthday. 37?
    I still want to send a poem in which is bubbling nearer to the surface to try to put to words my love and the specialness of Emma. Happy dancing dear spirit.
    Thank you for putting words to paper Graham and sharing that. I’ll read it again soon.


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