Rainbow Puzzle – World Autism Awareness Day

Today is 2nd April. Today is World Autism Awareness Day.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. It is a spectrum condition, which means the condition affects each individual differently, ranging from mild to severe. Children with autistic disorder usually have significant problems with language, social interaction and behaviour. Many children with autistic disorder also have learning difficulties and below-average intelligence.

I have always said that autism is something people will never understand unless they are directly affected by it – live with day in, day out. I still believe this, and I always will. Perhaps people can empathise, but they cannot understand. I have an elder brother with quite severe autism, and I have never lived my life being unaware of the disability. If I’m being honest with myself, I probably have such a resolute and unyielding opinion that no one can understand unless directly affected due to the experiences I’ve had throughout my life. My brother and I attended the same school (which he shouldn’t have even attended; he should have gone to a special school, but the doctors and county council were morons), and my peers were far from understanding. Everybody soon found out that the “spastic” in school was related to me. Can you possibly understand how much it hurt for me to hear my peers call him a spastic, and other such cruel names? And can you possibly understand how much it hurt to watch people tease him, bully him? Occasionally I used to talk to my friends about how frustrated I got with my brother at home, and they used to say, “Yeah, my sister/brother really annoys me too.” I wanted to scream in their face, “Yeah, but your sister/brother isn’t @#*&!£% autistic!!!!” They didn’t get it. They could not understand. So, in the end, I spoke to no one about it, and I’ve kept it to myself ever since I was 11.


This is a poem I wrote specifically about how autism can impact on the unaffected family members, and how those who don’t live with autism do not understand. Perhaps that’s a little bit selfish of me, but then again, perhaps I don’t know how to be any other way. But this is my tribute to my brother and his condition. Though, even if you are not directly affected by autism in your life, I am certain you will still be able to connect with the poem to some degree; ultimately, it is about love, and everyone can identify with love.

Rainbow Puzzle

© Jennifer K. Marsh 2013

When you look outside do you see the sunshine?
Do you see the light rising in your eyes?
Are the clouds fluffy and white?
Do they take you on a ride
through the blue, open sky?
Do they take you up high?
But when you’re up there without a care,
there’s a rainbow passing you by.

Invisible, you can’t see
what that rainbow does to me;
I see grey, I see heartache,
’cause the clouds always rain on me.
How I long to see the sunshine,
but you and I don’t have that time,
so I’ll make do and I will love you
in my own way, ’cause that’s all right.

You’re a puzzle, my dear:
a glass rainbow, and you’ve shattered here.
And you’ve cut me, my dear:
you’ve made me bleed for all of these years.
But it’s not your fault,
it’s just the way the sharp rain falls,
so I’m sorry, my dear.
I’ll complete your puzzle, I’ll give it my all.

When you go outside do you hear the birdsong?
Does it make you want to sing along?
Is the tune merry and bright?
Does it banish all the wrong
and give you wings so you can fly?
Does it take you up high?
But when you’re gliding and smiling,
there’s a rainbow passing you by.

Invisible, you can’t see
how that rainbow tortures me;
I hear pain, I hear sorrow,
’cause the birds always fly from me.
How I long to hear the birdsong,
but you and I can’t sing along.
And how I yearn to fly away,
but I’m chained, I’m here to stay.
So I’ll make do and I will love you
in my own way, ’cause that’s okay.

You’re a puzzle, my dear:
a glass rainbow, and you’ve shattered here.
And your pieces are lost,
and we won’t find them for many years.
But it’s not your fault,
it’s all just part of the puzzle,
so I’m sorry, my dear.
I’ll follow the rainbow, I’ll find the gold.

You’re a puzzle, my dear:
the colours of the rainbow.
You’re a puzzle, my dear.
Where are the pieces? We don’t know.



10 responses to “Rainbow Puzzle – World Autism Awareness Day

  1. Reblogged this on Jennifer K. Marsh and commented:

    So, I’m reblogging my own post on my own blog, because today is a certain day and this post reflects that. It’s important to me, I suppose, and thus, I want to share it with as many people as I can.

    I would have shared this way earlier in the day, but I was at work, and then I had to stay late to watch this presentation thing with all the other staff members… It was like a school assembly, us all sitting there in silence on our best behaviour.

    But anyway, today is World Autism Awareness Day.

  2. Beautiful poem, Jennifer – brought a tear to my eye – and a very powerful preamble. I cannot imagine how awful it must have been to witness that happening to your brother. Of course, my condition is not autism, but I have experienced ostracism and varying degrees of abuse, from idiots. It is incredibly sad to think that people feel they can freely hurl abuse at others for such things, as if the victim isn’t even human, when, in fact, they are the very definition of the word… it just makes me so angry.

    I hope your brother is well.

    • Thanks, Steven. Yeeaah, it wasn’t fun :/ And I was always scared to even attempt to do anything to help, ’cause it was always older boys, and if I said something they just hurled abuse at me as well. But you know, such is life. What can you do? Just gotta try to rise above the morons, really.

  3. What a beautiful, written-from-the-heart poem Jennifer and thank you so much for the reminder of Autism Day. I missed the boat on this one didn’t I? God bless you and your brother.

  4. Oh, Lord! This is lump in the throat stuff. How helpless it makes one feel. I am maybe one of the lucky ones who’ve never been ‘afflicted’ by this condition in my family life. But you know what love is all about. Thank you for reaching out.

    • I would say I’m glad it made an impact on you, but I’m not sure that’s the right way to phrase it! Thank you, though, for taking the time to read it and then to leave a lovely comment.

      Love is the hardest, yet most beautiful thing, the world has to offer.

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

"What does your heart tell you?" - ToO, chpt. 32

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