The works on this page have been created by members of Parkinson's New Zealand.  

To Helen - Upon Her Retirement by Beverley Fraser

Beverley Fraser wrote this poem to farewell Parkinson's Community Educator Helen Riddell.

She's leaving, she's leaving,
Our Helen is leaving,
Oh what are we Parkies to do?
She's our great source of info
On all that we don't know
About Parkinson's, helping us through

She's always so willing
To come to our bidding
And visit us in our own homes
She persuades us so sweetly
To exercise weekly
Without too many loud moans

She makes us talk LOUD
To be heard in a crowd
And also to whistle a tune.
She's loving and kind
And she just doesn't mind
If our whistles may be out of tune.

We will all really miss you
But we're wanting to wish you
All the best with your artistic skill
You deserve your retirement
And a life of refinement
Have a rest, put your feet up and chill

Beverley Fraser 2017



No Looking Back by Beverley Fraser

Once upon a time 
Is a game we sometimes play
Recalling past achievements 
From our earlier days

We really do lament the loss 
Of skills that we once knew
We wish we still were able, 
Whatever can we do?

Today I sat down with a friend, 
I showed her what I’d kept
These precious bits and pieces 
And inside my heart just wept

But she was so excited 
And her face was all aglow
She gathered this and that, 
The pile began to grow

I know that she will use them 
And I just have to learn
There’s no point in looking back 
There’s new skills for me to learn

We must look ahead with joy 
To find new things to do
And rejoice that we have someone 
Who will follow through 

Ive been turning round to see what’s past 
I need to look ahead
And be ready for the challenge 
Of the good things coming yet

Beverley Fraser 2017



Let’s Rock ‘n Roll by Beverley Fraser

If the Fifties came around again
And rock ‘n roll was new
I’d be shaking with the best of them
And rocking all day through

Even on the keyboard
My fingers dance and bound
With complete and mad abandon
They jump and bump around

They type in King James’ English
Every ‘the’ becomes a ‘thee’
And then while all unknowing
I see a row of ‘eeeees’

So when I hear the music
And the walls begin to rock
I’ll shake and roll and rattle
As I dance around the clock

And then its time for supper
And the food I pass around
The muffins join the dancing
And they topple to the ground

We’re the movers and the shakers
And the world has need of us
So we rock ‘n roll together
From morning until dusk 

Beverley Fraser 2017



Who Stole the Dopamine by Peter Theobald

Isn't life a mystery
Once day the body works fine
Then slowly very slowly things begin to change
The book may shake or the pen won't write as it did before
Simple tasks seem very strange
Even my walking is not the same
A man called James got to give it his name
And this is how it came about
When they found out a lack of Dopamine was to blame
There's lots of other things gone wrong
But how much do we blame on Parkinson's
It would really be nice to know
Apathy is another thing that used to get to me
But now I just procrastinate and hope it goes away
The Parky dreams are vivid and clear
In one I was on a motorbike being chased by a grizzly bear
They say a cure is very near
They say it every year
Which leads me to ponder
Who stole the Dopamine

Peter Theobald 2017



Parkinson's Awareness by Sandie Jennins

Pardon me if I seem to glare
It’s what they call the Parkinson's stare
My face muscles don’t work as they should
I’d smile more often if only I could
There are  exercises that I can do
Usually in  the privacy of my loo 

Not all Parky people have  a shake
That’s an assumption most people make
Slowness of movement and a strange walk
Being a bit spastic with a knife and fork
Are some of the things Parky’s  symptoms create
Tripping, falling and fumbling is part of our fate

Dopamine is the substance that we are lacking
It's what normal brains produce to keep us moving
We take little pills of a chemical called Levodopa
That acts like Dopomine to keep us acting proper
They can take up to an hour to work their magic
And wear off again in 3 hours which can be tragic

Parky is like your batteries getting low
Charge us up and watch us go
Trouble is the batteries start to wear completely
As the years go by even the pills act weakly
But an operation where electrodes are placed within  the brain
Is an option to get us back to working again

Parky is a nuisance and can be a pain in the neck
We can get  aches all over in fact,  but what the heck
You don’t die of Parky, you just have to live with it
The best is to never give up what you do and keep fit
There are worse things in life than Parkinsons Disease
Compared to some people, we live with relative ease

It is a progressive disease, how quick we don’t know
We just have to make the best of life while we can still go
If you are unfortunate to discover that someone you know
Gets diagnosed with PD, while it is a terrible blow
Encourage them to continue life as they have been before
Keep them involved, don’t let them hide behind closed doors

Sandie Jennins 2016



A row of bottles by Anonymous

A row of bottles on my shelf
Caused me to analyse myself
One yellow pill I have to pop
Goes to my heart so it won’t stop
A little white one that I take
Goes to my hands so they won’t shake
The blue ones that I use a lot
Tell me I’m happy when I’m not
The purple pill goes to my brain
And tells me that I have no pain
The capsules tell me not to wheeze
Or cough or choke or even sneeze
The red one, smallest of them all
Goes to my blood so I won’t fall
The orange one, very big and bright
Prevent my leg cramps in the night
Such an array of brilliant pills
Helping cure all kind of ills
But what I’d really like to know
Is what tells each one where to go!

Anonymous 2016



A Tale of Long Lost Piglets by Lyn Riley

Three years ago Auckland City Hospital was preparing for clinical trials of pig cell treatment for Parkinson’s. At that time I was one of the volunteers for this ground breaking procedure when they were ready to trial it in humans. Unfortunately for me, a routine blood test lead to further investigation which confirmed I had another medical condition (in addition to Parkinson’s) making me ineligible for the surgery. However I have since followed progress in newspapers and TV with great interest. I wrote the following poem for all involved just before the clinical trials began.

Last night as I lay dreaming, I heard the strangest sound
The Whir and Flap of many wings
Lifting off the ground.
I turned to gaze upon the sight - Winged Piglets everywhere!
They said to me “Come fly with us,
But only if you dare!”
We were joined by Kiwis, levitating with the herd
Was I hallucinating?
“Aren’t they a flightless bird?”
One piglet gazed into my eyes, he seemed to know the score
“Spokespiglet at your service ma’am,
I know the plot and morel
We need the kiwis’ GPS to guide us on today.
We’re Auckland Island porcine stock
And we don’t know the way.
We’ve tackled diabetes and now we’re on a quest
Parkinson’s is next in line
And after that, THE REST!
We’re on our PD maiden flight, and you can tag along
We’ve got our take off clearance now
How could we all go wrong?
Our mission’s high priority - we’ll give it all we’ve got
We’re off to tackle Parkinson’s
We’ll give it our best shot.”
The piglets' wings were flapping hard and to my great surprise
The kiwis joined the lift off
All heading to the skies.
I tried so hard to join them too, but earthbound I remained
I tried to run beneath them
But lost the ground I’d gained.
They faded into distant skies, intent upon their fate.
Providing cell technology
For symptoms to abate.
They fly with one man’s vision, Prof. Elliott is he
Now aided and abetted
By The Team at M.D.C!
So I am on the sideline now, new project underway
Training “Pig Cell Cheerleaders”
It’s filling up my day.
When the pigs succeed for us, we’ll have a big parade
PWP’s from everywhere
Will truly have it made.
If you don’t believe me, I assure you that it’s true
Now would I tell “PORKIES” to you??!!!

Dedicated to:
The Movement Disorders Clinic Team, Auckland City Hospital 
Professor Bob Elliott (Living Cell Technologies NZ  Ltd)
Clinical trial participants
The Auckland Island pigs 
You’re all Stars!

Lyn Riley 2016



I remember you Ali by Gordon McTavish

I remember you Ali
I remember when you beat Liston, I was young then
and I knew you only as Cassius Clay
I did not know that we would fight
the same opponent one day
I knew nothing of your struggles
with prejudice, bigotry and racism
but I know all too well the struggles
you faced with Parkinsonism
then I entered the ring with you
not as an opponent, but as a fellow fighter
in a fight to the death with Parkinson's
That contender with no fatal flaw not even a glass jaw
We can only spar with this insidious degenerate
block his punches, ducking, weaving and shuffle with fast feet
To go the full 12 rounds with that beast is the best we could hope
And a split point's decision against you is the best you can get
But you were the greatest,
you fouught the good fight
Until the last bell
you  never threw in the towel
And gave us all reason to fight
your daughter Rashida came to deliver a message 
for those in our corner;
family, caregivers and most of all our children
to better understand this brutish opponent
we all face in the bout of our life
I don't know the words which you might use
But here in New Zealand we say
Kia Kaha--be strong
You have given us strength
you were the greatest you still are the greatest
You were the champion of the world
you are still champion of my world.

Gordon McTavish 2016



Living with Levodopa by Fran Allcock

It's Parkinson's Awareness Week
and I wanted you to know
what it's like to be the host
of my personal Parknison's Show...

It's like taking a delinquent with me
everywhere I go
and even if I plan things well,
he'll still sabotage the show.

Some of the tricks he likes to play
are clear for you to see
but like the tip of an iceberg
there's far more under the sea...

My gait becomes uneven
and I start to drag my feet
He'll make me spill my coffee
or drop my food when I try to eat

Sometimes I could expire
from my increased body heat
for my thermostat's been broken
to make my misery complete!

I might begin to slur my words
or forget them when I talk
And if I go to turn around
I'll inevitably balk

Sometimes he gets into my eyes
and steals away their twinkle
Sometimes he sneaks into my face
and steals my smile's crinkle!

He'll make my writng tiny
till it's a squiggle on a page
and he's no respect for anyone
anybody, any age

He likes to take my muscles
and screw them in a ball
He likes to push me over
just to see if I will fall

He shakes me like a washing machine
with an out-of-balance load
and there are times when he's in control
and I hit the shut-down mode.

So I take him everywhere I go
...and try not to take him home!
And I've told him many times
'just bugger off and leave me alone'!!

I've become a dopamine junkie
to try and keep him at bay
and I take my levodopa
several times each day

But there's a dyskinetic secret
to my levodopa high
and I can't control these movements
no matter how hard I try

So I'm swinging and I'm swaying
and dancing out of control
and flinging myself around the room
like a dyskinetic rag doll

Oh, when I think of how I used to be
and how my life has changed...
if you saw me without knowing this
you'd probably think I was deranged!

So know you know a little more
about this Parkinson's joker
and it's like for those of us
who are living with levodopa!!!

Fran Allcock 2015



Nicola Levens submitted this work:

The pic shows a person with early onset Parkinson's and them thinking about what lays ahead for them with having early onset Parkinson's. 



Nicola Levens submitted this work called Aspirations

Having early onset Parkinson's, I am still the same person with aspirations and dreams.  My goal now is to encourage more people to learn about early onset Parkinson's.

The following artworks are by Pippa Carvell
Having Parkinson's you get told you can't do this and you can't do that.  I am a quiet person, and through my art I can shout, my art work is my scream.
 All the lines in my line drawings start as straight lines. They get warped by the tremor in my hand.  Parkinson's creates the art, but it can ruin it too.

I've used the term FOG here to describe how Parkinson's fogs your brain.
Some of my earliest art was pictures of fish. I imagined the different fish you would see if you put a big net into the sea and pulled it up.
Lab rat
When you have Parkinson's you undergo all sorts of investigations and tests, it makes you feel like a lab rat. The key in the picture signifies finding a cure for Parkinson's.  The flower is because I think if  you've got Parkinson's, just live with it and do your best.


This is a poem by Beverley Fraser   (see also below)

The Parkinson's Path

We are travelling on our path through life
No two of us alike
We’ll have our different twists and turns
It’s more than just a hike
We all have different loads to bear
And often have to rest
Weighed down by all our grief and pain
The journey’s harder than we guessed

Sometimes a light surprises
As we turn around a bend
And find there is a change in view
With the warm clasp of a friend
Just as the clouds can hide the sun
We know it’s always there
So too our Lord and Saviour
Who’s borne far more than we could bear

We wish we knew His healing power
In our hour of pain
We wish He’d lift this heavy load
And set us free again
But we know He walks beside us
Willing to share our load
We simply have to take His hand
He’ll lead us down the road

When the sun upon us smiles
With courage we’ll rise high
We’ll reach out with a hand of love
To those who cannot fly
The path goes on and so do we
We take each bend where're it goes
Where there’s a choice we only have
To ask the One who knows

Beverley 2012

This poem was written by a member from South Canterbury

Walking home from church I fell in the gutter
On picking myself up I was heard to mutter
'Why don't you lift your feet instead of shuffling along'
Swing your arms and get with the throng
Then Parkinsons was diagnosed as the dreaded disease
As my daughter declared I could shake the cocktails with ease.

Writing is getting more difficult day by day,
Instead of the neat script I used to display
I now have a tiny scrawl that no one can read,
Even myself has a lot of trouble it seems
While a magnifying glass might be of some use
If it wasn't for my computer my writing would be of no use

I'll not let this beat me 'oh no',
I'll carry on forever even though I am really slow,
I've taken on painting which brings comfort and joy
and I have found a passion for painting old homesteads
that would have been someone else’s old pride and joy

Card making, embroidery and gardening are my escape
I can even see paintings out in the landscape
I have learnt to laugh at myself and have fun
I will not let this beat me as I sit in the sun.

I have a lot of living to do, conquering
dressmaking, gardening and embroidery to name but a few
and with three little grandsons to encourage along the way
Hopefully they’ll find a cure in my day
For now I'll make the most of each day and live it to the full.
It's not going to beat me 'oh no'. I'M NO FOOL.

Gwenda Morris 2012



Let’s Rock ‘n Roll

If the Fifties came around again
And rock ‘n roll was new
I’d be shaking with the best of them
And rocking all day through
Even on the keyboard
My fingers dance and bound
With complete and mad abandon
They jump and bump around
They type in King James’ English
Every ‘the’ becomes a ‘thee’
And then while all unknowing
I see a row of ‘eeeees’
So when I hear the music
And the walls begin to rock
I’ll shake and roll and rattle
As I dance around the clock
And then its time for supper
And the food I pass around
The muffins join the dancing
And they topple to the ground
We’re the movers and the shakers
And the world has need of us
So we rock ‘n roll together
From morning until dusk
Beverley Fraser

Parkinson's Disease
Yes, the damn thing creeps on slowly
A good attitude won't keep you lowly.
There are ways and means you know,
To keep you smiling and on the go.
When turning from left to right in bed,
Count how many moves instead
Of feeling frustrated 'cause it takes a while
Then better it next time, with a smile.
Automatic life style is what we had
Now it's to manual, it's not so bad
Sure it slows one down a bit, then a lot
But the thing to remember - don't lose the plot.
A button hook, a stand for your book,
Slip on shoes, plus more, just look
What can be achieved by looking around
And seeing what else can be found.
With medication, it's really a must
Try taking it regularly but don't bust
If you miss one or are jolly late
It's not the end of the world mate.
You can still go for walks, drive the car
You're a whole lot better off by far
Than a lot of people in the world out there
Who would gladly swop places, that's clear.
So don't sit and mope around
Get out and enjoy life and you'll be bound
To feel a lot better at the end of the day,
For you will always find there's another way
Margaret Palmer, 2001

The following poem was submitted by David Belz, Editor, Tawa Catholic News, on behalf of John Patrick Keenan (15 February 1932 - 20 March 2008) who had Parkinson's in his later years.  The verses that follow were written by Patrick and were included in the order of service for his funeral.
With me, I see P.D. as my
Debilitationg incapacity,
And in the long run, will see,
P.D. make a betta fellah out of me.
Good days, bad days, we all have these
We need to compare, decide, prefer
Select your place,
In mankind's happy space amongst your people's family.
With God's will, our wisdom growing,
Our inner strength in us awakening
The strength to suffer patiently
the sufferings that indeed are blessings.
I used to walk fast, man
Real fast, ask anyone
A real high-stridin honkey
I walk slow now, 'cept when I'm dancing,
Then I go.....slow, slow, quick, quick, wow.....
Watching others with maybe greater woes
The laughing man, with crying eyes, wherein
does his strength lie,
The singing child, with songs to come and go on,
And not a cry.
Lovely lady, with the sad caring smile of Mothers
Let me like these, meet each new day
Blessing each holy morning.
John Keenan
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