Mark Coxe releases poetry book ‘Reflections’ about life with Parkinson’s

Mark, who has lived with Parkinson’s for almost 10 years, has released a poetry book about life with the condition. And he’s donating all proceeds to Parkinson's UK.

Mark wrote his collection of honest, quirky and perceptive poems, Reflections: Poetic Thoughts about Parkinson’s, Pandemic and Life, throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Mark, from Fife, admits he hated poetry at school but had an urge to start writing during last year’s lockdown. And he hasn't stopped since.

He was encouraged to compile a book after sharing his poems with his friends in the Parkinson's community.

Mark hopes his poetry collection can put a smile on people's faces as he gets set to produce 500 copies of his poetry book.

Copies will cost £10 plus postage. 60% of profits are going towards Parkinson’s Active, a National Lottery Community Fund Project helping people with Parkinson's access local exercise programmes. And 40% of the profits are going to the Parkinson’s UK Fife branch, of which Mark is a member.

"Part of my condition is that I can’t sleep. So I get up at 3 in the morning and write a poem."

Mark's poetry was initially inspired by his daughter’s prom dress. He says:

“I woke up one morning last May and looked at my daughter’s prom dress, which was hanging on the back of our bedroom door, and for some bizarre reason a poem developed in my head based on the fact she would never get to wear it.
 
“I felt sorry for it and wrote a poem, "Ode to a Prom Dress", and that’s the first poem that’s in the book.
 
“They’re not just about Parkinson’s, they're also observations on the pandemic and general things that popped into my head that I’ve written down.
 
“I put them on the Fife group WhatsApp and everybody really liked them and the committee said I should write a book and sell it with proceeds going to the charity.
 
“Part of my condition is that I can’t sleep. So I get up at 3 in the morning and write a poem. I am a lousy sleeper because I have written over 100 in 10 months!
 
“We started editing the poems and putting them into some sort of order for a manuscript. I approached the company who does the printing for my employer and they have done all of the formatting free of charge and the printing at cost. They have also posted it on their website and made promotional material.
 
“I retire at the end of June and it’s a bittersweet feeling. I love my job but I’ve realised that I need to start exercising because I sit in front of a computer most of the time.
 
“I know that the evidence is there that exercise does help people with Parkinson’s and I’m going to try to have less stress, do a bit of gardening, walk the dog as much as I can and get on my bike.
 
“I’ve written my leaving speech already and it’s in the form of a poem. I’m going to read that out but Parkinson’s makes me emotional and I can well up at the smallest of things so I might not get through the whole poem!”
 
Annie Macleod, Director of Parkinson's UK Scotland said:

“Mark’s poems have brought smiles and cheer throughout what has been a difficult year for the Parkinson’s community.
 
“People with Parkinson’s can often find their creativity levels increase and that is clear in Mark’s writing. Other people start to paint or make things for the first time. Researchers think that as many as 1 in 10 people with the condition may become more creative. 
 
“There are over 850 people in Fife living with Parkinson’s. We are grateful to Mark for his decision to donate profits from his poetry book to the charity."

Reserve your copy

To reserve your copy of Reflections: Poetic Thoughts about Parkinson’s, Pandemic and Life, contact Mark at [email protected].

Parkinson's Active

60% of the profits from Mark's poetry book are going towards Parkinson's Active.

Parkinson's Active is developing the first Parkinson’s Scotland exercise network. It will provide local exercise opportunities for people in Scotland with the condition, and inspiration and resources for professionals. 

Find out how you can get involved.