Sightseeing. A periodic tour of CVI news, views and events.

Writing Poetry Helps Me Find Peace

Editor’s Note: April is National Poetry Month and Former client, Debra Bell, shares about her love of poetry and how it has helped her find peace in dealing with her vision loss and her son’s disability.

Picture of DebraWriting Poetry helps me find peace in coping with my son’s illness. For me, writing poetry is an act as natural as breathing is. Poetry is also the best way for me to harness that powerful overflow of feelings that Wordsworth spoke of and recollected, turning them into a universal expression of feeling that we can all relate to.

I have been serious about my poetry for many years. My dedication was recognized in 1993 when I was inducted into the International Society of Poets at a ceremony in Washington, DC, where I performed my best-known poem "Diamond." Since then, I have kept on writing poetry, reciting it and submitting it for inclusion in poetry competitions. My poem “Diamond” is in an anthology collection, called "A Break in the Clouds".

My devotion to my skills as a poet came after I had already explored other artistic avenues. I was first violinist in my school orchestra; performed as a creative dancer and gymnast. I also did some modeling; was recognized in several competitions as one of Atlanta's best creative dancers on skates; and for two years was a dancer on the syndicated TV show "James Brown's Future Shock." I guess I'm really an entertainer at heart. I wrote poetry and short stories as a child, got into performing poetry and creative dance, and kept going.

But everything is secondary to the most important responsibility in my life which is caring for my son, Eddie, 33. He was born with a rare disease called Hurler-Scheie Syndrome which is genetic and affects only 1 out of 100,000 children. It is an enzyme deficiency that causes damage to every organ in the body. I accept that I have a son who has a disability, but I treat him like a normal adult. I want him to live as normally as possible. He is truly my diamond. My son's illness has inspired me to begin thinking of ways I might attract funding for a foundation to promote Hurler-Scheie Syndrome research.

Picture of Debra reading her poemMy son's illness has kept me focused on his needs, not mine, but I can still use poetry to express some of the feelings that this experience has caused in me. My son and I are now legally blind due to Stargardt’s Disease. This has caused me not to drive and be able to do what I use to do for him.

The experience of being a client in CVI’s New View Adult Rehab Program has been an anchor for me. I have found a new inspiration to continue higher education. I plan to enroll in a school this year to study creative writing, so that I can finish a book about my life story and a book of poetry. I can say that life is good even with the challenges I have faced. I still have hope.

Below is my most popular poem “Diamond.” I was honored to recite it at the summer 2014 CVI New View Adult Rehab Program graduation ceremony.


By Debra J. Bell

I am a Diamond, a rare jewel

I’ve been refined by the hands of time

I keep crying out for someone to realize it

Here I am the rare jewel you’ve been waiting for

When I arrived, I arrived with grace and splendor

But no one recognized me

My shining brilliance hidden beneath my beauty

Love brought me here; I stood the test of time

How long will I go unnoticed?

What will I have to do-disappear like the wind?

Maybe you’d feel my absence

A real artist would know his masterpiece

He could identify with his awesome power

The ability to create such a beauty in his mind

Then cause it to appear before his eyes

When I arrive he would protect me, take care of me

Because I’m his to love

But sometimes greed causes one to miss the real thing in life

It’s not just a dream

Yes, I am a Diamond, a rare jewel

Diamonds always survive the test of time

I’m special, a jewel

Yes, a beauty!


Wow - How very beautiful!!!!!!!!!

Comment by Barbara Henry; June 01, 2015 6:39pm

Thank you very much Kathy (my sister).

Comment by Debra; May 28, 2015 2:28am

Debra is my sister and I can attest to the fact; she has really overcome some great obstacles that didn't stop her from caring for her kids. I remember; when she wrote "Diamond" and recited through out the years, this poem was an accomplishment for her and it detailed her struggles. I am very proud of her for having the stamina during her struggles to stand up; to those who thought she was weak and knowing,she would be losing her sight as well. She try very hard to lead a normal life, taking care of her son; who tries not to complain of his pain. Please keep her and Eddie in your prayers as I do each and every day.

Comment by Kathy Moore; May 27, 2015 7:00pm

Thank you very much June Morgan Willis.

Comment by Debra Bell; April 25, 2015 1:34am

What a beautiful person! Her poetry, her amazing life, a story which needs to be told! A wonderful mother! Ms. Bell , you are a treasure!

Comment by June Morgan Willis; April 22, 2015 8:14pm