About Me

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Mama, gardener, teacher, photographer, faffer with paint and colour

Saturday 29 August 2015


That summer
we pushed each other off pavements. 
a lot.
denim jackets -our shield against all that wasn’t us
yelling our boredom in the park

swearing loudly in the bus station
(me blushing at the furious mum skirted by her children)

walking the streets
sitting on walls
larking about

i wanted him
he wanted her

we punched each other’s arms
laughing in pain

he called me a peach

i beamed 
soft skin 
smelling warm
summer ripe

i realised he meant
i bruised easily.

Friday 28 August 2015

Too Much Too Young

This was written for a friend about her mum, she has allowed me to post it here in the hope that it may help others understand.

Too Much Too Young

She beams, says hello and asks how I am, remarks what a lovely place and then says

I think I have been here before
yes I am sure I have.
I try to remember if she had visited before when my daughter was little maybe,
I don’t think so

She says wistfully
I think it was last week.

The first flicker in me of knowing
this is it
this is where it goes wrong

She looks tired,
really tired
Like each moment is lived a thousand times
Trapped in her own thoughts
Not knowing where the door is to get out
or even what door she is looking for, or how she got there anyhow.

Its ok that first moment, not as awkward as I had imagined

with a lurch

we talk about a family that she knows who may have brought her there last week do I know them?
I say I don’t but that lots of these big granite houses look the same around here.

She falls on her sandwich like she hasn’t eaten in a good while.
There is a deliberateness when she eats.Both hands on the sandwich.
Casual, carefree are not words that she will own now.

A smaller bird than she used to be,
she used to be wiry and brown and light
going to far away places, adventures
a strong migrating bird
searching for sun
Now she is littler
the winter bird that stayed at home
I want to protect her

Her daughter passes out the wrapped sandwiches to the hungry kids and the quiet mum.

We laugh and talk about sandwiches being so much better they are when someone else makes them for you. If only she was able to make her own picnic
choose which bread, which filling, shop for herself,
prepare and plan. Pack.Gather her belongings.Walk out the door car keys in hand. Meet you there.

Her freedom has gone

now and then a spark of chat about her flat
or laughing about still being a mum as well as a grannie
and I am fooled
until she asks
don’t you remember me ?
The hole in the ground yawns wide.

She is too cruelly young for this.
Cycles of words that wrap around and around. Mother and daughter
ask and answer, ask and answer
Patience, a kind that has been used for a long time.

She asks me how long I have lived there and then a few lines later asked how long I had lived there and suddenly
Did I just ask you that already? A hesitancy, an awareness.
The veil is nearly pulled away
A glimpse and then gone
The filter stubbornly remains.

I show her the place on the river where I saw an otter,
thinking in her travels, her walking, that she would like that.
The wistful look flickers on her face and she quickly says
Oh yes I saw an otter too, I’m not sure where it was now...

Later I hug her goodbye
giving all my love in that hug
I am a little girl grown now but she has no memory of me
I hug her just as a person in that moment
no past
just love
futilely whispering,
take care.

Friday 21 August 2015

A dare poem.

The Heron

Down the boot strewn stairs 
behind the usual melee of dogs eager to exit 
falling over the stuff we would have in our porch 
if we had a porch.
We spew out into the late Sunday afternoon.
A single welly bumps all the way down to rest on the last stair.

The air is cool and fresh
ahead the dogs run 
scampering wildly, guessing which way we will go.

I have nothing left in me.
Answered, nurtured, argued, 
reassured, explained.
I am done.

A walking piece of taxidermy.
I have a mother’s skin. 
Insides stuffed with love and should and need to, 
guilt, more love,
held in with coping, 
bound with responsibilty.
Colours faded like butterfly dust,
music on mute.
My stitches are pulling.

I need to remember what used to be inside.

Breathe out.
Breathe in.
Breathe out...

I walk along the leat
rich guinness brown
swirling fast
rushing to join the river again,
leaves circling, surfacing,

The left over rain 
taps the leaves. 
Bouncing droplets.
Washed clean, the green beechwood glistens in the new sun.

Suddenly a heron rises from the river.
Pulling itself upward with a slow hard won grace
It seems huge, this creature.
It has nothing to do with me.
It is awesome and free.
It is wild.

Unbidden into my head 
hysterical laughing relief, all I can think is
Thank fuck, I don’t have to feed the heron.