The day I became an orphan

Today is the anniversary of my mother’s birth. Last night was the anniversary of her death. Four days before was the anniversary of my father’s death. in three days we will remember them all and wish these were the old days when believing would bring them close again, just for a few hours.

The day I became an orphan

On the bed, a woman sleeping,
a face familiar in all its lines,
unlined not old, smooth-skinned,
unfamiliar in its distance.

Eyes so blue, closed.

In the bed, a warmth, a body, a casing,
and beating still, beat, beat, beating,
a heart.

On the sheet, a hand, still,
the shape of the nails familiar,
the ring I look at for the first time since childhood,
amethyst winks in the hospital brightness.

In the hand, a trace,
a link to the heart, beat, beat, beating still,
and when I take the hand in mine,
at the end of the long last tearful journey,
the steady breathing catches,
heart clenches,

and the fingers press mine with all the gentleness,
the ancient abiding with me tenderness,
of a blackbird, enfolding her chicks
beneath her spread wing.


Roses in the blood

A poem for OctPoWriMo on the theme of mothers.


A mother is in the blood,

a flowering urge to root and shoot,

bud-burgeoning into blooms.

A mother blooms and falls,

her memory fading only slightly,

fuzzy at the edges, hard lines softened,

and the seeds set remind

in their bright laughter

and the way they hold a pencil

or turn a phrase,

that though the petals fell,

the rose remains.




Fiery mother

This is obviously in honour of Brigid and all mothers.


The lake is a picture, Screen Shot 2019-02-01 at 21.45.51

one of my mother’s,

like gardens full of roses.

She would sit in the shadows

of diamond light,

singing her life to the sky.

Come rain, shine, or stormy days,

when the moon runs purple

and the sea is drunk with sun,

she still plays the music of mist and moon.


I ask the fiery woman,Screen Shot 2019-02-02 at 12.20.49

what is this odour of decay

when all is greening?

Never has morning broken

so slow to warm with colour,

the night sky linger hard as ice.

Listen and remember, she says,

the song of the universe is vaster

than anything men  or gods can make.


The dark star smiles.







To drink morning flowers

My WP is behaving strangely today (again). The daily stats graph shows today’s date in the middle, followed by consecutive days starting with October 27 and ending with November 13. October 27 is my mother’s birthday. I wondered if the Oracle had a message for me. She did.


You always desired harmony,screen shot 2019-01-24 at 14.43.03

to embrace the colours

of life and laughter

to drink morning flowers

rather than champagne,

to listen for the child

crying in the night,

to kiss away the tears

of all the world.

The moon in the night garden

I’ve been thinking about my mother a lot recently. It would have been her birthday a few days ago. The Oracle knows. She presented me with the line: ‘I never need my mother’ in its entirety.


Love runs overScreen Shot 2018-11-03 at 11.57.42.png,

a spring of sweet water.

I never need my mother,

not now that she has become the moon

and fills the sky with beauty.

She watches

and shows me how life sings

in the sleeping night garden.




The Daily Post prompt is: Guest


She never feels like a guest,

always looking for something to do,

hands itching to help carry,

butter bread, serve the pasta.

She’s the kind who sits on the edge of her chair,

near the door;

ready to take the child to the toilet

or to be sick

or to play in the garden;

to feed the cat, pet the dog.

She eyes the kitchen constantly,

wondering about extra plates,

and where they keep the knives and forks.

Just in case.

She folds and unfolds her napkin,

unwilling to set it in her lap,

as if that small gesture pins her to her seat

and the role others have defined for her,

defuses her potential for running around after people and things,

as if by sitting and preparing to eat,

she has become just a guest.

Lost childhood


Take my hand and hold it tight
As you used to do when you were small
And trusted me to keep you safe
On the woodland path where the trees grow tall.
Take my hand and walk with me
To the place you loved where the long grass grows
And you’d thread your daisies ’neath the trees
Where the river glides and the west wind blows
Take my hand and talk to me
The child who prattled endlessly
But now is grown and forgets she knew
The song the moon sings to the sea.