April 24, 2010 at 6:53 pm (Uncategorized) ()

he walks down here in the world

of rustling skirts and bumping shopping bags

a warm hand leads the way between towering racks

he follows curious and compliant

carefree and trusting to her

then momentarily distracted by sparkly trinkets

he stops to see his face in the huge mirror

and laugh

turning round he is suddenly alone

confused and forsaken

she was there then she was gone

corridors of clothing stretch away in all directions

his future flashes futile before his eyes

in a split second a cold panic grips

tears well up and a tight throat cracks his voice

the cry comes out a whimper

unfamiliar grown-ups scurry past unconcerned

another split second

she steps out from behind the ties

a smile, and warmth returns.

(Linking back to The Poetry Bus hosted by Argent at Delusions of Adequacy, this trip is leaving on Monday 26th April)


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dawn chorus

April 18, 2010 at 7:54 pm (Uncategorized)

the flutter of twittering breaks the day

the notebooks and iPhones calling

a cacophony of voices

dropping posts

into virtual boxes

following each other

in endless circles

of greetings and congratulations

enquiries and consolations

competing for attention

and paying no reciprocation

like the blackbird’s trill

demanding and self-important

you can’t begin without me.

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April 10, 2010 at 4:50 pm (Uncategorized) ()

Friends Reunited reunited us

for just a moment,

after 30 years.

We were once best of friends

but I remember very little now.

We did not chat girly stuff

I never saw her in a dress.

I recall doing her latin homework

while her mum vacuumed the bed

(she was allergic).

Her sister had the most beautiful hair,

long, white blond and gently wavy.

I coveted it.

Hers was a harsh boyish cut

and her body always seemed awkward,


her stance almost hunched

fighting against the inevitable blossoming.

She would poke me viciously

with her long fingers

for no apparent reason,

or wrestle me to the ground

then sit on me and  hold me down.

All she told me was that

she worked in television,

never married

and had moved to the country

so she could keep a dog.

And she was taking up gardening.

I never wrote back.

All I really wanted to know was

did she ever admit to being gay?

(I counted down from the top of my e-mail inbox and found the name of a former school friend and a very old message, and the title came from my most recent message at the bottom of the inbox.)

(Linking back to the home of this week’s Poetry Bus)

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April 6, 2010 at 4:48 pm (Uncategorized)

Pitiful kitten squeakings when she yawns

make me laugh gently over my morning cup of tea

as she sits curled still bed-warm

against the kitchen radiator.

The new spikey cut frames her delicate features

making her seem pixie-like

the red dye vibrant against

a face pale and often washed out.

I try not to look

but am horribly drawn

to the scar corrugated skin down her forearm

the entire length would ripple under my fingers

if I dared to reach out and touch.

Other marks are less obvious,

her shoulder, thigh and the faint white lines

that remain on her belly

like some minor childhood operation.

With strappy t-shirts and low slung jeans

she displays them now,


after the years of hiding.


last night she curled upon my lap,

snuggled in like a toddler,

until my legs went numb and arms

could not support her.

My tacit guilt assuaged by

her seeking me out

but I too am helpless

against what plagues her.

In my fantasy

a soft strike of my hand would wipe it all away,

make new the skin that pain has ravaged

repair the damage

this outward sign of deeper wounds.

We only want them to be happy,

we parents claim,

if that is so

then those traces

are the tokens of my failure.

Worse than the day I stood

outside a newsagent

waiting for my son to buy cigarettes.

(Poetry as therapy. The experience of her desperate need for comfort overwhelmed me and to put this in to words seemed suddenly necessary. It is her story but also mine, but I watch as if through a thick pane of glass.)

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Poetry Bus again

April 2, 2010 at 8:01 am (Uncategorized) ()

(I chose this image from the ones that Swiss offered as inspiration for this week’s Poetry Bus. My initial reaction to it was that it resembled a woman’s womb and ovaries, but with a somewhat ghostly quality, or like a wisp of smoke, so that was my starting point.)


down the hall I hear distant echos

the footfalls of children who never were

whispers of existence so faint

the ticking of my watch would drown them out.

My smile reaches out to stroke

the downy skin of babies unborn

the scent of them drifts past just out of reach

a sigh scatters their essence into the ether.

I cannot see their faces

obscured as they are by another history

though my belly longs for each of them.

I inhale and absorb the thought

the idea of what they might have been.

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April 2, 2010 at 7:31 am (Uncategorized)

do other people do this I wonder,

read poetry seeking an answer

to that eternal internal nagging thought

that sense of unease

that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach.

consuming voraciously

to feed a hunger never satiated

I haunt the Poetry Society wesite

seeking new fodder.

I find myself flitting

reading the first line

then passing on

or scanning down

striving to find that word

that encapsulates everything.

I buy books that tumble in piles by the bed

seduced by a random poem

that I flicked past while loitering in the shop.

I shuffle back and forth between pages

afraid I have overlooked the one.

assessing the impact of the title

before committing myself to the time consuming effort

of reading anything more than half a page.

I have this feeling it will be


summing up the answer

in a few well chosen words

any need to waffle on beyond would indicate

excessive justification of the argument

and hence lack of conviction.

sometimes I find one that brings a wry smile to my lips

or a knowing nod of the head

or a sigh

or even a tear.

but I am not seeking emotional release

or entertainment

but an assuaging of my uncertainty

to know



that I am not mistaken.

so if you have found the poem

please let me know.

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