Showing posts from 2015
Play Time:
A lot has happened since that day How can we tell you everything that has come to pass? No need. The time will come for the unfolding, for the unbinding, For the loosing. A piece I can tell you here and now. It’s just for you so don’t tell. We have to go over here by these bushes and trees. This is my house. These branches and spiky thorns are the roof. These trunks growing gnarly and twisted, these are the walls. Here is the hatch, see how I can stand here at the hatch just like mummy. Would you like a coffee? (Just pretend, I don’t like it either). Let me grind the beans. Let’s pretend theses Hawthorne berries are coffee beans I’m going to grind them with… Let me see…. Oh yes with this stone for a coffee grinder. The ground is hard packed soil. Pressed down by tiny feet playing and running. While others are spitting Standing facing the wall for some misdemeanour Holding hands with the nice dinner lady The one with painted fingernails and beautiful rain mac who had her …

Now trampolines, roasted strawberries, orange flavoured gum Tyre swing and wood-chip puddles of blue-black Water collected. Like the water lying underground in The tunnels of the closed pit. “Where this car park now stands was the transport train underground…” Tell-tale humps of newly turfed slag Sit around the edges of the memorial sculpture In black Of two miners, shirtless at the coal face Pick axe in hand Just like Dad In Derbyshire on his first day as a Bevin Boy. One and a half feet high shaft – in on his belly Pick axe over one shoulder Till he hit the face Only to find his pick was Wrong way round He had to back out To the jeering of the ‘real’ miners Turn the pick and Shame facedly crawl back The sordid beauty of the place The scene of hard labour Men going out of their minds underground Pit fall, explosions, cave-ins Injury, poisoning, black lung Death. Can the past interleave the present? Sitting on the tyre swing in a spot Once where a man two miles underground In…
Christmas Day Poem
How can it be Christmas? This year Christmas is set on its ears. The lead up, the preparations, the time of penance and charity. I have been most unwholesome, unhappy, grumpy, sullen, angry, and at odds with all things Christmas. Grinchy Christmas tree, begrudging decorations, baking that has gone in the bin. I want to be quiet, I want to be silent, I want to be in myself with God. I don’t want to party or be festive I don’t want to party or be festive I don’t want a load of nonsense chatter and small talk. I want peace I want to lay down at the bottom of a riverbed looking up through the green clear water Up through the aqua ripples up to the sky And watch as clouds slowly move across And dawn parts to reveal full day and afternoon atomises into cool even And the dew falls and the sun falls behind a green hill Clustered with trees and the moon rises from the opposite side of the hill And still I lie peaceful Soundless, quiet and at rest under the water looking …

When I think of all the time How many lives of the butterfly Have I lived through? Some only for a month some a year.
It means I must be billions of years old I’m a dinosaur A cave woman A medieval princess A Venetian boatman A Polish farmer A patriot of Paris A Hills-man of Goroka A sailor from Newfoundland A farmer’s wife in Norway A travelling medicine man in Wyoming.
The please and thank yous of this planet Spoken out in intonations and Guttural sounds – hand gestures Facial expressions Politeness of place Forgotten to me now.
My travel through time and space has brought me to Pudsey in 2015. I wonder – when I die Will Malchus and Jonas (my guardian angels) take an arm each And lift me out of my body And gracefully glide upwards And without fear or cold I’ll View the planet as we circle it Out of pure joy.
Seeing through depths of waters to the bottom Seeing through every tree Seeing through rock and mountain, village and cloud Panopticon vision will be mine Seeing th…
Our Lady of A and E – for C. H
Beads and chaplets, Our Lady invoked. Novenas at nightfall, fall on our knees. Angelus Bell – noon time sounds, peal in the call to Mass – ring of eight resounds.
And yet our community, our extended family we hurt each other we harm ourselves.
This small boy so hopeful, so kind so beloved of his grandma serving at Mass in his Alb, now serving in his cell at her Majesty’s pleasure.
Our extended family. The thoughts of one are the thoughts of us all. The joy of one is the joy of us all. The sins of one are the sins of us all.
We are responsible for each other, we bear the burden of each other’s lives not one of us lives in isolation.
The struggle of years. Now she – not a mother yet mothers and fathers this boy. How she – not a mother sits in A and E with the bleeding boy.
How she  - not a mother answers the cry for help at 2 am, 3 am, 4 am and comes selflessly barefoot in her shift. Bowed and burned out, bent with a mother’s care and concern A mother’s h…
Orkney Crossing II
Woman on the deck, hair wildly blowing Contemplative stands, the world around slowing.
Woman looks toward the sea horizon Sea is quite still, the air around is silent.
Softly on cotton wool wings, fog bank rises Veiling the shore line, offering disguises.
Think, pray, stand, centre, look inside the dark Be one, spirit rising, soul rested lark
The sun on the sea refracted, dispersed Thoughts, sorrows, memories traversed.
North Sea beneath us, stark, cold, and placid Fog bank envelopes us, scatters thoughts torrid.
As soon as its come, its vaporised The sun reappears, clear skies beheld. And we dock.

Orkney Crossing

Silhouette and illusion, ongoing conclusion.
Gratefully here, myself to endear.
The post and the gate, It’s never too late.
Tightly embraced, love can’t be replaced.
The islands fog bank, genius prank.
The horizons quite gone, behind veils the sun shone.
With my hand reached out, erased landmarks rubbed out.
Memory wiped clean, blank slate from a dream.
Amnesia mists, contemplative gifts.
Peace at last.
One year On (rhyming version)

One year ago today we sat on the stair You in your dressing gown – the stair was our chair.
I came in as usual but I knew something was wrong The lights were all off you said “He’s gone”.
Just as simple as that Just a plain fact
I knew straight away Not merely gone for the day.
Not over at Jim’s in Scarborough Not down the club in Armley.
The long walk from which we do not return Happy Valley, Valhalla, Heaven’s Gate not spurned.
How odd, how circular, the day of his birth Should turn out to be the day of his death.
Alpha and Omega the beginning and the end And from our hearts on this anniversary
All our love we send.
One Year On

Death is weird like that. Snatched Dad unawares one night. Heart, cramp, fall, lights out. The shape of him on the carpet
after he had gone told tales.
No poem
I don’t know what to do with myself Its poetry time and I have no poem In my heart right now Not that my head knows about.
It falls, it falls light silent night And my heart falters in my chest As I look on with wonder Creativity on the hands of others
It’s a wonderful thing
Think I’ll encourage it.
Sleeping Child II
How sweet it is To see your face Sleeping Unexpectedly Under my covers.
Sleeping Child
Ancient, anonymous, powerful Ancestors from the past Show themselves through The skin of my child So pale the blue rivers of his veins Can be seen Like floes under ice packs.
Come to the surface little one Morning is come darkly Midnight blue, moon black And yet here it is and Time full here to be up and doing.
So still and quiet expression is inside too Face is at rest Wake awake Be alive to the day To hope To daydream To laugh Then your spirit is on your face But now Its inside Deep And your face floats on the stream of sleep Drifting, bobbing In the tide of unconsciousness.

Naomi (in Tanka style of poem)
What a long day turned night by the end of it all. Spit of blood and mucus. The waters came out, mown hay was the sweet smell, meadow green.
That wasn’t the end. Look down a tunnel, its long deceptively far, exhaustingly arduous. Terribly tiring and hard.
Am I going on? Forgive me Naomi In the crook of my Arm you lay so beautiful Serene, calm, ready, alert.
As if you knew what lay in store, perceived quietly with strength stoical the length of the ward, the time in the theatre, the tubes.
All of this is gone Forgotten like your first step. Now its skinny jeans Just skimming the neat scar line you don’t see  it's behind.
Naomi Girl
Naomi girl, Confident as a conker
Shiny, whole and  fresh.
My House C/O The Cobourg Tavern and Inn
This is the flat I lived in In Vitro From the maternity hospital with my sick mother I left the flat as a tiny, tiny baby So Aunty Susan could rear me for a few (six?) months Till mum’s back healed a little.
O tiny cry O small defect of life O hand O head O heart
Where is my baby? where am I? The mother undone by birth. The baby whisked this way and that.
O hand, O eye, O mouth Sensible from birth of the order And priority of others.
Conditioned to silence Conditioned to be alone Extreme isolation and loss.
Here I am outside my flat 19 Queen Square Now part of a Thai Restaurant.
Here is my window A lady industriously moves behind The lit glass Rush, slush Brush, shush, Chop, click, sizzle Back and forth she walks quickly.
Round the back – no change Three guys in hoodies with bottles The door painted black and Georgian The top light showing the lit Yellow stair-well up to our flat.
Above, the window is black and blank Looking into the square. Once as a two year old I went out with O…
Dream Poem 4: My Foot is on the Ground.
My foot is on the ground. Competition race Crowds of people around
Swags and swaths  and dark steep steps.
Massive Disclaimer Poem

I’m not a poetess but I want to be I’m not an artist but I want to be I’m not a musician but I want to be I’m not a very good friend but I want to be I’m not a very good mother God help me be better I’m not the best wife, Angels protect me, I need to be, help me.
Bravado List: I’m a fantastic mother I’m an ace teacher I’m the most attentive wife I’m the most creative working artist I’m the hardest working musician I’m the persevering poet I’m a distant but good friend – I have to be with all this other stuff going on.

Dream Poem 22: Married to Madonna
Elegant birthday Cakes given shapely – he had to
Side step, saunter A regular haunter
Get on with village life Bubble bath bingo The pain of losing her With the Fiddlers fool A dip in the pool Don’t mention Madonna
One time dance partner, people only Prove harder It was
One more dance Proving my romance It was his dark secret
Was not ill founded

Dream Poem 6: Marble Cadillac.
They were alone. Their play things were toys of marble. He had a Cadillac of marble The size of a pillow. One day we rescued him from his solitude He put his marble Cadillac in our car I was going to walk. But decided against it And called them back And got in.

Dream Poem 7: Lines of Rain

On the embankment On a path I stood looking down at the beach and the sea, it was high tide. As I watched, bands of scattered showers came in from the horizon line. Just a couple of lines of rain, They let their water go and played out quickly One After Another Like music Like someone practicing scales The last one let its water go right by my foot But I was not wetted.
Lake at Sunrise

Holy Moley broken crocks Kitchen shack Lost ribbons Smell of a meadow Pools of light Golden day Drowned, float free Waves of power Spat First suitcase shut An orange at dusk Chain Boat Zero Clouds of gold and bronze A pea hen brown A small blue shoe with three straps and a buckle The shape of a diamond in a constellation Tar clay Blueberry mash Whale skin deep A spoon flickering with brandy Toe nail pink and tiny Lap-lap, lap-lap, lap-lap The lake speaks in tongues of water and weed Tongues of silt The echo of a hull on the shore rock Hollowly sounding In the bell resounder of the curve of the boat bottom Curve of the wood Becomes a sounding board announcing The edge Where water meets land One Absorbs The other.

I've Been Here Before: Dream Poem 2.

In a car In a playground With older people. With children. Driving older people. Driving children. Preparation time alone I’ve been here before These places are familiar to me As familiar as routine. These people are archetypes I’ve met them before I’m outside In the fresh air I’m standing by the car waiting Still Quiet Peaceful.

It’s Over
Not now but when I ask you, I hear myself reply I know what you’ve been thinking, Not expecting this good bye
Not now but when I  ask you For the keys to the front door Your presence here is irksome You’re not needed anymore
Not now but when I ask you The answer to my plea Do you, have you ever loved me? The reply is plain to see in your eyes and your face.
Not now but when I ask you Rapt out in anger sharp You could not, would not see my pain Or reach out to me with your heart in the dark.
Not now but when I ask you Why, why, why, why, why, why Did you propose, and I agree And rend our lives and peace did flee Not now but when I ask you The fumy smoke and ash The ros—ź wine, and whiskey vodkas I took them all and turned happiness to trash and oddness
Not now but when I ask you So why did you have to ring? It’s over, gone, speak my name no more Our time together bound by a ring Is no more a precious thing But out of sight and time and place Not now Not ever Nevermore.

It’s all of a Piece
It’s as if I’ve been here before It’s all of a piece The watcher and the watched Who is sleeping and Who is watching? Their heads so close so their thoughts run Together in a pool Of reflective light On whose surface Marbling inks swirl And curdle in blooming paisley leaves of colour Calling to mind old books looked at in an antique bookshop on Woodhouse Lane Who is dreaming whom? Malchus my Angel What lies trapped beneath The ice of my mind What thoughts wait?


Is this going anywhere? What’s the criteria?
Can we capitulate If I excommunicate?
My heart is expiate I can’t foil to extrapolate
My soul is expatriate My body is nitrate
Ready to explode.


Holidays and markers of the year pass You are not there ‘Nothing will come of nothing’, Me and Dad ‘How sharper than a serpents tooth it is to have a thankless child’ Infinity – nothing will come of nothing If I don’t do anything – this is counted as an action or an anti-action Nothing will come of nothing - like the sin of omission. It’s my fault to leave undone something I should have done Its negative, ‘nothing’ is not a good idea, negating responsibility It’s acting the child It’s stepping back, stepping away, side stepping, stepping out All the stepping is avoidance Put them all together and a kind of dance of avoidance begins to be choreographed. Infinity- nothing will come of nothing A step into nothing A leap of pure faith A step into the unknown A blind leap Infinity – stretching before, reaching back behind And where I am What do I see? A hall of mirrors repeating the same image Me - framed in a mirror – going back and going forward infinitely. Infinity – my ey…
In The Computer Screen
In the computer screen today I watched my contours The computer is taking a long time completing a task It draws in my eyes Dawning in my eyes is me reflected in the black screen In the black I don’t see it at first because I’m thinking about my next computer action But then I see me - it’s a black me with harshly contrasted blacks and whites The window on one side throwing a strong white light and the darkening room on the other side and in the screen Black. And I’m there in the screen and there in the room and somewhere in between neither in the room or in the screen but like infinity between the two places travelling having left a long time ago and knowing I have a long way yet to go. Committed to the journey fatalistically committed I don’t have a choice this is a reality, an immoveable, irrefutable, undeniable truth. And my journey is one every one of us has to go through. The Father has abandoned me. He has left me. Now I have to carry on Without…
Harvest Home

The afternoon Spent luxuriously In a plastic chair At the bedside of mum Dozy, pale, frowzy
Her legs just like mine Under cellular blankets The kind I look at and think “that won’t keep you warm” But turn out to be toasty
Drip and cannula, blood pressure Cups of sweet tea Dry air, warm air Nurses chat
I tune out Who knows if this is normal? We close the door and The quiet envelops us I close my eyes to pray Apart from kind nurses popping in It’s a flower centre With petals closed It’s a cocoon of blissful rest It’s a four poster feather bed With the curtains drawn.
Its enwrapment of love And one, two, three hours go by In quick succession And I with my book reading A poem at a time.
The costa guy asked what I was Reading – “Modern Women Poets” And he said “Nothing there for me” Why not? Men can read Poems by women.
And the time runs through a sieve And the next thing the nurse says we May go Luckily we haven’t been fed The institutionalisation Hasn’t set in yet

We feel n…
Green Hench I
On a green hench a tumulus earth works I lay my head on the steep slope And look out, look across, look around Directly opposite, the Ring of Brogdar stands silently Each stone, a stone of immense weight, a slab Flat sheared like paving – special stone Red sandstone and the circle, unbroken Yet has missing teeth, fallen where they stand, or gone The magnetic power of the ring is strong Rings of magnetism emit silently from the ring Emanating until they reach The stones of Stenness  A smaller circle Next to a lake Deadpool lake – still – uncut Reflective And under the lake is the water to be Silent, black pool And above the lake is the cloud filled Sky full of potential water And the stones like a moon pull The water down, down into the earth Where they collect and lay until they Are tidally pulled up – into the lake Up into the vapourous cloud – the stones Direct all – speaking silently to each other. Brogdar to Stenness
Triangulating over to Maes Howe the Green Hench …