Sep. 20th, 2016 06:45 pm
I've joys so bright they burst the skin
(It's there to keep my feelings in)
Halfway up a tree, I hold
A branch with fingers white with cold
Sandals slipping down the bark
Into dirt that's damp and dark
On every scratch of soil, my feet
Greet the earth they've jumped to meet
And eyes that squint against the sun
Breaths tearing through me while I run -

Or (cold again) the silken sea
Waves and foam and moving free
Water sliding over skin
(It's there to let the feelings in)
Toes go testing for the sand
Between the ocean and the land
Face to the sky, hair floating behind
Feet reaching down to see what I can find
And the shade of a currach helps me to hide
Breaths echoing loud on the tarry side.


Aug. 21st, 2016 02:59 pm
 I don't want young people
To lose their innocence by doing sex things.
If it's innocence at all
I want them to shed it,
Find someone irresistible and shyly
Shuck their innocence onto the floor and climb
Out of the rags of it and
Later collapse back onto the soft shreds of it
Like a familiar bed
This is the life where I'm sitting
at two in the morning with a laptop
in a house full of colour and people
in a town full of colour and people
but in my other life I'm living near the sea
hundreds of yards between the houses
wild walks with wet wind whipping
and not a soul to be seen for those who see the souls of those they see on the road
and my children cycle past me on their way to things I know nothing about
secret adventures with other children or dens or the old gods of the seaweed and the brown rockpools
and in my other life I'm working on a farm
with communal harvest and children in wet jumpers heaving potatoes out of the dirt
and my hands on the garden fork are covered in paint from my studio but that's ok
everyone gets covered in paint in a life like this

But those lives are with other people
And the people in my life are in this life
Which is not like anything I planned in my teens
Except that one time I shaved my head
And I sometimes do have wine with dinner like a sophisticated grownup
Even if I drink it out of a juice glass.

Morning 6

Jun. 29th, 2016 09:43 am
On the morning of the sixth grey day
For a while the clouds are blown away;
Clouds massing overhead and heavy rain,
Then in the sunshine children briefly play.
Friends online and in the street keep talking;
Fear and hope; despair; determination:
Heads down against the rain like children walking
We're waiting for sun. We grow impatient.
We don't know where we are or what we're doing
Cyclonic eye or rising flood or quake
Which tide of answers we should be pursuing
Nor how soon the dams are going to break
Perhaps if we're all talking there together
Someday something somewhere will get better?


Jun. 28th, 2016 09:54 pm
What have we now but kindness
To give each other strength?
If my other half died
I would scream out to the sky the loss of him
"Stop all the clocks" and insist the world
Pay it due attention

I  would put it on the television, his face
And his warm enormous hugs and
The smile he gave children
I would publicise his library

I would shout
Every day for a year

I would probably stand weeping in the street
Clutching passers by to tell them
That they have lost a treasure more great than they could ever know
With a megaphone

And my children would never
Never doubt my love for him or for them
And I would not love them less
do not politicise these deaths
It is not public, bleeding on the street
In daylight among books or dancing's heat
Blood bubbles apolitical last breaths
Do not politicise the hate
That leads the men to take up arms and kill
The passionate debasement of free will
That kills the young too early, now the Late
Politics is distant schemes and power
Wafting through the air - we all draw breath
We're born and live with politics 'til death 
We're lucky if it's distant in that hour.
"Do not politicise a death" but know
People kill  for politics, even so.
Summer days are open and the sky is very high
The days go on forever with the almost endless light
Between the clouds the sky is blue and beckons me to fly
The dark comes late and brief and warm; dawn chorus ends the night

I'm waiting for the winter sleet, the frosts, the wind that roars
With coats and scarves and boots and gloves and hats and drinks in mugs
I pull the walls of home around and fasten up the doors
And all the night I stay content and resting safe and snug
Eggs come in dozens, half-dozens, and scores
Egg-juice spread gloopily over the floor
Rainwater measured in bottles and jars
Snow-depths compared on the footpaths and cars

Five was an age where the science was quieter
Strange facts appeared at odd times of the day
Dancing was wilder and laughter was louder
Games came with puzzles the avatars played

Now puns are more complex and mealtimes less messy
Almost taller than I am, hair flying loose
Surprising and sulking and scruffy and dressy
This giant of a child once squeezed eggs for their juice


Dec. 5th, 2015 01:18 am
Feelings leak, play hide and seek, get covered up, pop out
Cannot speak, the limbs go weak, fizzing round about
Spinning helps, we turn ourselves, but skin can start to crawl
Clothes too loose and it's no use, we can't suppress them all.


Dec. 5th, 2015 01:16 am
If something is exciting, ta-tap
Or too difficult to speak about, ta-tap
If the sky is very sunny or a joke is very funny
Or a much is very very much, ta-tap!


Dec. 2nd, 2015 03:45 pm
Many balls
The child, the school, the tutor,
The SENCO and the friend
The plan to help the day to start
And tidy up its end.

The cat has cancer
And is dying of old age
And turns to tear his stitches out
In bitter, housebound rage.

Below the bathtub
The burst hot-water flood
The flooring to be torn up
Dried out, replaced, made good

I skip the little vitamins
Take those to slow my heart
And steer clear of the pain relief,
Just too afraid to start.
The bravery of children
astounds me
They take off their sandals and walk
Over the rocks and into the sea and
Jump back from each breaking wave and then walk deeper
They stand
Up in court or sit down for a video camera
And say the thing they've promised never to tell and
Then they say it again and again to other
And they go back to school the day after detention
Or the day before the exam
And they keep going
Little children
Big children
Picking up spiders and
Telling the teacher it was them who was talking and
Refusing to shoplift and
Getting a pal to hospital to have their stomach pumped and
Wearing second-hand wrong clothes to the school disco
And pretending they're not homeless for a year and
They never stop
Today I told our daughter
How I used to leave an office and sit in The Barge at lunchtime
With the river rocking the bar and the tables
And watch the stairs
Until your brown boots showed on the top wooden steps
And your legs grew longer as you came down
And my heart dashed up to meet you
And about halfway between the stairs and the table
Our grins met
Become invisible
Then they can't see
What to shout
Stay silent and
There's nothing to mimic
Put your light
Oh! She looked at me, huge eyes so brown
And gold-streaked hair all sweeping down
Asking for porridge and holding my soul
Five years of wisdom-smeared oats in a bowl
And the truth is that she knows the truth about love:
It's breakfast, and jostling, and puddles, and hugs.

But if

Oct. 8th, 2015 08:04 pm
What if this is the wrong thing
The wrong word to put down
What if I choose the wrong way
Go wrong

Hold on a minute
Give me time
I want to make sure I'm getting it right
What if I hold the wrong minute
What if I give the wrong answer
Or one that is incomplete
Or too long
Or too simple
Or what if what I say is completely incomprehensible because I've overthought it

In my head I know what it ought to be
I can see
Almost see
Give me a sec
Just a minute
I can get this if
If it's wrong what then

I put it down
That's almost right but not
Erase it
Start over
Don't fidget
Spin in circles with your arms out

Don't fidget
Raise your knees to your ears
And prance

Don't fidget
Hum a note all through your ribs
Whoop and call and swing


May. 9th, 2015 10:53 am
The turkeys have voted for Xmas
They're hoping you all get the goose
The pigs are still saving their bacon
by putting our necks in the noose


Jan. 28th, 2015 06:57 pm
I learned to hide & not to cry
To sing & cycle, how to fly
A kite & keep the string knot-free
I learned a lot when I was wee

He taught me how to wash the dishes
How to clean and fry the fishes
How to lie about the marks
How to stay still in the dark

How to twirl spaghetti up
And make an egg-flip in a cup
And boil an egg the right amount
And never, ever get found out.



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