Archives for posts with tag: his mum

March 15th 1962

She wanted her children before she was 30, managed it with a week to spare

Without that day

She wouldn’t have said “you ‘av ‘eavy ‘ead”

He’d have had no one to pin down

She wouldn’t have said get stuck in on Sunday lunches

The cowboy suit would not have been bought

The long hospital trips not needed

No Butlitz compare laughing at your line

He’d have biked the forest alone

And she’d have to lie to someone else

And they wouldn’t have been amazed at how you caught up

And she wouldn’t have bought daily chicken legs

And he wouldn’t have driven up and down till he found you

And he wouldn’t have caught up with you after all those years

And she wouldn’t have been challenged to know it wasn’t right

And he wouldn’t have been held when he came home from ships

And she’d have played games with someone else

And they wouldn’t have had the back up they needed

And they wouldn’t have had the steely decisions

And their choices would not have been clear

And she’d not have put the world to rights

And she wouldn’t have remembered and smiled

And his issues would have been different

And she wouldn’t have got the egg

And she wouldn’t have sat up talking all night

And she’d wouldn’t have had the momentum

And she wouldn’t have dealt with debate

And she wouldn’t have made the journey

And she wouldn’t have stood at the top, though the snow hurt her eyes

And she wouldn’t have found the Bronx choir

And she wouldn’t have felt the fluttering in the Millenium Dome

And there were no more breaks

And he wouldn’t have been held in the first half hour

And they wouldn’t have made a nest on their lounge floor

And he wouldn’t have your steely eyes

And he wouldn’t have the knowledge

And he wouldn’t have the genes

And he wouldn’t have the thread that connects

And he wouldn’t be

And I wouldn’t have made the changes

And I wouldn’t have grown in this way

And I wouldn’t have took on the challenge

And I wouldn’t have clung onto the spark

And I wouldn’t have learned what was there

And I wouldn’t have uncovered cycles

And I wouldn’t have carved out a strength

And I wouldn’t have shown who I am

And I couldn’t have taken her ring

And I couldn’t have taken his ring

And he wouldn’t have been dreaming little lad dreams beside me

And I wouldn’t have this day ahead of me

I wouldn’t have had us

I wouldn’t have had him

I wouldn’t have had me

I wouldn’t have this motherhood

He wouldn’t be who he is

I wouldn’t be who I am

We wouldn’t have this voyage

We wouldn’t be

We wouldn’t have this life

We have this life

March 15th 2012


Not real, not here, writing from nowhere.

Can’t make sense of it, don’t want to see anyone, the dogs give me no lift today. Need to leave the path I think, go behind, back to the dark and scary woods that we negotiated with our toddler.

It’s too open out there, too revealing.

Free and empty but not for me today, have to find me in the brambles. Wings sneak out, cut through cloud. I need my mast to climb high, can’t see if there’s land ahead. Should I spear the bird, feed them all or keep heading out?

Let’s see what happens, it’s too early out here. I feel ill today, heavy, puffy, weighted down. I ignore the struggling saplings, they have little point this morning.

I find a cut through under barbed wire.

And beyond it white grey void, it’s appealing but I’m not brave enough.

Not ready to come out into the open, keep drifting to find somewhere new.

Out there the day is trying to find itself, telegraph poles creep towards me, adrift galleons to steer around.

The crew has gone, my compass is rusty, the glass scratched, eaten away by the salt. Tap it and hope for the best.

It’s too quiet but not quiet enough.

There’s a temptation to stroke my hand firmly across the barbs as I wander past, like a ten year old stick-banging against railings, but I resist the need for a different pain and keep it deep in pocket.

And now I’m out, don’t know where?

It’s all changed from when we used to walk with our son to the trains.

I really don’t know which way to go.

Where is this? Lined up in a drip of old trees, ancient and clawed into the earth. Creatures smirking and hiding behind them. I take the fragile tissue paper from the twig, study its veins of direction. They all think they’re invisible but I know they’re there,

hiding, like me, not doing a good job.

They’re my sea creatures, waiting to tip the boat, the roots unsteady me. I find a harbour by the fenced off field. The sky hangs upside down in the weight of the water droplet, gravity taking them down from the berry, the new fruit shining over wrinkled age. Moss creeping, coating bark while I stop to study the burned out shack, some structure remaining, though its purpose changed.

It’s struts are in place, the wood underneath, the angles sharp and clear. But the surface gone, stripped, devowered. With care and attention it could do it’s job differently, new and renewed. Changed but still having a point.

I’m not ready for the mist to lift,

but turn for the shore before daybreak.

I scuff my hand on the slimy limed creatures, they’re not as fierce as they look. I can tame them if I choose and head back to familiar waters.

And now I don’t mind the openness, the nobodys coming out of the mist.

I can’t tell how far down I am.

I tap the screen, wait for the arrow to settle, to find north.

The day hangs around my neck

fluorescence near the shoreline

I stumble from the wreck to wander with my story.

Thursday March 1st

This is perfect

Heavy fog, mist drip tapping onto me.

Hanging on branches, can’t see very far ahead. Before the bridge can’t see the other side. Everything shiny and seeping. I turned right don’t know why. Halfway up a different path stop and listen. Sharp branches in foreground with washed out trees beyond. The traffic is calling, I must check this route another day. The distant shapes are inviting but I need the hill, I wonder where this goes? I want to escape. Turn back for the bridge. Catch the raindrop from the rusty grid of fencing, holding back nature. I burst its surface tension, its invisible wetness on my finger. The bright yellow arrow points north west insisting to me its a footpath. I take its hard plastic advice. And all the metal struts are hung with glass beads and thread pushed out and woven with instinct to catch food. And I resist the temptation to brush them away on my hand, forcing them to rebuild without resentment, without anger, just doing it because you have to feed – relentless parenting. And the wings flush by me, and the white is so heavy I want to keep walking into it, to be swallowed whole by the mist but if I do when I get there it will still look the same. Pidgeon reminding me it’s time to go. All I can see are faded outlines of what used to be there. I know it’s underneath somehow but I can’t see it, have to feel it instead. Can hear the pidgeon nearby but can’t see him. The cold’s building, the greyness hangs. This is a close fit today – Submerged in thick scared desolation. Beyond weighted down. Anticipation, knowing it will lift at some point but right here, right now,

it’s solid dense saturating clawing imploring calling me into it.

Heavy, consumed and lost

I look back

everything has disappeared

I look forward and see only solid white



Friday March 2nd. 

Last time before the weekend

Cold, calm earlier, want to hold onto it

But there is no holding just being

It may shift again

Still misty

But not the denseness from yesterday

Owner calls for busy terrier and behind me a selection of dogs have joined the day

Sun trying to force itself up

Real interruptions now blocking me with phone calls and her focussed dachshund 

‘That must set you back a bit – did a mental calculation’

Unfeeling, feeling too visible and vulnerable

Leave them to their briskness, leads in hand

I’m off the leash myself, out of bounds.

Going home


Our friend turned up in his familiar way and wandered round the back, off to hunt boar. He came to help with the garden and my husband used to envy his life wrestling with nature and words and now he’s here balancing a spade because the job would make my back ache.

I take myself away as the sounds start and staring through the pain I listen absently to the deep thump pause of preparation.

I study our willow star, it’s raffia ties crinkled dry by the months. And lose my place until the throaty throb of his petrol motor torques its way up and over the lawn.

The sparrows compete for special offer worms eager, plump and fresh. Revealing.

The sun doesn’t quite break through but the waiting creeps forward,

The movement is irresistible,the process is becoming.

Saturday March 3rd

Steeling myself and feeling inescapable movement through the day. An inevitability approaching like the first weekend in-between the first and second conversations.

Tomorrow we work on the garden together.

Sunday March 4th

Early morning, listening to our son’s breathing and through the curtains that belonged to a different land I lie under the washed out grey. The gentle pittering becomes more insistent, It sounds Good, cleansing and pure. It feeds my earth. It’s natural process, turning, moving, being.

The patio is dark and shiny, the leaves heavy. Under the soil everything ticks and buzzes with potential. A universe I can’t see but sense, but feel.

Everything is in motion

Including me

The rain has a softer punch but keeps coming. Everything is saturated with this anticipation,

moving through stillness.

Wrapping myself up.

The rain is cold despite moments of spring. My feet tingle from the soaked concrete, last years leaves have changed but they’re still glossy and proud. I can see my breath. The bare trees cut black angles across the thin grey wash in front of me.

I flip away, she’s in her red fleece, I take her arm, he never likes the trip but loves the connection. And she can’t decide what to eat so he chooses for her and we knew she had stopped worrying.

And as it turns to autumn on my March day I catch sight of my reflection in the double glazing with my necklaces from then and now. A double set repeated, normally not visible, but in this light, at this angle through the raindrops and the dust I can see the things beyond.

Later he wrote into the patio dirt with the bright noisy power washer. He laughed at the mud we generated, he soaked me and washed the windows and in gloves way too big for him he scooped while I patted. The rich fresh earth smelt good, the roots breathing, untangling, finding a new place, stretching tentatively in their new found direction.

As I wait for the water to stop I glance around the garage, our old big fridge that used to be full of made up milk feeds by his bachelor cupboards, worn grubby with age and histories, stiff drawers packed with essential nonsense, a younger writing from when it lay ahead of him, And our son’s blue bike that we hurried behind easing him into finding his balance, just like his dad before him. And he wobbled then and we wobble now and we still need stabilisers as I stand amongst our dusty cobwebs, our crumpled mess of memories. Outgrown obsolescence. Out of the house but still attached.

And it’s cold and wet and evening is pushing us inside.

I turn the tap tightly

Tomorrow is coming.


Yesterday March 5th

I will be here tomorrow morning too

Stood in the glare of the sun, brambles catch me as I go by. It’s bitter but the rays strip the clouds across and above, the traffic moves freely, the wind cuts into my neck, time for my table. Crossing the bridge. I will come back this way. I pull some gauzed seeds from the enticing thicket, it resists me and I pull till its free. It’s smooth black tips torn from their potential. I stand for a while on the bridge staring into the oncoming traffic, shielding my eyes from the dazzle. I loosen my grip and the seeds are carried from behind through the railings and disappear into the morning. And now I stand higher up I can see more from over here. Can see beyond the cathedral to a place I’d  barely spotted before. Despite spring sunshine the bitterness from yesterday’s short cruel snow remains and I understand winter isn’t over yet. I pick my route with care and get to the table. The icy wind competes and almost wins over the sun on my back. My hands are buzzing, it feels so different today, the wood will take ages to warm up.

And in the light of my March morning all things fade to a being with my soul, a four count rhythm and the memories of their words.

It’s time to go


At home

Surrounded by every second and memory of our life crashing swirling dancing, cradling hurling sneaking, bashing and forcing themselves around me.

I wait

I can’t do anymore

I need to be

I wait for the doorbell


Today March 6th


I don’t know where to be today, how to be

The bench is too wet

The ground slippy muddy icy

The wood pidgeon still trying to direct me, it’s shadow circles round, Icy air blows through me, I feel yesterday’s immense pain hovering and want to find a place to be. My shadow is still long, the mist has gone, the whirring feathers beat air past me.

I want to write here until I feel nothing. Until I can’t hear the bird call, the squealing children, the buzzing roads, the humming underground, the tweeting on top, their impatience piercing, the hurried children, the abstract banging, the hollowed cry, the heavy sound of a world still churning and a child screaming on the wind. And I only have white heat at the end of my arms and I want to write until it stops, until I can’t move anymore, until there’s nothing left and the engine throttle disappears taking me with it and I’m in bright open physical pain mirroring the endless emotion while the birds delight in their existence.

I am frozen I am pain I am here


The pidgeons are on lookout behind me. My ears are ringing under the wafting bird flight, lorry reversing, plane throbbing, winter bareness persisting.

Time to negotiate the steps in front of me.

And under the bridge I walk past the shuffling old man that he didn’t become and nod to the cloud of perfume from the old world and round the back now appreciating warmth and feeling the pull of our garden. And I stand beneath the tree we could see from our window, the sun warms my frozen face, the shadows are still stretched out under the sirens and brushing wheels. The leaves and litter are carried regardless.

Time to return


She encouraged them both to dig the garden as a competition, under the tree he loved that grew and flowed over the cared for lawn, behind their home before everything changed when he sat down next to him on his small bed. And the years of conkers and bike rides were stripped back with the bark and the tree was left alone, untended unheard. And she cried in the new home by the bottom of the yard where the hydrangea persisted despite its concrete glove. And much further away the branches still hung over the water reflecting a garden that belonged to someone else.

But he could always be found near water like his tree and his gardens shifted over the years from alleyways with student bins to squares of territory tucked round the back, to a courtyard and too tightly pruned roses. Before somewhere to sit and be and study things moving in the sunlight and she was always there overhanging in the background, invisible but present.

And now my hydrangea has gone back to earth, one bloom crunchily faded like a collection of cocoons, if I touch them they will fall away so I pull apart around it, tug of war the bindweed that’s stealthed it’s path over the year. The willow stars we made have settled and found their place while the bindweed ties maypole ribbons around them.

She’d watch him carefully in the morning with her spirited silence and when her last garden became irrelevant she forgot for a while. And the branches grew and wrapped themselves tightly around us all weaving and interlocking over time and distance, through space and memory, beyond and outside of what we could see, unbounded by what we perceive, unharnessed, unrestrained by the transient limitations of our senses.

And the roots go deep, channelling intent into the earth for sustenance and life, to anchor the moment to form the backdrop of a family. And they drink from the soil and convert from the light and the cycle continues, silently forging and moving.

She always loved trees, he knew I did too. She looked out on the garden that she loved and cried for the tree and the tree cried back.

Her loss. His loss.

My loss now

And she sat with me somehow

And I sat tall and stiff, upright like her tree, staring emptily into the middle distance and out there somewhere through the brightly coloured glass to a point in space and time where I didn’t exist and the reality was not what I sensed around me.

And I chose bamboo from the East and from our garden

And I chose willow because.

And now I’ve bought willow for our garden

To forge it’s roots deep and strong while he grows, to bend in the wind when it batters the house, to sway without resistance, to ease out new leaves, to nurture and protect. To give shelter.

Her job. His job.

My job now

I sit by willow


8.50 a.m – This morning

Back in the womb, deep in the mist where we used to live, when we used to live. I can smell the wood today, damp fresh good. Birds go up a gear and I’m barely holding on and I know why. Familiarity on the breeze, not sure if it’s coming my way.

Why are they so loud don’t they know what day it is?

I could be anywhere looking out, I’m not part of this landscape, it goes on around me. I could be looking out from a thousand different places. Their bubble of laughter breaking out of the distance while my carcass is held up by the picnic table.

What would you bring to this table ?

Ignore the chinking of dog collars.

Some gaily coloured plastic cloth, gingham checks from a world of ginger beer, mucky knees with mothers apron tied behind her at the high white sink. And you played on the scrubbed lino with hard plastic animals that came inside the biscuit packet. And the coal bunker stood its ground at the back of the bungalow where you used to lose the high bounce balls, all too frequently somewhere in the rockery and you love the swirls of colour on the firm formed rubber and your hair was a thick pony tail. And the front lawn went on forever and it was always late summer and we decorated prams with tissue paper for a charity push to nowhere. And we sat in the park with friends and bought Walls Funny Faces from the old ice-cream van man. And picnics were time to stop, to take it outside, to be together, to tear bread and watch.

And now I observe without a tablecloth.

No currant buns or cloudy lemonade, just the cold planed grain supporting my hands, the persistence of time and if I stare hard enough into the mist it takes the downland to the Alps from way back then. The unsteady magpie bouncing the phone wire, a second one on the ground, ungainly old man pecking. The late winter chill that means nothing to me, that has no power.

And they sit somewhere in their childhood, in their freedom behind the settee under the old model of a viking ship.

And they will travel

And they will become

And their journeys took their course

And they merged

And they moved

And they separated on the surface

And I still travel for a while, with his beacon, with his gift from back then.

And I came to this table

And we’re here without a cloth

I sit and watch


A collie smiles up to me with a dribbled ball in his mouth. I stroke his head and leave.



In the other universe I went into reception class and helped out because they were one member of staff down. While he got through the dreaded tribunal and typically did a fantastic job although he unpicked it later and beat himself up about some of the elements.

And in the spring the fear of redundancy came nearer and we lost many hours to the worry and worked through innumerable plans and options. But we ploughed on, created contingencies and battled our way through the stress.

And we continued to be puzzled by the leak in the car and still didn’t get to the bottom of it.

And redundancy was escaped this time round but it was only a matter of time with new clouds never that far away.

And he struggled with the piano music for his birthday. We knew it was beyond him and our son but it had to be bought and they had to try. And the connection with his Mum ran through the scores and surrounded them both when they played.

And the summer was peppered with days out making way for the late holiday in Northumbria. And we cheered loudly at the experience when the voucher was redeemed. And he cheered when our son learned to swim and was so proud as he took to the blues. And in assembly only we knew the significance of the piece he’d chosen.

And he disbelieved with me that Year 6 had arrived. And he grilled the Heads in his special way as we chose the next school for our son. We settled on our first choice anyway and talked about the next phase. And we wondered how it would be when he started secondary and we watched him growing up and away.

And the in-law issues took their familiar course and Christmas was negotiated as usual.

And we teased him over the approaching big birthday and he implied, with no subtlty, that it should be like the 40th and between me and our son we did a great job.

And everything ticked along under a normal sky with all the ephemera and mundane minutia of a life lived in a real lane. And we continued to make plans like you did and we thought of the future and how it would be. And we worried about things that may never happen and normality stretched out in front of us in an endlessly comfortable comforting road, well trodden, signposted and safe.

And tonight I tried to find something to cook, glad it was half term with days off. And we needed to use the days well and had something planned for tomorrow.

And there was ordinary, there was usual, there was life, there was us, there was family, there was growth, there was time.

In this other Eden
there was all of it
nettles you could roll in

his rainless painless sky

Everything, our world

In the other universe
where he didn’t wake me in the middle of the night



The unrelenting sun refracts itself in pinpoints on the hard black shiny beads. Cushioned coal in the toy elephants face. The universe in his mum’s ring pulls me in deeper showing colours we can’t understand. The nap separates into spaces in the uncompromising light, microscopic chasms, losing myself in the fur. I can’t look it in the eye I can only watch the reflection calling me, but as the flashbacks trip and ambush me I drop away from here to there in the photons that hold the connection.

The shadow edges over the back of my hand, the sun warms the side of my face as our son calls up the stairs.


Avalanche nature’s force

Surging energy batters

New shoots underneath


It’s odd, there’s almost an irrelevance about this








Nano seconds

A year

What does that mean? Has anything changed? Am I further away from that moment at all? It’s just a process, it’s what we do – marking ageing. And whilst crushed under the inescapable re run there’s a part of me outside of it, of understanding I’m intrinsically woven into that moment, it’s as much a part of me now, then, and always, like my consciousness .

There’s no separation between me and then it simply is, it’s there next to me, on my shoulder, just happened and happened in another millennia. We exist in a permanence, an endless luminous being in itself, something that travels with me as I age.

As I untie towards 365 days and the wounds are hacked into, cleaved open, left gaping and gutted, screaming, searing white pain tearing out into the universe and yet underneath it all lies a deeper truth. An unknowable knowledge. No separation from then. It hurts me, it drives me, it is me.

Time is only a human construct

I am then

I am now

Approaching a year




I see the telegraph poles for the first time through the mist. Turned round to go, it’s too muddy for the feelings. Double backed and from this angle it looks like a shear drop, although I know there’s trampled summer down there. It looks appetising, calling. One displaced seagull and a squelching suede grey dog. Going towards the edge as the temperature dips again, not sure what’s over there,

in an aching English mist yearning for the Colorado river.

Pidgeons still there on a lower branch etched into the morning. Still watching me, biding his time. Just a ball of black from this angle, then flaps heavily fluted as they all pass over me. I look for his Mum at the bus stop and she’s there wrapped up in brown, powdered in the scent of setting lotion. And the chug throb takes her away as the snow starts to fall. A distant hammering over feintly shined bricks.

I can’t walk much slower. But I have to meet it.


Ground like cardboard, frozen paw prints, iced gusts slow my progress. I don’t want to be here. Lost seagulls wander skirting the air looking for a reason. Mud dried out dry ski slope, minus something or other. Nose and eyes running. Easier to walk but bitterly I’m not here. Can’t do this.

This coldness, this love, this pain

Time for the descent


Bottom of field, fence ripped out replaced with steel bars from nowhere. Alien, out of place, a 6 foot letter N. Things hop by me mirroring my movements. Footsteps echoing on hollow ground, waiting to see who comes by. And here are my favourites waiting for the troops. Heavy blue frayed lines going over the top. The fields fueled with beaten gold, looks like it should be warmer. A jigsawed letter from when we used to use stamps and the sky looks like June somehow.

And there’s one twig left, arms outstretched under their calling caws

Bending in the breeze

cropped to fit my view

It’s the day before tomorrow




Your cloak over food

bird prints smashed under deep tread

Hunger waits for thaw

One legged black bird

carried on avoiding crust

Twenty three reasons