bird watching [meditations #4]

I am watching the birds from my bedroom window,
trying to learn the names of the ones that keep
landing in the garden. There is a symphony of noise,
a nest under the roof, just above the window.

They sing in the morning, and in the evening sun,
I sit and listen, their joy cheering me too.
I learn their names – house sparrows, distinctive
with their grey and brown and black markings.

They begin to feel like family and I glare at
the crow who has begun to land on the fence,
edging closer, his eye on the nest, and the ginger
cat too who appears on my window ledge.

There’s the blackbirds too, and the wrens, who
appear after the rain searching in the wet grass
for food and who pilfer twigs from the flower beds
and carry them away, business as usual while we slow.

I spot the starlings too, their feathers sparkling
in the sunlight, and later I see them swoop and rise
again, a mighty formation glittering against the pale
blue skies, appearing day after day like clockwork.

I see a goldfinch, with red on it’s face, yellow
on it’s tail, perching on a washing line,
and when it’s gone I wonder if I imagined it
as I don’t see it again just remember the flash of gold.

There’s the gulls and the crows, the magpies, one for sorrow,
two for joy, who seem to skid about the roof, as if they
can’t find their balance, like young lambs learning
to walk. They sit watch, on roof tops, overseers of the world.

The house sparrows swoop past my window, and dive
into their nest and I am comforted by the sound
of their chirping through the open window, reminding
me that life carries on even when everything has stopped.

a walk through memory [meditations #3]

I leave the car park and walk inland,
through a farmyard where life never
stops and across fields, where I spy
dog walkers in the distance. I enter
the woods and wind down steep, curling
paths, fallen leaves and twigs underfoot.

The woods are my favourite place
to be when the floor is carpeted
with bluebells, and the air filled
with wild garlic. I wish that I
could bottle the smell and save it
for when I need it most.

I leave the woods and stand
on the cliffs, the path winding away
along the coast, watching the sea breaking
on the exposed and unforgiving rocks below.
wind licks my face and I close my eyes,
feeling free. This is where I belong.

The path takes me up and down along
crumbling cliffs, across worn paths
until I emerge at my final destination,
a tiny cove, where shingle and sand
cover the beach, mixed with seaweed
and stones that I pick up to skim.

I roll up my trousers, leave shoes and socks
on rocks and walk down to the water’s edge
where the clear, gentle water laps
over my feet. It sends a shiver of delight
through me. It’s still cold, but I don’t mind.
Eventually, feet red, I extract them and dry
off, the spring sunshine warm on my bare skin.

I return from my reminiscences, startled to find
that I am still sat in my chair, the same four
walls around me. I long to return, although I am
not sure when that will be. Instead, I must hold
tight to my memory, dreaming of the day when I
will feel sand underfoot again and see the ocean.

what I know about grief [meditations #2]

I have grieved before
threaded it through my life
a blunt needle
that is pulled through
slowly slowly
so I know
that this is
a grief beyond any
most will have known;
for a way of life
a world that has changed
and will emerge scarred,
for there will be a before
and an after.
I know too that grief
grows and swells like a balloon
before deflating unexpectedly
and shrinking lodged
against my ribcage
forever beating there
the tick-tock
of a clock
that will not be silenced.

morning meditation [meditations #1]

alone. The world
feels like a secret
private place
just me
and the thud of feet
on deserted roads
stumbling over uneven
paths, watching
as the sun
appears rising
over the hills
and abandoned clay pits.
I run through farms
still asleep
the cows in the field
tending their young
and think how lucky
I am to be alive.

And So Summer

and so summer has come and gone, and it feels like we barely
dipped our toes in before it is snatched away again as evenings

darken, a chill in the air and all the things we meant to
do, the adventures, the late evenings, the early mornings,
are all gone before we can say –

blackberries appear on hedgerows, plenty
Of crumble and back to school blues
new pencil case and pens, sharpened leads

as barefoot days, sea dips, fields of hay bales, neat in rows
freshly mown grass, sunshine laughter, reading lying on the grass
in dapple sunlight


into memories

I Am Poetry Pamphlet Available

August is a funny old month. Summer always feels like it’s sort of nearly over and it brings with it lots of memories. It’s ten years next week since everything changed. It’s impossible to imagine at the time, but soon grief and loss just become a part of the landscape of your life and after a while, it dulls. It doesn’t go away, it just becomes normal, and so you forget to think perhaps that it is odd or something that happened to you. It is just a fact of life, something that you live with.

Ten years is a long time, a lot of time for life to happen. Everything in life now is separated into a before and after, and the after is beginning to stretch out, longer and longer, so that the big things that happen in life, and the little things too, have become uncountable. Adult life has been this huge ‘after’ and we have never known any different, so it’s just normal.

Over the years, I’ve written many poems on the subject, and this year I decided to put together some of my favourites in this little pamphlet, with the idea that any money raised from selling some copies will go to the wonderful St Wilfried’s Hospice in Eastbourne, who although we perhaps didn’t appreciate it at the time, took great care of us all. Hospices are strange places to be, but the work that they do is so so important, but they need funding. Hospices make people comfortable at the end of their lives and give them a nice, caring place to be.

If you’d like to buy a copy, then it’s available through my Etsy shop as a physical thing or a pdf download. Thanks for the support!


you bring white
and blue, green
and red, orange
and pink
lids and straws
containers, rope
coffee cups
action figures
that I dump
on the shore
before retreating.

I return
for them hours later,
emptying the shoreline
swallowing them whole

offerings you do not want.

Nor do I.

The Way Back

I don’t long to go back, not really
for I know that I will not find
the footprints of childhood
still residing there
but only a ghost of what
was once, a faint thread
leading me back
to somewhere that no longer exists
and cannot be any more
for the world has kept spinning
and I have kept moving
through this life and it no longer
waits for me in the shadowy
wings but has been wiped away
and all that is left
is the ripples, ghost
of a place and time and people
that once was
and no longer is.


here, the sand is soft underfoot, a far cry
from the pebbles of my childhood beaches,
where the shingle is stacked tall, a rocky bank to run down,
the stones hard, feet sinking,
from car to water, standing at the water’s edge, watching the waves
roll in and out.

here, the golden sand

stretches for miles, the water

blue and green, a world away from the grey, muddy water where once
we floated on our backs like starfish, the sun still warm at gone seven
and it felt like another place –

I am home now, here,
where I have crossed the bridge between two worlds
and where my wings are set free and the weight of the past has flown.

here, the sand is soft underfoot.

my feet sink down, rooting me here.