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
uncertainty
fear
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.

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!

The Butterfly

The butterfly’s wings beat gentle
as it settles brown wings
onto the flowers I carry.
It stays as I walk
down the twisting pathway
towards you. It flutters
away before we get there
but through it, I feel you with me.

You are there again on a Cornish hillside
in late January sunshine
unexpected, but beating your brown
wings, sunbathing in the rays
you dance around us, to let us know
that you are there with us
before vanishing into the hedgerow.

I see you again closer to home
on a scorching summer’s day
you fly in to check up on us
lazily circling around
in the heat and I watch
you rise and dive
among the bright flowers
that still thrive
despite the fierce, blazing sun
and the wily hands of time and neglect.

Morning [Creative]

 

Waking up to smell summer in the air,

dry heat rising from the earth

the birds sing

the river is at low tide

sunlight sparkles in the shallows.

People are dead, night-time terror

screams ring through the air

chaos reigns, everything plays out in slow motion

while summer pokes her head

through the door, sees death

and destruction strewing the way

and bows away for another day.

BAD LUCK COMES IN THREES

They say that bad luck comes in threes

and there were three of you

when I got home. Three rooks waiting

in the house, your mess an omen

like we were living in a du Maurier story.  

The first of you, I found, splayed out on the floor

wings stretched out, black eyes glassy – staring

you were light to lift, easy to remove

and I thought my job done.

 

The second was still breathing, sitting perched

in the window, staring out at the great beyond.

you didn’t move or flap as I approached

and when you were gone,

I thought that we were done.

 

The last was harder to find. Just a wing

poking out from under a shelf

hidden in the shadows and I don’t know

how you got stuck down behind the case

your body wedged awkwardly

so that we might not have seen you at all.

Even after you’d gone

I sensed you still, lingering, watching, your eyes

fixed on me, following as I went on living.