1 Oct 2017

Poem 10

Blossoms poking over the garden wall

Part 1

The conceit of thinking I can be a parent,
that I can succeed where others fail;
then failing in exactly the same way,
and inflicting this on a child.

            blossoms poking up over garden walls: spring

The fear of being ordinary, of doing what is expected.

            blossoms poking over the garden wall

Gift unwrapped, seeds spilling from a ripe pomegranate.

            blossoms poking over the garden wall

The bare feet of a little girl in a shop, cold linoleum, summer.

           blossoms poking over the garden wall

Part 2

Much more than blossom glimpsed over a wall, daughter,
you are a garden, filled with pungent flowers.

(part 1 first published in Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Anthology III {2013} and on this blog: here (poem for January 2017))

1 Sep 2017

Poem 9


I can see why Plath wrote those luminous poems post-partum.
Your mind plays tricks on you then. Nicholas’s cries rising like balloons,
was it? the boy love ‘d set going like a fat gold watch.

Like an acid trip gone wrong, like the paranoid phase of being stoned,

where suddenly you think you've got all of it wrong.


Someone else's baby
all done up in woolly hat, leggings, navy booties,
seated in a homemade push car made of wire and bits of junk,

baleful and sad and piteous,
the planes of its face set in misery.

1 Aug 2017

Poem 8

Late last night

Late last night, after feeding, you gave me this:
a private smile as you lay in my arms, almost asleep, eyes closed.
Your cheeks plumped and the skin around your eyes crinkled.
I could see your empty gums, waiting for teeth.
You were as beautiful to me as a Noh mask or the narrow-eyed lady
in my Japanese print. Come back to me always, daughter.
I will learn to be your mother.

31 Jul 2017

Milnerton beach

Can't go far wrong with Milnerton beach on a warm winter's late afternoon. The nippers were in swimming costumes and loving it.
The beach has changed shape again. Lots of stones, which is unusual. Enough to make that wonderful sound as the waves roll them over. And a steeper drop off than I was comfortable with when I wasn't planning on swimming with the small fry. We had to walk quite far along to find a slower shelving bit.
Quite a lot of rubbish on the beach but nothing really yucky, that you could see anyway...

1 Jul 2017

Poem 7

Mountain dove

I thought her cries would go through me
like other people’s babies’ did grief-stricken, anguished
for the loss of a dummy or a shoe.

Instead it is the fear that goes through me,
the fear of what else my mind can throw at itself,
in these early sleepless days.

Outside, the mountain dove with its blood-red eye
beads at us from the roof, its plumage slate
with spots of snow, then flies away.