Monday, 31 March 2014



I can't fall into the sentimentality of Mother's Day, and envy those who can. Being a mother is tough work, and some women are better at it than others. Most love unconditionally, some don't. We love our children as best we can in our own flawed, imperfect way. I didnt like my mother, and if we had met in other circumstances, I would have made a quick exit, asking, Who was that dreadful woman?. But I loved her. She was my mother after all.

 I struggled all my life with hostile feelings towards her. We were never close. She was remote, mean, mostly disinterested, undemonstrative and sometimes physically abusive. Late in life she developed Alzheimers and I spent 5 years looking after her - watching her terrible decline. In that period I learned to like, respect and love my mother. It was a healing time. She bore her illness with dignity and courage, and I began to see the positive qualities she had given me in life. Until then, anger had blinded me to them. I realised that she too, had struggled to find her place on this earth, had been born at a turbulent time - in 1913 prior to the First World War, and later would directly experience another. As a woman she had never fulfilled her own potential - like the rest of her family, she was musically gifted and I can still hear her singing, and playing the piano.

It was only while looking after her that I discovered she had been physically and sexually abused as a child. Only days before she died, when she was refusing food and drink, and had forgotten how to speak, she pulled me to her and kissed me. To most daughters this would have been expected - but I could not remember the last time my mother had ever held me, or kissed me. Slowly and with great effort she mouthed, 'You have been a good girl. Thank you.' I cannot explain how much that moment has meant to me.

She was 95 when she died. I miss the woman I had discovered and had learned to love without recrimination. She gave me more than I had cared to acknowledge and, like all of us, had expressed her love in her own imperfect way, which I did not appreciate at the time. In our healing time together, I thanked her for what she had given me, even if she may not have understood. She was a courageous woman, and in her own way, within her limitations, did the best she could. Thanks mum. I miss you.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014


Forget how the world dims your sight
And breaks your back.
Forget the pining of sorrow in the burrow of your heart.
Do not remember the ache of loss
Or, how spring once called you to a feast.
Turn the violence against you to a falling leaf.
If music sinks to silence and you cannot dance,
do not think the song is lost.
The dust from marching soldiers will not blind you.
Imagine love and how you once knew it,
not as a buried ember, but as a
firefly, defying darkness.

More of my poetry can be read on,,

Saturday, 15 March 2014


                       Love creeps in through the back door.
                       Don't accuse it of being a burglar.
                       Invite it in. Offer tea and biscuits, make it feel at home. 
                       It will steal nothing from you. 
                       Your heart has already been rifled, the drawers emptied.
                       There is nothing left.
                       Love brings new offerings.


Do not refuse love.
It will outpace you,
Meet you where you are lost,
Spin you, until, like a dervish,
You know only one circle,
Endless in its leading to your Beloved.