Monthly Archives: May 2010

La Belle

Beauty does not

a good friend make –
no, Beauty takes
all compliments,
gifts and favours
and Beauty savours
lavish feasts
with lolling tongue
and savage teeth
for Beauty is the Beast.


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For Eva


I crawled into the space behind your back
and realised that it was the place I needed to be;
not out there amongst the madness;
amongst the lost souls who flock to this hollow page
to echo their ills and feed off scraps of sadness.
No, I need to be here, with you,
where I am safe, where I am treasured,
where my heart can beat and my lungs can fill
with the innocence of your sleep
and where the space between us is no more.

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With a very humble nod to W.B. Yeats


The heavy scent of wild garlic fills my head
pushing thoughts into cobwebbed corners.
I struggle through the bracken;
the creaking bones of this ancient hill
echoing my own crumbling frame.
Turning toward the river I can see our house;
a freshly painted lemon drop, plopped
into a salad bowl of lush green fields;
pretty blue curtains hang at the windows;
memories stitched into every seam.


Lavender, iris and delphinium
jostle for space in the little cottage garden;
a thin wisp of smoke escapes the red brick chimney.
I picture you, sat by the crackling fire;
a book in your lap yet eyes half-closed,
lost in a thought of a moment long past.


A stiff Nor-westerly whips up from nowhere
slapping silver strands against my face.
and soon, the stinging rain arrives.
Paint peels and parched yellow skin reveals
a grey undercoat;
shutters bang and clatter in the wind
as tattered drapes flap and catch
on rusty nails and splintered wood;
weeds smother flowers; their serpent-like tendrils
strangling tender beauty.


Today, there is no peace, there is no colour, there is no smoke.

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I have a wide range of colours

in my little red pencil case;
a deep smooth violet;
the colour of the velvet couch
where we made love on
lazy Sunday afternoons;
a lovely lemony yellow
an echo of the
watery morning sunlight
that streamed through the blinds
and danced along contours
of our mussed up bed;
and a deliciously moist scarlet
so reminiscent of my lipstick stain
on your coffee cup, a quick sip
stolen before leaving for work.
But the precious pastel blue
is long gone; worn away
by the years until only
a faint smudge of the smile
that played around your eyes
is left and even now
I cannot bring myself
to replace it.

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How easy it would be

to create a life
neat and orderly
when we are young
and relatively free
of possessions;


To ball our socks
and sort by colour;
hang shirts neatly
in a cupboard;
to have a tidy
knicker box
instead of
getting them in a knot.


Yet footloose free
of adult chains
chaos reigns
upon the floor;
and a mere leap
across the flotsam
will always get you
through the door.


And then typically,
when we’re older;
long in life and all it brings;
a multitude of sins
and things
we cannot live without
how we long for
tidy spaces;
perfect places
to stow our stuff;
and free from fluff
with all the closets
clean throughout
so that when
we open up the doors
the whole lot
won’t fall out.

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Mrs Reynard

An endless slice of grey

slides underneath me
as I make my way home.
Solid green walls converge
to form a canopy overhead
studded with tiny twinkling night diamonds.
A flash of fur dashes from the hedge
and for a few sweet seconds
we are frozen in perfect stillness;
two strangers marooned,
lunar cocooned,
sharing a moonlit moment on the road.
Oh how I wish it were you,
on this lonely country lane;
mesmerised by my beam of light
instead of sly old mister fox.

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Slipping into something

more comfortable


I curl up in the space
between today and tomorrow;


the feathery aroma of you
weighing heavily on my body.


I let the sadness


into the cotton covered pillow
that cushions the blow


and wait
for the blanket of darkness


to take me away
to nothing –


nothing at all.

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Cutting up Cabbages in the Kitchen

Knife in hand, I happen to glance

through the kitchen window
that overlooks my little patch of green.

As I scan the lawn, scarred by
weekend ball games and weeds,
the mud patch underneath
the now disused swing set
and the dahlias dancing in the breeze
I ponder on where I could hide the body.

Of course, the vegetable patch, perfect!
He always hated cabbages.

Lost in my thoughts, I fail to notice the cut;
those first few seconds when nothing is felt
but cold steel slicing fresh flesh.
As red
down my hand
and my knees buckle, I feel an arm under me;
another holding my wet hand above my head.

Later, bandaged and woozy, trying not to bleed
over the designer sofa, a thought occurs…

Who knew he’d be so good in a crisis?

Perhaps I’ll wait a while…..


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For Eva


Eleven years spent running my little protection racket;

sterilising surfaces, fending off childhood illnesses and fears,
dispelling myths of monsters hiding in the wardrobe and under the bed,
long summer days spent smothering you with love and sunscreen
and yet today, here I am, letting you slip into an unknown ocean.


I watch as belly to delicate belly the stingrays massage you

garnering giggles as they tickle your tummy.
Then, ever your mother’s daring daughter
your little fingers entwine in mine as we dive down
to caress a poor unsuspecting nurse shark resting on the bottom;
the triumph in your eyes unmistakeable even underwater.


As you clamber onto the diving platform;
long sun-kissed legs tangling, dangling awkwardly over the edge
I realise I don’t have very long before the real predators start circling.
I heave myself out of the water and with a heavy sigh
pad off to the locker room to fetch my spear gun.

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For Marty who turned me on to Billy Collins and for Billy for getting me back on track in the tropics

Most days heat welds words to the page
making it impossible to lift them
and savour their subtleties

exhausted from my daily game
of dodgeball with the sun;
the swaying fronds of palm trees my only friends.

But this morning, after the rain,
laying on my still damp, blue and white stripey sun lounger
with only a pretty pink bikini separating us

Billy’s words dance from the page
with the rhythm of the soft calypso music
drifting up from the beach

and as they drench my parched senses I realise
that their deliciousness is matched only
by the cool coconut milk sliding down my chin.

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