Mirror (Sonnet)

Another poem from my book, ‘Dancing in the Rain’

Bevelled edge of leafy flowers and vines
a keepsake that I hang upon my wall.
This mirror that I see before me shines;
it seems the years were minutes after all.
Sweetest face you are never far from me,
memories like a favourite food each day
and in my heart I know I’ll ever see
the way you always helped me find my way.
And now that time has passed and you are gone
I see a person looking back at me,
she’s older wiser and a little drawn
and though I know it’s me who I can see
you’re looking back and smiling at the grey
and in this glass it’s you I see each day.


One Way Ticket

We were waiting for the bus.
You should be wearing a hat,
she said,
You’ll catch your death.

I’d spotted her strolling down the
street window shopping
talking to a stranger,
timeworn gaberdine navigating
her frailty, brown fuzzy beret,
not so much Basque as
church Bring and Buy,
clutching a bag that matched nothing,
tight like a security cloth,
contents stoically protecting her past;
Stratton compact, sweet pressed nostalgia,
bright red lipstick, barely worn,
as garish as she never was,
and Yardley 4711 eau de cologne
with its little rubber stopper,
to be dabbed sparingly,  of course,
middle finger only.
Oh, and a piece of coal should she come
across someone about to take an exam.
My daughter was in the legal profession,
she told the stranger.
I was a secretary mum.
Same thing,
she said.

She told me she still had a bus ticket
somewhere from the days of
Samuel Ledgard;
now they were real buses.
Anyway, where are we going?
she asked, quizzical. I smiled.

Home, I said.

This poem is a reflection of the beginning of my mum’s long,
slow and very sad journey through dementia




One Room

One Room

It was home;
enough living space
to raise a family
and have fun,
small garden with borders,
a dog and a cat.
It was everything and more;
it was home.

Time passed;
hints to down-size
met with granite resistance
as more doors closed,
the past falling asleep and
memories filling spaces
where life used to sing.

Inevitable clinic blue
walls beckoned,
resistance all spent.
One room, carbon copy
of many more;
high seat chair on
industrial carpet,
plywood bookcase,
a bed and a bad smell.
The world had shrunk
and there was  nowhere
to call home.



She sat on a chair by the window
like a small stone Buddha,
immobilised by the bully
that spread its greedy paralysis
over one side of her frail body.

I sat at the piano, played
“Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam”,
faltering notes enough to draw
virgin miracle tears slowly
down her tired, wrinkled face.

I went away, school trip abroad;
when I came back she had gone,
swept away with enormous
brush of relief, no trace but
faint stains of ageing and
weary walking stick.

I watched the sun, pale and cool,
determined rays penetrating
the window where she would sit
day after lonely day, waiting
for her time to shine.

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