Ad Infinitum

She cannot bear to think the light of life
extinguishes and disappears from view,
so lives her days in self-inflicted strife;
it seems that grief is here before it’s due.
Ad Infinitum, like addiction, steals
contented mind, creates a restless wave,
and layers of herself are cruelly peeled
while every road and path is darkly paved.
Yet how would joy exist if sorrow died?
Would laughter heal the pain of tears once shed?
How would rippling waves bring peace of mind
if raging seas were suddenly struck dead?
She must surrender, let the earth revolve,
Each moment lived, another fear dissolved



Laid bare upon the grass
this tiny thing,
already viewed as prey
though not yet equipped
for fight or flight,
too much demanded to soon
of a newly formed heart
still rehearsing its beat.

I form a cradle,
makeshift nest
in the palm of my hand
where it sits motionless,
stunned by an overwhelming
iceberg of fear.
How can anything this small
be so complete?
I feel privileged for the
closeness of the moment,
this timeless piece of time,
caress the silky back of
miniscule speckles,
underbelly a mass of fluffy down,
frantic pulse of new life
determined not to quit.
A powerful silence
as we both wait;
I could burst with love.

Minutes pass;
fear finally abates,
a cue to unfold my hand.
A nearby buddleia bush
sways in the evening breeze,
protective arms open wide,
a bivouac of branches
for a small handful of life
waiting to soar.
The world is a big place.

Smiling at Death

Your whole life was wrapped around you
on that day,
propped up on a pillowy white cloud,
a few extra ones, cool, crisp
arranged in a special way,
a privilege for the dying.

How could your tiny fragile frame
have carried so much,
braved storms at sea,
ministered prayers from pulpit.
The swimming lessons you gave me;
you had the patience of Job.
And the turnip faces you carved
for Halloween, they were perfect;
(you would have cringed at pumpkins.)
But then you could do everything in my eyes;
you knew everything too.
I remember you trying to
show me how to use a slide rule;
I still haven’t a clue.

And there,
on a warm day, early May
in a special bed for the dying,
lay all of that,
your whole life in a cradle of time,
and it weighed next to nothing –

except for your smile.
Your smile was stronger than ever,
big enough to carry us all
as it led you, without doubt,
to a place you had always believed in
and where you were sure
we would meet again.

I remember you turned your head toward me.
Is my grandma here yet, you asked
in whispered voice.
Now it was my turn to smile.
I looked into your bright but fading eyes.
Yes dad, I said, I think she is.
And you slipped away,
smiling at death

Fall(ing) Leaves


Tinged with weariness of defeat,
they cling to a life that’s done
and wait.
Scudding clouds pass,
swift with purpose.

They fall,
and as their melancholy
greets the earth, rest.
They, too, still have purpose.

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




While Life Goes On All Around Me

It’s seven thirty, they’ve started early,
churn political expertise around in a rusty
cement mixer till it is smooth, creamy
and set into a new south faced existence.

Weary face in a timeworn van pulls up,
pours calcium into brittle bones of
daily life, his own rattled by plastic
progress; business is dead.

Lone jogger pads daily ritual to
crescendo, as a brisk breeze edges
its sharpness through the open window.

And here comes Boy Racer, dead on cue;
screeches to a tedious halt,
picks up his friend in the white shirt
with no tie.
They say he’s the clever one, Boy Racer,
can park his car on a postage stamp,

which makes me think about my life and
how, it seems, most of it fits onto a
stamp these days,
a small, watery blue one, second class,
lost in the post.

Through The Wood

This is a re-post from last year
when I had just arrived on WordPress.
Today is the 8th anniversary of my dad’s death.
I think he would have liked my poems

Through The Wood

I could see through the wood and brass,
his body cold, lifeless.
Seafaring man fighting for country,
raising three children,
ministering prayers.

I search persistently for lost life,
its fullness, its vibrancy.
Maybe it’s in the strange flower
I found in the garden,
the one I know I didn’t plant,
or in the poem that writes itself
seamlessly, despite me.

Life not extinguished – transposed.

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