A new memory for Mothers’ Day

You are alive still –

just the other day –

a new memory.

Coming home,

hand in hand

with my son

to your door.

The crazy paving

lay beneath our feet

as we stepped onto

the marble topped

granite steps.

Waiting at the caravan door,

with delightful anticipation,

we hear your quickening steps

and there you are:

Bursting with excitement,

blooming with emotion

to have and hold your

daughter and grandson.

Dad is behind you

reserved with pride and pleasure.

Your embrace is the warmest:

offering comfort that can

be found nowhere else.

We chat, play, laugh,

eat, walk, cry, and share

until evening comes.

Tashi settles in his cot,

And I’m in my old bed.

The chill damp air is familiar

and strangely reassuring.

Dad wipes the condensation

from the windows then retires.

When Tashi wakes for an early feed,

you come and join us, taking joy

in watching my love for him.

I might be a mother now, but

you are mine still and you pop

to the stove to warm me some milk.

We return to sleep and when I awake

I’m heartened to have this new memory,

crafted from my childhood impressions,

bringing you back to life with me


(For my mother Sylvia Kempton)

Crazy paving

Caravan confinement,

crazy paving wobble –

16 months it took

for me to finally toddle.

Crazed imagination

still touches texture –

paving my way

back home in history.

Granite memory

reawakens senses –

my finger traces

once existing edges.

Cobbled expectancy,

as if it could exist –

Stone cold reality

of everything I miss.

Milk tears


[photo found @ Pinterest

My body cries

milk tears

willing satiation.

In poverty

my body gives a

pauper’s feast:

lacking quantity,

lacking flow,

I lack his latch.

Bottle beckons –

inanimate competitor.

Gradual coaxing then

mother and son meet.

My body cries

milk tears –

joy of early

morning feeding.

It’s been a long time since I posted a new poem, but I’ve been busy with the results of another (pro)creative project! This is an early reflection on dealing with a newborn (who is now 3 months old).

Existential Origami is now on VerseWrights


My posting has been quiet of late due to other aspects of my life crowding out my time, but I have scribbled a few lines from time to time in my notebook, so at some point new poems will appear here. In the meantime, take a trip over to VerseWrights where my poem “Existential Origami” has just been published. (Here’s the link to more of my poetry on VerseWrights).

An academic dada

Over the last couple of months I have been busily engaged in writing a journal article on physiological effects of meditation. Given the need to write with scientific precision, my poetry brain has been neglected. Having finished the article, I’ve seized the opportunity to try out a Dada poem by selecting a random line for each page of the article, then weaving those lines into the following poem:

Nonbeing, no world, no existence –

continually grasp at our sense of self, as if we were permanent and non-changing.

Teaching “emptiness to the untrained” being a violation of the Mahayana,

providing negative descriptions of meditation experience.

Relaxation response:

potential to harness the placebo effect.

Operational definition – spiritual transformation,

similar considerations of spiritual and contextual practice.

Yoga techniques prepare themselves,

meditators, the more experienced group showed less activation,

telemore maintenance, reduced expression of genes,

yielding improved performance on visual and spatial working memory tasks.

Seize opportunities that offer the potential to increase our understanding.

And if that was hard going, try reading Nanni Balestrini’s novel “Tristano”, where each copy is randomly varied. My copy is #11652, and while it was an interesting experience, I can’t say it was a particularly enjoyable read.

She descends in sunshine


She sits in sunshine
– not in her private room.

Communal lounge an open space,
fresh air filtering aging staleness,
curtains straining light, a translucent
membrane partitioning her internal
present from her external past.

She’s self-aware. She knows
she won’t remember my name.
She knows that facts are missing,
memories are slipping. She knows
she misses her sons, but how many
she can’t recall.

Her fingers fidget, nails immaculate,
shaped in soft rose enamel,
her daughter’s act of tenderness.
But she would never ask
her children to come.

We talk as others bleat:
baa-baa-baa single syllable
repeats – an adult child returned
to the babbling phase.
The sound fades as staff stall
his daily escape attempt.

We look on, as she looks on
this descent of man,
knowing her own trajectory,
mind falling in slow motion.

We talk of weather, the darkness and
continual rain. She doesn’t believe
in letting it get her down – we must
make our own sunbeams.

So here she sits in sunshine
– not in her private room.

A poem inspired by a lady in a dementia wing where I volunteer as a visitor for Age Concern. (Photo credit: Sunday Times)