Thursday, 29 January 2015

I Love You

"I love you"
Has been written in the glass
Of my mirror -
Invisible gift from small fingers
Rebirthed in the steam
Of a later bath.

When she made her signpost
I don't know,
But it warms me
With blessing
Of maternal bliss.

A call heard, so I desend.
On the stairs,
The weekend child has come home,
Running up to midway meet mother
Poised between birth
And maturation:
10 years tall
Hair, legs
That perfect face -
Towards a woman
Leans now, beautiful.

"Mummy, I missed you!"
Arms wrap, head still
She bunts in against
My once feeding breasts.
How my swinging heart
Toe touches a sky
Only we can share.

Ah, my girl!
How I shall miss
This small you,
When your first decade
Can no longer shimmer
This morning blessing
To your mother
In the steam.

22nd September 2014


An inch away from implosion
An unplanned solar flare went off,
And I watched my arm
Vault a plate of muffin
From a car window,
Bread bathing vehicle interior,
Finding anger quickly superior,
My ribs no longer caged control.

I didn't shout, but see -
This is a burn out:
Full of hurt, anger and a knife twist -
So tired, I forgot again how to sleep
With massed commitments I could not keep.

Beyond today I will hold no one
Save the child I was this morning,
And the girl I freaked,
Who sat in horror in the other seat.

Shame now, as well as stress
Erodes resource.
I sigh, for it is not yet safe to cry.

But maybe, another time
She will try the fucking muffin
I hubbardly harrid prepared
To sustain us both
When I so politely ask.

22nd October 2014

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Sudden Endings

Sudden Endings

The flattest is not pancake thin.
That is nothing.
It is when the whole sky is anvil
And living under it renders onion-cell small
Your thickness, your strength
Or your head held tall.

Indeed, the stars twinkle out
The snuff movie that is
Each effortfull breath.
"I hurt", I notice. "I hurt", 
And my flapping landfish heart 
As pathetic, as lost, as
One sea in space.

But I am not dust, or molecule yet.
The anvil falls again on coyote.
Maybe with unerring ability
I will rubber balloon sound suck
My squashed dear spirit
Back into place. 

Friday, 13 December 2013



I was parking the car in the garage
When you tapped at the window,
Making me skin-jump-heart-pop fast
At the handbrake. Surprise coming
Before that washing of hands, gum
And deodorant had hid my dog-end frame
To made me feel your good girl again.

With measures of love in your eyes,
And disappointment and truth 
You said: "Give it up now Hannage,
Before it really gets too hard to stop,
While you have a choice."
You walked away, your truth entrusted
To the student daughter:
She had been busted.
Guilt and shame before that shrug
Denial: "But I am no addict,
So what harm Dad, in one more packet?"

Brief years on, I didn't even bother
Climbing out of the window at midnight
For my moonlit puff. 
Didn't bother hiding the packets
Or the lighters from you. Gradually,
Even your purchase from Jersey trips
Was tobacco tips from Duty Free.
My "Things" joined your pipe -
Sanctioned tools for us thinking types.

I have stopped now. Several attempts first and misery,
Always reminding me of you by the car,
Cautioning me of the difficulty and the pain.
I wished many times I had heeded,
Took on trust this truth: that seeded addiction
Grows fast and steely in our breasts
And that we can't act easy after early arrest.

And I wonder. Was there a time, father
A glass, or a bottle you poured,
Where I could have skin jumped you,
Stopped you in your tracks,
And said: "Give up now Dad, before it controls you"?
Did I foresee this future: the blackouts, the nerve damage,
The sweet bully guarding all life to ensure the next 
Sauvignon delivery to your bloated liver?
And do I have to watch this? 
Really, tell me. Do I have to watch?
I let my mind go back through time,
And grief makes a scream, a claw for a window,
That magic handbrake
That might time travel
To a different outcome.
You are busted. 
Too late busted.
And you don't care.

Monday, 6 May 2013

May Day Poetry

May Day Project - A poem a day throughout the month of May.

For those of you who do follow this blog, I thought I would let you know that I have been writing another blog - which is really an extension of this one. Every day this month, I am going to be writing and uploading a poem. I am also making audio recordings of these poems wherever possible, although some days I imagine I might have to do this a little later on.

You can find the poems here:

and you can find my Soundcloud page here:

I am attempting this for quite a few reasons, the main one being to keep AWM (Wes Martin) company as he completes a project this month to produce a painting a day. His paintings are available for auction and his blog can be found here:

His confidence in my poetry and his desire to see me write more have tipped the edge for me. Rather than just write when I can't hold a poem in, I am getting used to the discipline of finding a subject and writing, even when I don't feel like it. It is HARD work, I am finding! But immensely rewarding. Hopefully, I will also start to get better at it as the month passes. Certainly, I will have 31 poems to remember this month by.

Any comments or gentle observations would be appreciated. Thank you.


Sunday, 7 April 2013

The School Trip

The School Trip

The tears that loomed
All day, have finally spilled.

And over a lost page -
A checklist of what she will need
As she goes away.
Who is more anxious at separation? 
I am the one sitting up after midnight
Checking labels on luggage
And praying over folded clothes
That she will be OK.
Slipping notes into the washbag,
Pondering which shoes
To squeeze into the bag.

The trigger for the spill
Something quite different though:
The fear of another looming separation
Possibly to be made in defence of the vulnerable.
That part in me, that part in her.
The realisation that this life
Just gets more and more complicated.
And the tangle of relationship
Can pull you up mountains
And rip you from trees.
That loving another
Can bring you back down to your knees
To that bleakest place -
Of feeling 8 years old
And just wanting to find home again.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Self-Appointed Aloneness

I am in a state of familiar agitation. It is a place I have visited frequently, I suspect since adolescence. I can hear how Dad used to say to me accusingly and with a sigh: “Hannah, you have got it on you.” 
I am not sure what “IT” was for him, but here it is again this evening, and it is on – and all over me.
My daughter gets back from a holiday in France tomorrow. She has been away with her Dad for 8 days and by all accounts has had a lovely time. But we both knew we would miss each other terribly. At the moment, we are both wearing a stone heart around our necks. Before she went, we sat together on the sofa and folded our hands around each other’s necklace and pushed as much love into these hearts as we could – enough to last the wearer 8 days of missing. We talked about how we would hold the hearts to get some “Mummy Love” or “Daughter Love” out of them if we needed a top up.

I know she will be in my arms tomorrow and I am really looking forward to that. It is funny though, whilst I have the strong feeling of homesickness I first knew as a young child, it isn’t an Eleanor missing that I have this evening. First and foremost, I am missing the things I haven’t done this week. I am missing the unspent opportunity to have tried painting again. I am missing the time I could have spent sorting out all Eleanor’s toys. I haven’t touched my wilderness of a garden and I am also feeling bad about the tax return spreadsheet I should have done (but who could actually miss that opportunity?). I am certainly frustrated because I just don’t know if the song I have been working on is finished or not.

Laying all this aside, I know this agitation goes deeper than that. This week was known in advance to be a lengthy stretch on my own. I knew that I could arrange lots of social events to go to: meetings with friends, even perhaps an “on the town” evening in Bristol. I knew my parent’s would have welcomed me at the homestead, my sister in her home 20 minutes away. I could have worked. But I was aware that a gauntlet had been thrown down for me to learn something very important this week. Something I have been afraid of.

I wrote a poem in 2010 that described what it is I am perhaps most afraid of. It was written on a long weekend spent alone in the house, after several weeks following a DIY obsession that had seemed to take hold of me. When something is shifting for me on a deeper psychological level, I seem to move furniture around and need obsessively to make my home more cosy, to display books, oddments and instruments in the most favourable light. I become fixated on bringing these objects into some sort of artistic “relief” to salve this sense in me. For some reason (which even my therapeutic training hasn’t helped me figure out yet) I tend to dream of wounded hedgehogs that get literally under my skin somehow. Perhaps the less interpretation of that I offer, the better!  Anyway, this was the poem I wrote that describes this feeling:

I have cleaned all the rooms of my house.
I have painted the grimy sills, moved books,
Moved furniture, planned my House of Belonging.

Each elimination of grime, each bleach-led act of purification
A misguided attempt at rubbing-out insecurity,
A defence against my self-appointed Aloneness.

My mind is trapped in a deep net of future purchases.
Projections of how things will look, how much better I will feel
When the floor is of wood panels, nailed forever, laying side-by-side.

My shrinking self knows the sabotage it is creating. It knows,
Painfully and with a palliative dose of fear,
It is most scared of the lost “US”.

That US the best effective defence against the world.
An US finally shrugged off as unneeded protection. The coat it felt too hot to wear.

I am scared of the space, but defiant in the face of it. Surely I can master this?
Surely I can find my anchor in the garden somewhere? Or in a new fireplace?

But I jump at a thought at the skirting boards, my paintbrush in Hand:

“Hannah THIS IS IT. This is how it will be.”

I could be gagged or tell my stories to a pristine room.
I could grow old alone and not have my “sigh” interpreted as an acceptance of another cup of tea.

I could live in an immaculate, hard-won House of Belonging of one occupant.
She a lost woman, rattling round, duster in hand,
Quoting poetry than no-one will chance to hear. my pacing agitated state this evening, I re-read the poem to see what might be different in it 2 years on. It was an interesting experience. What I realise at the end of this week’s term of self-appointed aloneness is both hopeful and weighed with grief. I AM still scared in the space, still defiant in it. I still miss the lost “US”, the protection of a full-time and good relationship that has grown over many years: that feeling of being at home with another person, who shares all the parts of your life. I am still deeply worried that I will grow old and not have someone to make tea for, with, or to accept from on a full-time basis.

But I haven’t looked in the garden to find my anchor. I haven’t painted my windowsills or scoured the skirting boards. There have been no bleach led acts of purification (unless you count cleaning the sink, which just needed it for sanitary purposes more than anything). I haven’t moved furniture around. This strikes me as deeply hopeful and a sign of growth.

Instead I have read a few books, watched some films, seen three friends, done a moderate amount of housework, slept in late, written two songs and recorded a bit, written my diary once.. and I have just taken it easy. Blimey. More impressively, I have allowed myself time to sit with my fear and the accumulated grief of the past few years. I have accepted that grief is part of life and even allowed myself to sob a few times. More than ever, I have made better friends with the solicitous “Other Hannah” whose shadow I can sometimes find leaning against the wall, looking at me quizzically when everything else is silent for once. She is the wise one who has walked next to me every day and has never felt abandoned. Core Hannah.

This week, I have practiced finding that rather than “this is it”...”this” might just “be fine for now”...or “this is how it is, and that is ok Hannah, because this is YOURS”. Victory comes in the strangest of forms, but I am proud of myself. Agitated still, but proud. I also know that one day, I will relish every minute of time to myself.

I have still dreamed of hedgehogs and their prickles under my skin though, but you can’t have everything.