Ten Years Today

Ten years ago today, at 12.51 pm, a massive earthquake struck the Canterbury region of New Zealand. It was centred only 6.7 kilometres from the centre of the city of Christchurch, which suffered severe damage. 185 people died. Countless more were left homeless, terrified, psychologically scarred. They were now the reluctant custodians of a ruined city. […]

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My Mother has Dementia

My mother was diagnosed with dementia almost two years ago. My father found her spooning marmalade into a wine glass. That, along with her slurred words, her frustrated struggle to form coherent sentences, and her propensity to sleep most of the day were early clues. After a puzzling few months during which none of us […]

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Welcome, beautiful boy

A year ago today I was standing in front of the Mona Lisa in the Louvre museum in Paris with my daughter, speaking to my ex-partner (my daughter’s father) via FB Messenger, reassuring him and telling him to take deep breaths, to trust the doctors, and to have faith. He was about to witness the […]

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The most usual lie

I wrote this poem some years ago, but I have taken it out today and dusted it off, editing it here and there. I removed a whole verse and changed words and line structure and some punctuation. It feels more authentic now. Sometimes revisiting a piece reminds us how far we have come, and how […]

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If it’s Left, it’s Right

This poem is about finding our way as we navigate intimacy and vulnerability and new spaces in our lives. I wrote it very quickly, although it had been whispering to me for some time, in my head. Sometimes I sense when a piece needs to be written: I feel an “itch” on my mind and […]

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Mother

I take your hand as we prepare to cross the road. You sigh into the safety of me, and I grip tighter to tell you that I love you. I kiss your forehead as you sleep and as you breathe in, breathe out, your face free from pain in loose and dreamy folds I straighten […]

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The Magic Thread

My last post, A Letter to my Daughter, got me thinking about the connection between parents and their children, and how it never truly breaks, even when tested by conflict or emotional damage or grief or fear or numerous other challenges – and even when either or both parties think it has been irreparably damaged. […]

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Spring

Tomorrow is the start of spring in my part of the world. I would like to share two poems that herald the arrival of my favourite season. One is my own, and one is by the English poet Philip Larkin. Both hold sadness and hope in equal measure. Nothing is either this, or that. Even […]

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The End

I am thinking today of endings and beginnings, and how we often think we are not ready for either. We are. In the words of A.A. Milne: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you know.”   The End The end comes gently, on tiny […]

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Before You

Once upon a time (actually, ten years ago today) I screamed and swore my way through 24 hours of excruciating labour before a disturbingly cheerful surgeon sliced open my stomach at 3am and pulled out a tiny wailing creature who would prevent me from sleeping/weeing on my own/having any peace/existing as an autonomous adult for […]

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