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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When You Are 50

When You Are 50 When you are 50, you are reborn. The same skin, the same face, the same body, but different. You are in the next half, now. You cannot waste a moment. When you are 50, you love this face, this skin you’re in. You love that quick temper, that wild laugh, those […]

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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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Want the Change

And I know I am solid and sound; To me the converging objects of the universe perpetually flow; All are written to me, and I must get what the writing means. -Walt Whitman Change is hard. It’s one of the things we struggle with the most, along with zipping up our jeans after a night […]

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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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A Writer in Ireland: Part Four

In Crossmaglen the fire burns true The patriotic flame will never die And when you hear the battle cry It will be the fighting men of Crossmaglen. -“The Fighting Men of Crossmaglen”, IRA ballad, 1970s Armagh and Crossmaglen After a wildly comfortable night in a country B & B just outside Armagh (I had it […]

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A Writer in Ireland: Part One

Born in this island, maimed by history and creed-infected, by my father taught the stubborn habit of unfettered thought I dreamed, like him, all people should be free. -John Hewitt, “The Dilemma” There was a surreal, joyful melancholy to this homecoming. As we punched through the haze above a sweltering London and soared left, easing to […]

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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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A Writers Festival Field Guide

The 2016 Auckland Writers Festival kicked off in earnest today, so I thought I’d dust off this Festival-Goer Field Guide (posted a few years ago) and re-publish it. It still holds true. I’ve made just one addition: Number Three. This is because I encountered approximately a zillion of them this afternoon as I queued for AN HOUR to […]

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