I agree

We sat at the wedding of a friend
and as the speeches drew to an end
I could tell, I could see, that you wanted a feed;
and after you latched on to my breast
a lady, walking by in a beautiful dress,
she stopped and smiled
and said, as you fed,
in a language that was not her own
that you lying there, feeding from me,
it was the most beautiful sight that she could see.

I agree.


Toys for boys

My infant boy, he is a child
with a heart that is eager and a mind that is wild,
and free to imagine, to believe, to dream
free from limitations and boundaries.
He has not yet seen
the way that society attempts to confine
his eager heart and beautiful mind.

As he grows and explores the world around,
the feelings, the sights, the tastes and sounds,
I want to nurture the way that he learns
and turn his burning curiosity
into a fire, allow him to play in the muck and the mire,
and allow him to play with baby dolls,
with cups and saucers, monsters and trolls.

I will protect him from the people who say
that “these are the toys with which boys play.”
There are no boys toys or toys for girls,
he will not be told to jump and stomp
but discouraged from a prance, a dance or a twirl.
If he wishes to dance, to sing, to wear a dress
then I will help him to find the one that he likes best.

You will not take my son’s mind and box it in,
or ever make him ashamed of just being him.
I will not let you categorise my child,
under ‘B for boy’, with guns as toys,
chastised for being too mild,
or told he is weak for shedding tears,
for having the courage to share his fears.

I will never allow you to make him believe
that his gender sits atop the list
of attributes that make him him;
destroying the curiosity that lies within.

I will never allow you to box my child,
and your attempts leave my temper running wild.

Twilight meet

When I have given you your milk
you then give me that smile
that tells me that you’ll be satisfied for a while.
You don’t know that you’re doing it
behind fast-asleep eyes,
but I cherish it, and trace it, and I hold you tight
just a little while longer before I gently lower,
before I carefully place you on your back
and creep from your room:
I must sleep in between each snack.

Your feedings are already fewer,
you’re needing me less and less.
But when you sleep, pressed into my chest
and I hold you for just a minute or two longer
I stare at that smile and I wonder:
How will I feel when we are done?

When I no longer have to wake in the night,
pick you up and hold you tight and, weary, often dreary,
let you latch upon my breast,
and feel you instantly soothe, quickly calm,
holding my top with your tiny, clammy palm.

I say that I won’t miss getting up in the night,
but I think that is a lie.
I wont miss being so tired that I don’t know how to function,
or the sting of the morning air as it enters my dry eyes,
as from the haven of the duvet I am prized
by your sweet call for me.

But I will miss those moments that no one else sees,
I will miss the hours that belong to you and me –

and to every mother of a babe, near and far,
who sits awake in the twilight hours in tight embrace,
breasts fulfilling their ultimate function,
for filling a tiny tummy that’s rumbling –

when filled with love, I trace the satisfied smile
that spreads across your face.

This Boy of Mine

There’s yoghurt on my trousers.
There’s carrot stuck in my hair.
There’s spit up on my t-shirt
but I really just don’t care.

There are toys upon the table
and some more across the floor.
It’s unlikely there will be dinner ready
when my husband comes through the door.

My bank balance has taken a drop,
My hair could really do with a chop.
I need to pick up all of the things
that I forgot to get at the shop.

I haven’t been for a night out
in such a long, long time.
Don’t get me started on how drunk I get
on half a glass of wine.

But I do know that there was room on the broom for the cat,
and that the witch with the plait dropped her very tall hat.
I know about stick man and his home in the family tree,
And what the snail and the whale did out at sea.

I can tell you what makes my baby laugh,
and what to do when he cries.
I can tell you how he smacks his lips
and the exact colour of his eyes.

I can tell you how his giggle sounds
and how each hair falls upon his head.
I can explain the way his breathing sounds
as he sleeps the nights beside my bed.

I can tell you how I no longer care
about the bags beneath my eyes.
I don’t really care about my wobbly tummy
or my even wobblier thighs.

Sure it would be good to look
the way I used to do.
Sure it would be good to get out
and complete a run or two.

Sure it would be good to shower
and be able to close the door.
And sure it would be good to have
a sparkling kitchen floor.

But nothing will ever be as good
as the here, the now, the present.
He won’t stay a baby for very long
and that thought is quite unpleasant.

Not as unpleasant as it would be
to reach the age of ninety-three,
look back and say I did not see
the things my baby did for me;
Too busy looking at my hair,
too busy with my chores to care
that my baby boy was growing up
whilst I stood and re-washed every cup.

So though I sometimes look a mess,
and my house might not always look its best,
I know the way my baby smiles,
and that’s all that matters for the while.

There will be time, when he has grown,
to return to the figure that I once had known,
and to return to the way that I spent my time
Before I knew this boy of mine.

But for now, I know the way that my baby smiles
And that is all that matters for the while.

(January 2018)
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When you incite hatred
and you incite fear;
When you draw your strength
from women’s tears;

When you smear your rivals
and create a divide;
When you mock the faith
of servicemen who died;

When you encourage supporters
to draw out their guns;
When you ridicule the handicapped,
just for fun;

When you build racial tension
like a million dollar tower;
When you grab women by the crotch
to assert your power;

When you lie to the working class
whilst dining off golden plates,
you may just well be qualified
to be President of the United States.

(November 2016)


They say that when one door closes another opens.
What happens then, when we run out of doors?
When we reach the end of the tunnel and all light fades away?

This is now our time to sleep,
now our bodies grow weary of living.
This is now our time to dream,
now our heart grows tired of giving.

Dream of the faces that we have known.
Dream of the friends who we have loved.
Dream of the kindness that they have shown
whilst wracked with fear that we must go.

When we have last closed our eyes to sleep,
when we have stepped through that final door,
If only we could tell those we have left behind,
“Do not worry, we are at peace.
We are not suffering anymore.”

(June 2014)

Pray for Pakistan

One little girl, who is fair of skin,
is stolen away from her kin,
and God forbid news comes she dies,
well the whole world stands as one and cries.

Two young girls with darker hair
are stolen in the night – it’s quite a scare!
Found days later, no clothes, no shoes,
it is fairly likely to make national news.

In a foreign country the sirens start:
Seventy human beings are torn apart,
and all we say is “it’s such a shame.”
One day of coverage points the finger of blame.

We are blaming people for the pain they feel.
Blaming them as we begin to kneel
to pray for Germany, for Orlando, for France,
but Pakistan doesn’t get a second glance.

We distance ourselves by the colour of our skin
Or, just as bad, by the God we believe in.
We are allowing a world that promotes segregation,
a media promoting a white, Christian nation.

Islam is not a religion the world should fear
and the Muslim community must shed a tear
every time they are demonised for the acts of a few
who are no more Muslim than Hitler was a Jew.

We should have equal love for those in need,
no matter their race, their colour, their creed;
If you say you have love for the followers of Islam
then get back on your knees and pray for Pakistan.