Power cut

Winter morning
starts out fun
two small boys
wielding torches.

But we squashed it.

Fuses flipped.
Phone calls made.
Rushing them
out the door.

When I pick you up
they said you’d been

That night
monster puppet
had something to tell me.
“I’m worried about the lights”
“What if the torches stop working?”

Sorry monster puppet.
sorry little one.
I wish i’d done
this morning

I wrote this poem after a power cut last winter. Sometimes it is hard to keep the show on the road and be the parent you want to be.


Skin stretched, stitched, sore.
Breasts tender, engorged.
Belly empty,
while organs
rearrange themselves.

Oh travel weary vessel,
victorious glorious
carrier of new life.
Precious cargo,
wrenched away, disgorged.

As fluids leak
and muscles scream,
dare I celebrate these scars?
Adorn these wobbles
with joy?

Pregnancy robbed me of reason,
birth affirmed my strength.
Body broken and beautiful.


I remember
your hand in mine
as we scrambled over
slippery Scottish rocks.
Pulling you up past
ochre seaweed and barnacles
salt wind searing cheeks.
You were so brave.
Little legs leaping
to keep up.
You won’t remember
but we took on the world
that day,
alone against
brooding sky and sea.
Now your legs are so
much longer than mine.
But somehow
you’ll always be
my little brother
hand in hand
searching for sea otters

My little brother gets married this weekend. I’m so proud of him – all he has done and the person he has become. This one is for him.

Red shoes

“Too much information”
you said
when I asked if anyone
had a tampon.
I beg to differ,
i’d say you don’t
have enough.
I haven’t told you
about lying on toilet floors
as endometriosis tears
my insides out.
I haven’t described
what it feels like
to hurtle through
waves of hormone mood swings
every month and still
keep the show on the road.
I haven’t explained
what it means to be
the one to grow a child
then push it out
through my vagina headfirst
to greet the world.
Have you seen what
my body has done,
achieved, made?

But its ok.

If you don’t want
me to ask for
a tampon
maybe i’ll just
bleed on your shoes.

The hole you left

You came
like a bolt
into my womb
and into my heart.
And then my body
and my world
fell down.

You were so loved
for that short time
that I carried you.

A paper cut-out
of a life
full of future.
As a fluttered heartbeat
and bloody pulp
gets flushed away.

My body throbs
with your loss,
achingly knowing
you are not there.

This is grief
without the memories
to anchor back to.
Only the space
where your tiny form
would have
parted the air
is gone.

I can still taste the
place you would
have been.

In my plans.

In my dreams.

In my arms.

I wrote most of this poem after having a miscarriage over 5 years ago and it’s now ready to be sent into the world. I am now at peace with our loss, and feel unbelievably blessed to have my husband and two boys. But I feel it’s important to be honest about what our unborn baby meant to me, and how it felt for the promise of that new life to be wrenched away. Miscarriage is very common, but I feel it is too rarely talked about.

Wounded hornet

I did not know I had hate in me
till you pulled it out.
Like a fish being wrenched
from the throat of a bird.

But you were sick
where was my pity?
I searched for it among the cracks
in the pavement.

But I could not find it.

I spread my wings wide
over my babies and hissed,
hating what you had
turned me into.

Sometimes there are moments that make you question the person you thought you were. Where a challenging situation hits at the glue that holds you together, and everything becomes wobbly. This is about one of those times a few years ago.

Gloriously older

should I fear
leaving young womanhood
when all around me
stand older women
glorious as trees
that have held firm
laughing through storms.
Did I see
how much of the sky
you held up for me
as I waltzed beneath
your canopy?
I see you now
all around me like
brass pots of life.
reverberating off
every dent,
pouring through
every crack.
Bathing me in warmth.
I know the path will
be glorious.
You have shown me
the way.

This poem is for the many, many women older than me who inspire me on a daily basis. This is for all of you. Thank you for your example. Your grace. Your courage. Your love. And thank you for showing me how to boss this life thing.

Standing on the bench

Three years old
and arms reached high
touching the sky
on Selsley common.

I wrote this in the summer of 2020, as we were emerging from the first lockdown. Loved ones had died and been born without us being there. But over that beautiful, hard summer, there were also quiet moments of joy. Just over a year later my boys were back on the bench, a year older but still reaching for the sky.