‘You’re sure it’ll work?’

‘Trust me, it will!  I’ve seen it happen over and over again.’

‘So all you do is strap those babies on either end…’

‘And the female will then obediently yoke herself into the harness and start ploughing her furrow.  Clever, isn’t it?

‘But when she realises she’s only moving around in circles, what happens?  Doesn’t she ever try to escape?’

‘Not once.  That’s the beauty of it.  When we feel a little tremor of rebelliousness, we just grow the children a bit.  They get heavier, they start complaining, she worries about them more… and back she goes to her plodding!’

‘And what do you give her?’

Give her?  Oh, rewards, you mean? That’s the fantastic part – you don’t need any.  When the kids grow up, they just hop off, run off without any thanks. Sometimes they don’t even wave goodbye.  She still cries when they leave, no matter how much she sacrificed for them.’

The alien students nodded in wonderment at their professor.  ‘Wow – humans sure are fascinating…’

There Are Days

There are days when I am not good.

When I shake and bellow.

When every lost second snatches

a bit of my mortified flesh.

When I push and prod bewildered children

with sleep-filled lashes.


There are days when I give up

before even starting.

Before even flaring the storm

I am keening, retreating.

Lower my standards to the cellar of obscurity.

Demand nothing.

Just seethe and resent…

and seethe some more.

In quiet

in despondent

in piteous



There are days when my voice rankles,

my wit bites,

I slice and splice,

dissect and reject.

I push hard

against those I love,

those chains once chosen.


There are days when I am not good.


Not good enough.


My Sparrow Friend

As the cold persists, so does the little sparrow who pays me daily visits in my study.  Or rather, just outside my study window. When I ignore him, he moves to the other window, a Velux just above my desk.  I swear he sometimes uses the angled window as a slide, for the sheer fun of it!  He never tries any of the other windows in the house.  Just my study.  Maybe he is my daily dose of inspiration.

Each day he comes.

First meek beyond belief,

easily flustered.

Then more insistent,

tilted sideway stares,

a tentative tap on the window.

Soon his toddler curiosity

makes him stop and stare


polite yet quite determined.

Sometimes he brings friends,

my ears fill with little pecks

and slides down the Velux.

Cheeky little bird morse.

Expectant yet never disappointed.

How long before they realise

I will never open up?


This poems says it all really, about how precious writing time is, and how easily lost.

This is not writing.

This is hasty scribble

To fill the time

to fill the gaps

to spill out what cannot be contained

but must end by four o’clock.

This is not writing.

This is leaning against the breakfast bar

snatches of conversations caught mid-air

edges of moods

and scraps of notebooks

fractured words.

Bruised by time

I cannot stop and wonder.

I scribble.

Move pen, drag pen, flow pen

till the dawn of their noise.

Warming Up Poem

William Stafford wrote one poem early in the morning every day of his life.  Here is my attempt for today:

After decades of frost

Hush! Who comes now?

Pale sliver of a tongue

lacking muscle.

In watery nothingness

it glides and eludes

too soon too soon smitten.

Maybe the flutter, maybe the moan

is the churn of the volcano awakened

and vengeful.

Spurting its tongues of golden molten,

its narrow tongues

now flexed, now angled,

perverting and twisting,

born of fear

yet emerging.

Hear that rumble?

It quickens.

It can no longer be contained.

Have Words, Will Write

This is my space where I can be cosy, curl up with a book or a pen and a notebook.

This is where I can talk about the things I love most in the world: words, language, books, stories, poems, inspiration.

This is where I can experiment, fly and crash, without further comment or panic or fear.

This is where I can be myself, not a mother, not a daughter, not a wife, not a businesswoman.  And not a scribbler, but most definitely a writer.

This is me, distilled, 100% pure.