Hard Work

“My mother was wonderful.
She adored us.
We always felt special and precious.”

Such a kernel of strength
in those tiny bodies,
her love growing with them into adulthood,
safe to be soft on the outside.

At my centre an empty hollow,
easily crushed.
I wisely built
an impenetrable hard outer shell.

It took years
to dare to break it open,
bit by slow bit,
allowing my feelings to slip in and out.

And others’ too.

Till at last,
shell cast off,
my centre
is packed like theirs,
with precious hoarded love.


Less is Less


I was without.

My three brothers were with,
their boyhood displayed
in every bath-time, weeing,
dressing, undressing.

No words to suggest
to them, or me,
that I had anything


Potato Soup

I liquidise my potato and onion soup,
with a hand-held blender.

However long I do it,
somehow there are always
a few persistent pieces of potato,
lurking in my lunchtime bowl.

Like the emotional baggage of my life,
the old childhood issues I have
worked on repeatedly in therapy.

They still reappear, familiar and unwanted,
clumsily lumping my hard-won smoothness.



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