Oh you

Oh you have been the heartbeat in me.

The warm rush of blood in my veins.

The throb of my brow in the dark of the night.

The source of my heartbreak and pain.

Oh you have been the pulse under my skin,

Where heart meets mind and in battle they dwell.

The inner voice that rules my choice,

That better knows me than I know me well.

Oh you have been my greatest triumphs,

Yet the creator of my loss and despair.

The darkness cast out of my shadow,

Without bodily presence, yet you are there.

Oh you have been my everything , my all.

All I long to see and all I have seen,

My good, my bad,

My in-between.

Oh you have laid the course for me,

And all that I may strive to do,

And all that I may long to be,

Is governed by the love of you,

Oh you, the love of you.

Little Hands

They lie around my feet like so many fallen soldiers.

A days battle survived at the mercy of little hands.

Stray blocks from tumbledown towers,

Cars with their little wheels in the air,

With their little plastic chassis on display.

The remnants of a busy day.

They lie around my feet like so many fallen soldiers.

A days battle survived at the mercy of little hands.

Open pages look towards the ceiling with their knowledge on parade.

A stuffed bear hangs dangerously by one leg as if performing some wondrous trapeze.

They lay around my feet like so many fallen soldiers.

Days of battle survived at the mercy of once little hands.

I look at the abandoned battlefield and I recall the heroes who lay here.

I look at the abandoned battlefield and I recall the little hands.

Little hands don’t stay little for very long at all.

A heart for the taking

When love is new and loud

And fierce.

And devours itself in flames.

It riddles itself ,befuddles itself

Answers to many names.

Oh joy, Oh lust, Oh life it is

It is all of these and none.

A battle fought, a crusade lost.

The earth ,the moon ,the sun

All consuming , all enchanting

Soft and brave and true,

Strong and meek and sometimes weak

Is love when love is new.

Bodies and hearts and

hearts and minds.

Hands and feet

and limbs entwined.

Fused and confused,

Thrills and embraces

Fluttering stomachs,

a heartbeat that races

Is it when we are lost,

That we are once truly seen?

Amidst all that there is,

And all that has been.

Is this how we know,

There’s a love worth the making.

When give up our souls

As a heart for the taking.

Dark River , Dark River

Dark river, dark river,

What secrets you keep.

Locked in the breast ,

Of your black water deep.

Cool water Cool water,

When under my hand.

How gently you ripple,

Oh blood of the land.

Soft Current,Soft Current,

Your tickling rush,

That touches my soul,

With its sweet bashful hush.

Dark River ,Dark River,

I listen in trance,

To the lilt of your frolicking

Watery dance.

Cool water, Cool water,

I watch as you go .

To the sea to the ocean,

In stygian flow.

Soft current,soft current,

With depths black as coal,

And connected to me,

In the depths of my soul.

These little things I will remember

The Dr who we knew for years

Couldn’t look me in the eye,

Its not good news I’m afraid he said

Deep down we already knew

Still he never looked at me or your dad

These little things I will remember


The procedure went well,

The line is in ,the dr smiles

I wonder why she is smiling,

I try so hard to share her feelings

As the porter lifts your tiny sleepy body

And places you back in that cage of a hospital cot

These little things I will remember


Its Christmas time all over the world

Its Christmas time here too

All around there are sparkly decorations

People are wearing silly jumpers

The salvation army have come to play for the children

They set up right outside your little room

These little things I will remember


You look so peaceful and unaware

You still have your hair and they are little beads of sweat in it

They say your hair will fall out soon

I stare at you , at your hair

I try to imagine what you will look like without it

These little things I will remember


On Christmas eve as you cry in a treatment room

I rub your little two year old head

And as the clumps of hair come away

I look in horror at my hands

I panic , I try to put it back, but it won’t go back

These little things I will remember


On Christmas day you smile at me

A tired, weak smile but you are giving it all you have

I pick you up and look into your sunken eyes

I hold you close, so close

I feel your clammy bald little head against my chest

These little things I will remember


No Evidence of Disease,

Never have I heard a more beautiful sentence

I look at you, so tired and battle worn

But heroic and dignified and victorious

You don’t understand what you have done

I wonder if you ever will

But these little things I will remember


Clunk………Clickety, rattle ,rattle

The usually tiny noise my pencil makes

Sounds like an explosion of din from my desk

Not one word is uttered

But a hundred necks shuffle around to see

To see who has put their pencil down


They couldn’t be finished…

Maybe they’re stuck!

Poor bugger,

You can hear the tension in the collars of a hundred school shirts

Stare at the page, can I write more?

I don’t even know what I don’t know

So I touch the yellow pencil with my fingertips

Just enough pressure for one little roll, one tiny obsolete click.

In this room, this echoey space with its ridiculously high ceiling

I want to look up at it but the tilting of my head and the angles of the beams

It dizzies me , so I bring my attention back to the yellow pencil

This carrier of my thoughts and conveyer of my knowledge

Here in these sheets of paper,

Is this really where my future lies,

Is this it?

I feel the heat on my back as my pulse takes up my chest

Until all I can feel is heartbeat and heat, sickening heat

In a nervous pinch I grab that yellow pencil

I am going to give it one more shot

Surely I can do more

Lowering the graphite to the paper

I spur myself on


‘Pencils down please’

No, what, after all that?

The silence is decimated.

A hundred chairs , that’s four hundred chair legs,

Scrape and screech on the gymnasium floor

and two hundred legs stampede towards the door

I shuffle in a shell-shocked silence ,

Only following a sliver of sunlight that leads to the corridor.

The voices ask the same question over and over.

The same question I am asking myself.

How do you think you did?

Oh god, do I want to answer that , even silently to myself?

No…no I don’t

Its done now.

I went in I gave it my best and that’s it.

Now its summer,

Stuff it, its summer.

Its fine , its better than fine

How can one little yellow pencil cause so much doubt?

When doubt wasn’t an issue before.

Well its done now,

so it doesn’t matter

I am free, free from this warren of stress.

Free for one glorious amazing summer.

So why is it raining?

Who cares, its still  better than doing exams.


My Lilac Sky

I think I will keep the sky like this

If just for a little while

I love the way the colours kiss

The focus of my eyes

The world looks softer so to me

Than it was in the noon

I fear the gentle scene I see

Will leave me much to soon

The hills are just a purple ghost

Resting on the sky

Its now I love the heavens most

When  eventide is nigh

So I sit in humbled trance

As time and light drift by

Enraptured in the twilights dance

Beneath my Lilac sky.



Communion Day

Little golden crucifix swings back and forth ,back and forth,

A string of blessed pearls suspends it so.

Little blessed pearls in little soft hands,

Beneath a bowed head bent low.

Little white shoes with toes pointed down,

Brilliant against the old worn floor full of sins and repent.

And little lace hems touch the little white shoes,

On the little white frame in prayer quietly bent.


Dark hair hidden under a veil of pure white

And twisted and braided and brushed,

And peaking out wildly alongside a face,

A face that is pious and hushed.

Silence thats broken by less than a whisper.

As shuffling sounds out like a roar.

The clunking of shoes in the old wooden pews.

The hangers around by the door.

The biblical verse from the tongue of a child,

So wistful and solemn and meek.

Words full of duty and judgement and pain,

From mouths barely able to speak.

The noise erupts as the priest bows out

He has no more lessons to say.

And photocalls by the chapel walls

Are the order of the day.

Young and old are joined in faith,

Tradition and fashion compete side by side.

As all around for all to see,

The faith and the living of it collide

Year after year they repeat this.

Then over and over again,

To remind us what we are apart of,

Oh Body of Christ , now Amen.

These are the ties that bind

Whispering in the shadows,

Afraid but side by side.

In the darkest corner of the house

Where little children hide.

Loud voices in the hallways.

The shouts that pierce the mind.

The huddling in the dark of night,

These are the ties that bind.


The rumble of a stomach.

The hunger that we knew.

The pretending that we didn’t mind,

But I did and so did you.

Having little made us hungry,

But it made us strong and kind.

Wiser than we should have been,

These are the ties that bind.

Strangers in the kitchen.

Laughter in the halls.

The mix of joy and terror

That’s kept between these walls.

The outrageous noise of smashing glass ,

With cackling laughs entwined,

As we cower in our corners ,

These are the ties that bind.


Time is gone and fear and doubt

Have given way to age.

A million light years more away

From alcohol and rage.

We all moved on in different ways,

But these memories stay enshrined.

Some forgive but can’t forget.

These are the ties that bind.

The inner child still bruised and shy

Can still hide in the night.

One memory from breaking down ,

To terrified to fight.

The grown up person standing there,

Can drive it from their mind.

But the broken child is always there,

These are the ties that bind.

My heart became so heavy, I thought it would just fall out of my chest.


There is an accidental community of parents out there. We are a kind of club. None of us planned to join this club or intended to join this club. Certainly we never aspired to it. Yet here we are all the same.

Some of us brought children into the world who were just sick from the word GO. Some of us had perfectly healthy children who were attacked by illness as they tried to make their way innocently through a normal childhood.  All of us have children who have either been threatened by a serious illness are currently battling a serious illness and for some their little ones have been taken long before their time.

The friendships are immense, we joke about it.  As inappropriate as that might sound we do laugh, its easier to do once you have developed the essential gallows humour.  In the middle of the night we…

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