Friday, 28 November 2014

For my students

I came to teach you
but I'm the one who's learnt
I came to hide to hunker down
But it seems I've been seen through. 

Expecting nothing, finding everything, 
My heart in a classroom of souls
Your eyes have brightened all of mine
Rekindled the unknown lost.

I've shared in your smiles, the broadest I've known
You gave me your joy and laughter.  
Overwhelmed by your spirit I see my new place -
In this place, in your face; my future. 

In a world that's been grey and darkened too long
You have coloured the pages and switched the light on.
You are inked in my memory from beginning to end
A student, a teacher, a friend. 

Friday, 8 August 2014


Another, another eighth of August
Another year, another heartbreak
This heinous date, this date of dread
The day I wish had never come.

They say you’re still here, your spirit in me
They say you’d be proud, if you were here, if you could see.
But the ‘if’ is the but, the if means you’re not
If means you can’t be, don’t smile, won’t see.

If doesn’t tell me you love me and what I’ve done
It doesn’t hold my hand when I’m scared
Stroke my hair, call my phone.
If isn’t the sound of your laugh
Or the scent of Channel
If is no comfort, no relief, not today.

Because if you were here, were near, weren’t gone
This day would pass by, just…..
Another Eighth of August.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014


If it hadn't been for you,
My mum, my inspiration
I could never have dreamed this dream.

If it hadn't been for you 
My dad, my bricks and mortar,
I could never have seen this through.

If it hadn't been for you
My friend, my brave companion
I would never have had the guts.

If it hadn't been for you 
My visionary, my ear in confidence
It would never have been this good.

If it hadn't been for you
My calm, my do and thinker
I would never have managed the task. 

If it hadn't been for you
My beautiful talented colleagues 
It just would never have worked.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Day in the life

A cup of coffee and two cigarettes. 
Enjoyed one; second made me ill. 
Fingertips tickle with cold
Thoughts: subdued, nerves: dormant
Unsure which colour I feel

Can't decide what to have for lunch: 
Chicken on white or tuna on brown?
Wanting tuna on white I disappointedly settle
For half a BLT and a medium hot choc.

Nothing tastes as it should, feels like my will.
A shaky hand brings cup to lips:
Thick liquid slides down throat,
Mind follows feeling, and thinks of tuna for dinner.

A glass of wine and a cigarette. 
Can't remember the afternoon.
Can't remember the way to the pub,
Can't remember why I didn't just go home?
Mind goes blank and panic sets in.

What's forgotten? What's wrong? 
What's right but been forgotten?
Heavy swells in stomach, joined by pain in legs.

Have I eaten today? Perhaps should?
Another cigarette (only finish half);
Startled by something strange 
That rings between head and ears.

Think of a reason why not to go home,
Same as the reason why definitely I should.
Eyes stare at empty glass - undecided about another. 
Eyes stare at another glass - willing it to mouth.

Itchy fingernails: the need to fly 
Arms won't help; they're drowning slowly in quick-sand.
Visualise getting out of bed tomorrow, psych myself up. 
Wonder what i'll dream tonight, imagine that I'll sleep.
Can't hide the shakes now - only movement that I have. 
Spine creeks: Brain floods with new thoughts, 
Too loud to be heard, too quiet to be shusshed

Go home for dinner, but dinner isn't there.
Peer into cupboards, move plates and look at tins.
Where has all the colour gone? 
All I see are browns and greys.

Try and remember what I had for my lunch.
Tin of tuna hovers over and asks me how I am
'Tired' I say, and put tuna away -
Nice it asked I s'pose, weird I replied I know.

A wave of blank hits as I make for the stairs 
Something's missing, something so out of place.
The idea of tea turns heels on their head
But then no milk... so no tea, bag left in empty mug.

Suddenly clarity thaws feet: "Go to sleep, tomorrow's new"
Worry if it'll be worse, wonder if I'll know. 
Lying in clothes body anchors to the bed.
The radiator purrs aside
Remembering un-dones of the day.

Eyes look up at the ceiling, stare forever at the wall,
Bury head and force eyes shut
Ignore every external, block out the inside

One focus, one fear:
Today's yesterday, 
Tomorrow’s unknown.

Three words 

I love you like i love vanilla cheesecake
I love vanilla cheesecake but I'm not in love with it.
Its a silly series of letters anyway, the word, "love". 
Its not patient. Its not kind.
Its not romantic or sweeping or 
played out in black and white on a train station platform.

I love you like i love the smell of autumn
like the colour yellow and dark chocolate truffles in a pretty pink box.
I'm not exactly clear what this word 'love' is about.
Sounds kind of messy, and exhausting 
and hard. Then mind-numbingly painful, 
and so heartbreakingly difficult to maintain for any time. 

I love you like I love classical music
Because you both bring me peace and sense of okay-ness.
It might not make sense but thats all I can say.
You're messy and exhausting
Not romantic or even sweeping.
You're you. Just you. And me? I'm me. 

So lets not say I love you or you love me
Lets love vanilla cheese cake and yellow and the autumn.
Lets leave our feelings felt and not heard,
Existing in our hearts but never in a book.
And whenever you want to know how i feel about you,
I'll share my vanilla cheesecake and not say a word.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Haiku for Universes

I said I love you
But you couldn't say it back
Because you were gone 

Thursday, 5 June 2014

And For a Second

And for a second

I stood on the grass in bare feet tonight
I felt lighter, easier, still in myself.
Reminded of your love, my smile, our time,
As soft green and yellow stroked my tired skin.
Purple-pink flowers kissed open wounds
...and for a second, I was better.

I was standing on calmness in bare feet tonight
A place I lost when we said goodbye.
Cool air dried hot tears and stained eyes,
The blades of the earth bowed ‘neath my weight.
Bent but unbroken, still holding on
...and for a second, I was stronger.

I could float away from here in a sky that feels heavy
Float from pain in clouds filled with heartache
From worlds without sense and days still to come.

I could howl and scream and bleed tears from my veins
Unsettled but unmoving, rocked by each moment.

I could crawl through the coals, draw flesh from my eyes,
Inch mountains and rivers just to tear into heaven.

But the cool evening breezwe vows glory as day goodbyes,
The promise of beauty, somewhere, still alive.
And for a second you were there.

So I wash my hands of the tears and the heartbreak
Leave you, and it, and my brokenness aside,
To push on, and up, tilt my head to the skies
And never, for an ever, for a second forget.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

The Nightshift blues

The Nightshift blues

Four-twenty eight and one second, two
Three seconds, five, six and seven seconds gone.
Four-twenty eight and ten more seconds
Beating to the drum of the nightshift blues.
Four-twenty nine and daylight’s forgiven -
Absent from this prison lit with strips of glowing screen.

Four-thirty am with the night shift blues
As white boxed workers hum forgotten tunes.
A hiss, a click, a dust shoot over head
Silent footsteps that patter out of bed.
Pictured memories that fade into sound
Where long lost thoughts still creep around.

Four-thirty three sings the nightshift blues
The whiteboard looks on, unknown, unseen.
A glassless window to an outstretched world
Closed-hatched, held back, stuttering into life.
The dreams of the lucky ones moving to fast
Seen for the first time, the teenth time, the last

Four-thirty something and a moment is stolen
Time is making chances, ticking backwards, holding on.
Minutes wished away, watchéd hands pass tired eyes
Hours cold and wasted, taking longer till they’re gone.
Four-thirty five and nineteen second heartbeats
Beat, beat again with the nightshift blues.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Goodbye England’s rose

What words? What noise? What tears?
Will ever do her justice?
Goodbye is such a hateful sound
I can’t bring myself to make it;
It’s too ugly, too hard, too final to say
To our darling Amanda, the adventurer we’ve lost.

A precious gem, loved near and far
Through continents and counties
States and countries who know who they are.

A smile as wide as mountain ranges
That lingers in every memory
Luminous with love and hope and care
Her sparkling teeth and wilful hair.

Not easy to please, not always a dream
A woman who felt and fought.
Unsurprisingly funny, and still, surprised to be.
A true performer with and without the performance

A willing host, a seasoned chef
Head held high, straight back, arms out
The kind of love that stains your life
A hug that’s steeped in kindness.

The realist, real friend I have ever known
She brought out the best in me.
Special to her core and layered like an onion
She planted seeds in all of us and even now they grow

Her will was strength unheard of
To break your heart at closer glance
Humbled in moments of weakness
She oh so rarely shared

Her short life knew the pain of ages
Pain we couldn’t heal.
It took her love, her Phil away
So cruel and far too soon.

This grief it was a monster,
And they battled night and day
It took so much to carry on
But she won the war and found a way

Tough as old boots, to weather out the rain
She would not yield, she could not slow
Just kept on running, fighting, climbing,
High as angels, flying free.

Too British for a fairytale ending
Too American to settle for less
Gone too soon, even if it’d been a hundred years from now
But now it is, it has to be.

And I can hear you now
Helping with all your strength
Holding, soothing, listening to our hearts
Telling us to dry our eyes: get up and go
Keep trying, keep living, keep holding on

So words have been said
But I don’t want them to end
Because I know that when it’s done
They’ll be nothing more to say
Except…. ‘goodbye’

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Just don't 

Don't tell me you know how I feel
Don't tell me you understand  
Don't tell me it's going to be ok 
Because it never, ever will. 

Don't tell me that you're praying for me
Don't tell me god is real
Don't tell me she's at peace now
Because it will never, ever help. 

Don't tell me to be strong 
Don't tell me not to cry
Don't tell me time will heal this wound 
Because it never, ever will.

Don't tell me what she would have wanted
Don't pretend to know her heart 
Don't use her name to make your point 
Don't speak her name at all.

Don't talk about the future 
Don't think about the past 
Don't smile, don't laugh, don't enjoy the world
Now all of her is lost.