my creative heart

inktuition creative heart

my creative heart has been

beating but not seen,

patiently not known,

hoping, lying in wait

that one day, like this,

I would notice its pulse

and take heed of its sounds

listen to its beat,

see all its signs,

act on its guidance.

Create, at last,

what makes it sing.

A full-hearted swing

at life’s infinite joy.

(pic courtesy of

discovering the point of me

inktuition the point of me

I’ve been apologising for oh so long,

as I explain and cringe my choices,

that I lost the point of me.

Born, I was too much crying,

too many nappies, too much bother

to feel there was a point to me.

A child, I was told I was far too messy,

warned to be good and stay quiet.

There was no point to me.

Teenaged, I was never allowed my style,

was asked did I think I looked good in that.

I cried and searched the point to me.

Studied, I gained diplomas, degrees,

which I thought would make me whole.

Looking back, I wonder the point in that.

Grown up, and business gave me power

to manage, to lead, to create.

My star waned: what was the point of me.

A mother, a new life with other fertile ones

I thought would give me meaning.

Playground bitches destroyed the point of me.

Stressed, I feel the yawn of my heart.

Pleasing others from dawn to dusk:

who would ever make a point of that?

Broken, a life with a faded façade

and scaffolding all torn away.

I start to vision the death of me.

Darkened, I think of ways to loosen

my grip on this mortal soil.

What the **** was the point of me?

Soul-bound, I’m saved from today’s maudlin.

Tomorrow I’m not so sure.

What’s the point of staying here?

Awakening, I take a daily breath

that surprises me each morning.

The only thing that keeps me alive

is the point one day I’ll believe in.

a poem to my therapist

You’re there when I’m not there,

when I shut down, when I don’t care.

You’re there when I feel full

when I’m empty, when I’m cruel.

You were there when someone died,

when I’ve hated, when I’ve lied.

You’re there when I’m absent

You hold the space, just when I can’t

cope with what’s going on. You hold

what’s in here, from loo bowl to fool’s gold.

You’re there when nobody else is.

Thanks to you, I’m re-finding my fizz.


under my duvet, onesie-d and warm

i’m safe.

at parties with mates, patter from mouth and glass in hand

i’m safe.

in meetings that count, with lipstick and heels

i’m safe.

to show my feelings, expose an emotion

i’m unsafe.

to express on paper the novel within

i’m unsafe.

to say to the world what’s really in my heart

that’s unsafe.

Expose. Hide.

Safe. Unsafe.

Aren’t they both

two sides that chafe?

why I fear a tut and a sigh

I can sense it coming: the second I do something

that brings you displeasure.

For want of cliché, I see your face grow dark. Your mouth

becomes taut. I feel the pressure

in my tight little tummy.

I cast around quick for what I’ve done wrong.

Was it my socks that were too separate?

Bedroom too scruffy? Homework left undone?

Or was it my breathing that annoyed you so.

You couldn’t bear noise

when you had one of your heads.

The tiptoeing I did gave me fabulous pointes,

to the stage I could walk without leaving a sound.

But what stretched the bow

to the arrow of your aim

was your tut and your sigh

like the end of world was nigh

just cos I’d pulled out my ribbon

or opened the curtains wrong.

Your rage would instantly shut out

any view that would challenge your own.

You felt the right and the need to shout

at those who needed you most.

A sigh could be on its own

but a tut would precede 7, 8, 9

and then 10. The scariest number of all,

said in the slowest of ways

as a countdown to lash out and hit

if I didn’t shape up, pipe down and sit.

And so to hear your sigh, years after the first

when I haven’t done exactly

as your vision dictates,

a terror strikes the heart of me,

takes my thighs

as my confidence vibrates.

I have no memory of what it was like

but I sense it in faces who see me with spite.

I hear it in their tut

I shudder with their sigh.

I hope this memory is a healing goodbye.

the joy of helping

it used to be all about me

now it’s kind of all about them

because when I help all of them out there

I learn things about me in here

and in seeing things about me

I grow and understand more

which helps me understand them

and isn’t that life’s adventure…?

A poem: who owns my shadow?

While you’re that shadow under the tree

out there,

you own me.

While you’re the road rage in that car

over there,

you own me.

While you’re that person who snubbed me

back then,

you own me.

While you’re that mess in my cupboard


you own me.

While you’re that bilious resentment

in my heart,

you own me.

While I blame everyone else

for my own faults

you own me.

But take back all that stuff

and make it my own?

Stop the blame.

Retract the same-old-same?

Well, maybe day-by-day

I will start

to own myself.

A poem to the mother who battered me

As you swing your hand against my chin

my babyish bones rattle within;

your palm so swift, so hard, so grim,

against my freckly, guiltless skin.


I bow my neck, cover my head

with foetal fingers that seek to protect

my sacred centre, locked from view.

But a curled-up child is always your cue

to parade your power, your strength, your hue

that bitterly, darkly claims its due.


Inside my head is light and free –

that’s the place you can’t reach me.


So, as thunder rams upon my skull,

and in your righteous fury I sense no lull,

I retreat to a place that’s barriered and safe

against which all love will lean and chafe.


I first published this poem as part of my MA Creative Writing project: Inktuition – Healing Through the Written Word. It feels appropriate to re-publish it for NaPrWriMo’s Day 12 prompt on saying things I’d like to say, but will never be able to say, to my mother. She is terminally ill with Pick’s Disease, an aggressive and early form of dementia.


Why some kinds of grief never die

My father died 14 years ago this evening: 10 minutes to 10pm on Thursday 11 March 1999. I don’t think there’s been a day gone by when I haven’t thought about him.

It’s worse in the early days, of course, when the thought flashes across my mind that I want to make that phone call to him to joke about something funny I’ve read in the paper or heard on the radio. And then I realise with searing pain to my heart that I can’t. Because he’s gone. Fourteen years down the line, the urge to speak to him is the same, and the pain of loss around his anniversary is almost as keen as when he first passed away.

I remember three months after he died, a so-called ‘friend’ said I should be over it by now. Be over what, exactly? The tears, the numbness, the inability to accept that such a mighty man had been snuffed from my life?

After the shock and all the fuss of the funeral and the sympathy cards, people’s interest wanes. Their life gets back to normal. But for a bereaved daughter there is no getting back to normal. There’s only the day-to-day getting through, and the renegotiating a life whose volume has been dialled down several notches. Whose colour is a few shades faded. Whose fabric of hope has been ripped to shreds.

So I don’t believe in ‘getting over’ grief. Yes, there are ‘stages’ of grief to be ‘worked through’ and the loss to come to terms with. Eventually. But I defy anyone who’s lost someone darling and dear to them to say that one day they’re completely ‘over it’.

Grief will always have a grip on my heart. But perhaps by remembering my sadness, by honouring my grief, I am keeping alive my father’s spirit within me.