purely formed.

there is poetry

that wakes me before dawn,

purely formed:

trembling on my lips,

ready for flight

but I do not need to write.

instead, I turn towards your warmth

and breathe the words softly

onto your sleeping skin

and, half-waking, you reach for me.

newborn words kiss your face,

tangle in my hair.

so, the poem is.

never written,

nor quite heard,

but there.

because you, you are the poem,

here is, we are: the scent of our sheets,

the places where skin touches skin.

this is art, this is alchemy,

this is now, this is us.

and the piece

is endless,


over all

our nights:

the biggest, the

most beautiful




for R, with all my love, 6th January 2019

song for the wild.

wild roses and honeysuckle bloom;

I think of the wilderness I saw in you,

a beauty untamed, a savagery too

we were vines intertwined

and the wilderness grew.

you placed those deft hands

on my wanting skin:

found me petal soft and gossamer thin,

made to be touched, to let passion in.

I was a thousand flowers

bursting lush in the night

the bed turned to meadow

beneath the street light.

wild roses and honeysuckle bloom;

I think of the wilderness I saw in you,

a beauty untamed, a savagery too

we were vines intertwined

and the wilderness grew.

and when I kissed

the song on your lips

I felt the pull of the earth in my hips

as my world unfurled at your fingertips:

we were mountains and forests

we were pure nascent lands

my thighs your valleys,

my sky in your hands.

wild roses and honeysuckle bloom;

I think of the wilderness I saw in you,

a beauty untamed, a savagery too

we were vines intertwined

and the wilderness grew.

but everything wild

will always run free

despite all that flourished between you and me

I could no more hold you than I could hold the sea -

and I’m a force of such natures

that none can contain,

of shadows and ghosts

singing sorrow and shame.

I am still the girl

that flowered for you

though I have a wild heart I cannot subdue,

a beauty untamed, a savagery too

we were vines intertwined

and the wilderness grew.




for the dirty, the damned, the hopeless,

the helpless,

you spread your fraying soul, you showed us

every patch, every burn, every tear.

you were torn and tattered,

you were beautiful.

those threads of yours unravelling

stitching up the holes

in all our souls.


your words held us together,

pure and dark and true:


“he knew me, he knew us, he knew.”




for Scott Hutchison. 

I stayed awake all night hoping that somehow that would save you, but a little after dawn I heard that you were gone. I wrote pages and pages but in the end all I have is this . You deserve so much more. 

Thank you for accompanying me through the darkest days of my life. I always hoped I would get a chance to thank you in person. Your stitches will always be in my soul.

the mountain.


once you were in springtime

and everything was new.

your slopes cloaked in bursting green,

birdsong in the branches.

you did not know that you were a mountain

only that hope was growing everywhere,

pushing through the soil,

lighting up your lengthening days

and bringing you clear nights, full

of stars and wonder.

summer came, and you fell in love

with the drowsy bees drifting between flowers,

the sun smiling bright and long

on your peaks and valleys.

you heard them say that you were beautiful

and you believed them then,

believed that this was your forever.

summer turned to autumn;

you could not understand

why your trees were briefly cloaked

in glorious flaming colour

only to be stripped, little by little,

of every last leaf.

your skies darkened,

rain began to fall.

uncertainty consumed you:

everything you loved was leaving,

that vibrant beauty fading

to greys and browns, grass becoming mud.

you could not look at yourself,

seeing nothing but loss.

standing alone

you faced the winter:

everything froze.

those that saw you then

called you dark, brooding,

even frightening,

and your heart broke.

you believed that you were dying:

cloaked in snow, your rivers all but ice,

the sun barely lighting the horizon

before plunging you back

into a deeper dark

than you had ever known.

you did not realise that

spring would come again,

your rivers thaw, and streams

run down your face

as you finally released the sorrow

you’d held frozen in your heart.

life would return, and so would hope,

dandelions exploding in the greenest grass,

and everything once more

becoming new:

at last you learned that you are the mountain.

now you know the seasons,

they may batter you

or touch you softly

but they are not you,

and they cannot change

who you are.

through it all the mountain sits:

tall as ever, grounded in the earth itself.

whether they see you as beautiful or bitter,

welcoming or lost in fog,

the serenity held deep within your core

will always remain,

immovable, constant.

your life will be dark, and

it will fill you with colour,

whip you with harsh winds,

caress you with sunbeams.

you are still yourself:

you are still the mountain.


inspired by The Mountain Meditation, by Jon Kabat-Zin (and adapted by many others). 

“Letting it be, just as it is... an unwavering stillness in the face of all that changes in your life- over seconds, and hours, and years.”

and you, who have not yet realised  that you are a mountain. I promise you will.



a shoal of flashing minnows darting downstream,

have you ever tried to hold them in your hands?

you close your fists, but you’re just clutching water;

it’s like trying to catch the sunlight where it lands.

I’m on the bank, I’m watching shoals of minnows

and each one is a moment I could grasp.

my life swims by; I curse my clumsy fingers

and tired eyes for letting time slip past.

one day I’ll learn that I can’t hold a moment

that life is meant to flicker and to flow.

I will go gently with myself and with the minnows,

after years of hopeless fishing I will know

that sometimes I may lie pain-bound and helpless

but I don’t have to grab or grasp at anything;

there may be days that I can only watch the water,

there will be others I can dive right in and swim.



come, read my palm;

I keep my secret stories

tightly clenched in silence.

here is my heart line, crossed

with tiny razor cuts, a tally

of every time I bled

to stay dumb, to stay numb.

here is my head line, bruised

from so many attempts to shake

those memories that looped in spirals.

alcohol almost scrubbed them clean,

but only ever almost.

here is my life line, smothered

by the fingerprints of others

as they told my story back to me,

twisting words to change the meaning,

until I didn’t recognise my hand at all.

and I know that you’ve been waiting

for me to tell about this ragged hole,

just here, still bleeding...

I’d been holding a grenade

as long as I could remember;

one day it blew

straight through

my life line, my life,

to leave me sprawling

in the wreckage.

but please don’t cry,

I’m not dead yet;

this hand is here

and so am I.

look hard (if you can stomach it)

past the blood, past the damage done.

you will see a cautious thread emerging;

a new shoot, clearer now,

fewer fingerprints to mask it.

that little line carries on, on as far

as my battle-scarred palm allows.

that line is hope: that line is me.

little morning birds.


they sing of joy, of hope;

exultant in the darkness,

made brave by a blind certainty

the sun will rise again.

tiny hearts’ rapture bubbles up

to greet each new dawn;

unsurprised, delighted.

these little morning birds

are an echo of the flicker, the pulse

from your brittle twig chests

that sang from the machine

in dark hospital rooms

telling me you were not lost

(though with each of you I thought

this shell may not be enough

to keep you safe till sunrise)

now you greet each new dawn;

unsurprised, delighted.

fledglings with a fearless faith

in their mother’s love

as certain as the sun...

because of this, your faith in me,

your steadfast song of joy and hope,

I promise, my little morning birds:

I will rise and rise and rise again.


what is the smallest you have ever been? 

small as a sparrow, darting branch to branch?

matchstick-brittle bones,

heart a rapid flicker in your downy throat.


maybe you have days when you’re

tiny as a pebble, sea-smooth and shy?

lost amidst a throng, 

or rolling in the palm of some strange hand.


have you ever been a grain of sand, 

have you been ash,

so nearly nothing, lifted on the wind?

a dandelion seed or salt crystal,

or an atom: have you been too small to see?


as minute as you could think yourself to be, 

you’ve never been as small as hope

or me. 





an amber sea at my feet

and I am walking on water. 

copper surf rolls, glowing

as I splash, crunching across - 


a sudden gust pulls a whirlpool

up around my boots, and higher,

until it whips my hair. 


I think that I could disappear

beneath this autumn ocean

until I’m just the smell of woodland

and soft decay - 


then I will rise, reborn:

a little green bud phoenix,

given time. 




I am wading

through a mire of

wrongs done,

I am dreaming of boats.


my bare feet sink into the silt

of tiny decomposing lies

washed by this dirty water:

I’m remembering



when we could see down

to the bottom as the light cut

straight through

and we could

swallow as we swam

without getting dirty mouths.


I keep splashing

through the filth

towards a shore

I cannot see

and I am aching for

those sailing days

when our water

was still clean.

sea glass.

small, smooth, opaline,

I rest here amongst the

pebbles and the shells.


once a fragment of

something shattered,

I was thrown against

the shore, dragged

back into the depths

over and over and


until I thought

that was my life.


but see me here

in the shallows

sharp edges


by time

and relentless



no longer a piece

of some brittle whole: 

strong and beautiful

a new moon

born of the sea.



a clean slate they say, as though history is chalk

and can be washed away with just a little water.

I’d have lost you to the rain countless times, love.


no, we’ll not go down that easily. we fought through storms,

figurative and literal; waves over that little ship,

there you go again, saving my life.


yet now here we are, or rather here I am

and here you aren’t, and it has rained

so hard for so many days

(sometimes even from the sky)

I must have the cleanest face

but there's nothing godly

anywhere near here.

the lily and the rose.


when you

lay me down

for the last time

when my embers

all turn cold -


you put my body

in the white dress

to show my purity,

a resting angel


and saintly -


washed clean,

as though

my life had

never been:

no blood,

no bruises

no fight.



this now,

this is woman)


or you put me

in the red dress

and I will be a fantasy:

bursting curves and lips

and thighs

and hips

all made for sex -


so dirty

you could



me up.



this now,

this is woman)


no, throw

the dresses

on the pyre:

leave me 



naked as

a promise -


lie me down

in the dirt,

let my body

speak its truth:

all the damage

and the love

open to the sky.



this now,

this is and this was

and this will

only ever be






it surrounds us, now.

we got swept up, long ago:

many minds on many paths,

but once the wind hit,

once the floods came

and lightning flashed blind terror

through our veins,

the devastation,

oh the devastation

was the same.


we were beaten down

by rain, so heavy

that it dragged our bones

and stole our sun,

left us choking grey,

with no horizon.


it swallowed us,

whipped at our flesh

soaked our skin

we became elemental then:

lightning minds

thunder splitting

our crushing

leaden skies.


shaking in terror of ourselves,

bellies down to the ground,

bloody raw crying rain spitting dirt,

we crept to the storm's calm eye, to lie

spent and bruised and torn.


this is how we've managed to survive.

but surviving is not living

and we long to know a

temperate life.


the only way out

is through.

the poems that aren't.


half started

or half finished

but nothing whole

I'm fragmented

as my words

scattered over

several notebooks

in bits and

in pieces

ideas tailing off

or falling out tangled

on top of each other

tumbling onto the page.


I am all the lines unused

all the stories that go nowhere

all the poems

that aren't.


out in the damp grey evening,

melancholy clouds barely holding in their tears:

a choked back sob of a sky.


all is clay and slate and ash

in the absence of the sun;

yet, though subdued, spring is still here.

it's in the blue forget-me-nots

with their yellow star hearts

that grow wild, shouting to the sky,

reminding it of better days,

trying to tempt

a tiny smile

of sunshine

to break through.


I am the sky tonight,

so heavy with sorrow

and I am thankful that

these incorrigible wildflowers,

thriving against the odds,

are true to their name;

a thousand tiny promises

so I won't forget

that the days when I shine

blue and clear and open

will come around again.

paper boats


grasped at joy

but it








rivers run

and hope runs too

I closed my fist

it flooded through 


spilled at my feet

and drained away

I grasped at joy

it didn't stay 


these little hands

can't hold a sea

I clutched at hope

it ran from me 


love didn't float

when it was


but in

a sea

of hope



yellow is the colour of hope.


daffodils stand straight together;

sunshine trumpeters, heralding springtime,

a little mardi gras in the parks and gardens of the city.


celandines, a riot of golden stars;

a galaxy nestled on the grass verge,

sparkling bright in their universe of green.


primroses sit softly nearby;

shy petticoats sing quietly of hope,

delicate promises of kinder days ahead.


and the dandelions! they are everywhere:

mischievous firework faces bursting out

like the feeling of a smile,

pushing through the cracks

tiny but invincible,

a blaze of beauty

against concrete and tarmac.


dandelion flowers shout of love;

a little fire not easily contained,

roots running deep to keep

those small sparks ablaze, 

relighting over and over,

despite the odds.


all these tiny drops of sunshine

remind us to dream of light;

even when the sky looms dark

and hearts are distant, clouded grey.

impossible heart.


I am not possible

I'm just fantasy

though I feel like a girl

and I thought I was me.


didn't know I was false hope,

believed I really was true

but I'm just wishes and wants

when the dreaming is through -


I don't know what happens

to a girl that's not real

whose impossible heart

believes it can feel -


it's hurting so much

but how can that be,

when my heart's just a part

of impossible me?

dirty laundry


I try to kill the thing inside, to blunt its claws

with alcohol with sex with pills with blood;

try to drown drug stab break lose it in writhing ecstasy

because I long to feel something, anything

that is not teeth.


if I can send it under for a while

it stops scratching at my heart

stops opening old wounds

I am so alive, so joyous then:

I feel everything, but I don't hurt.


this is a revelation, every time;

I start to think maybe I am not beyond repair

I start to think maybe I am good enough.


and oh I am reborn, lit up with maybes,

on fire with thoughts of good enough;

but they can see me as I am, and I am good

for nothing


I am wasted useless I ricochet

off walls I start sentences and

finish others I slur I am distracted

urgent but not really here


I am threads unraveling, gaping wide

inviting anyone and all to see right through

to the years of dirty laundry underneath;

an exhibition of embarrassment

crumpled and wailing.


once again I wake to patchwork memories

as guilt needles my woolly consciousness:

tattered rags of mindless rage and sorrow 

are stained with bruises, frayed hazy at the edges.


as remorse winds tight, I start to hurt again.

I need to forget before I start to remember, before I

see what they saw stumbling and ragged;

I need to try to kill me one more time just one more