I remember you warning me about candles.

It was Christmas,

(well just before)

and I’d used a cardboard trophy box

to make my own advent calendar.

The sort with a candle for the Sundays

and two more for Christmas Eve and the event itself.

I think Joanna had made one too

and we brought them to show you and Granny,

proud of ourselves for putting them together.


You let us light them.

But probably only because everyone was stood there

and if something went wrong there were grownups

ready to leap in and save the day.


I learnt about France after you were gone.

Twenty-one with two friends and bikes

roaring across the country by yourselves.

Gran found the picture,

asked for it to be framed.


Seeing you young is strange.

It reminds me that my Grandfather

was not my father’s father

or the man my gran married,

he was someone else.

Someone who I never saw because I was born too late

and the sickness had set in

and children that age

don’t ask the questions

that you think about after someone’s gone.

I’ve been on a poetry binge for the last few days and last night I started think about how most of my family poems are written about my mother and her side. So this is me righting the balance somewhat and drafting up a piece for my Grandfather from my father’s side.


Conrad taught us to distrust our own minds. Caught up in the spin of some imaginary turmoil; he forgot that the rest of us were placed within his reach, waiting for some reassurance that this was not how it ended. Confirmation was never his strong point. Convinced we were the enemy, it became locked doors and unanswered phone calls. Coleen visited once a week only to find the casseroles she baked still cling-filmed at the back of the refrigerator. Considering it was twenty years before the funeral summons; I didn’t expect to cry when we carried him into the church.


(Prompt: Each line must begin with ‘C’)

‘I Met A Man Who Wasn’t There’ – Hughes Mearns

I thought it was them,

despite all the difference

that showed quite clearly:

you were in no way the one

that I was remembering.


This is a combination of two prompts, the first being the official napowrimo prompt to write a ‘tanka’ and another prompt which was to write a poem that starts with seeing some who resembles someone else who is dead.


“Tomorrow morning, that footstool goes!”
And I’m left to listen to my own voice’s echo,
As it bounced back off half-painted walls
And round corners without the skirting-

Next weekend’s promise still etched in pencil.
But faded past the point of a stranger’s notice,
And even your mother has stopped commenting,
On the second landing’s crooked light fixing.

I must have asked you a hundred times before,
To throw out that footstool in the hallway.
Bought at some junk shop, three streets away,
And just awkward enough, so that I stub my toe,
Every single time I walk through the dam door!

The same door you painted pink to annoy John,
Next door’s tenant with a grey tweed suit,
And a hate for anything even mildly creative!
God he hated you! With a passion unmatched.

At least he did-

Last week he said how he’d admired you.
He said that you artwork was unparalleled!
You would have snorted in his face,
And asked him “what else you would expect?
You were a genius with a paintbrush after all!”
I just nodded and smiled.
You always said I was too polite to others.

That footstool you put in the hallway…
I try, but I can never throw it out.
Unlike the ashes, those I-

Your mother has them. Above her mantle piece.
She wanted a way to keep you close,
One that would match her interior design.
And I wanted that horrible urn out of the house.

You exist more in a footstool than an urn.
Though your mother wouldn’t agree on my thought.
She never did appreciate your…
I think she referred to it as ‘taste’-
Though some of those conversations are lost.

Like I said, she’s stopped about the light fitting,
I’m hoping she’ll leave the skirting alone soon.
Apparently I’m foolish to leave things in this state.
“No one wants a house half finished.”
She seems to forget that I still live here,
And there are memories I refuse to erase.

My Lady

Bianca Lyons, full length, standing, facing le...
Bianca Lyons, full length, standing, facing left; leaning against pillar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A diamond noose stole the breath from her chest,
Where ribs caved beneath creaking whalebone corsets
And her hands lay useless against the curve of her waist.
An hourglass standing with each grain assigned,
A time and a place, a husband, no thought for her mind.
To be instructed and moulded into icy precision
Because in her heart the royal blue ran in vain
And her prison was forged before birth by name.

Fairy tales make pretty the twists of her life
As she’s wound into tapestries, the good, obedient wife.

Let those who weave take for granted stillness in her lips
And forget to check the eyes which dip from sight,
For those who’s power falls too far for her to reach
Means she must hide hide her only freedoms in deceit.
She’ll whisper beneath men’s ears and lace their tongues
With words that from their own have not be strung,
For what do women in titles’ prisons have?
But the babes from further shackles brought,
And hopes that scheming years shall dull the locks
To free the blood of those whose irons are yet to be wrought.