Steps of stairs from seven to five
we stood in line on the garden wall,
dressed in gingham, hand made,
handed down, waiting now for hours,
dark hair burnished in the winter sun.
It seemed like years since she had gone
we almost thought we’d never get her back,
but here she was, home.
Where have you been?
What did you get us?’
Our questions clamored.
‘In the hospital’ she replied,
her face turned towards the harsh lit kitchen window,
as we all chorused ‘why?’
A cardboard suitcase opened on the table,
I saw her finger a pale blue piece of ribbon
and cotton soft a pale blue baby’s bonnet.
Softly I could hear her whisper
‘I went to get a baby.’
She must have been a thousand pieces
racked with pain and sore and sad
and patched together dispatched out
to carry on and not look back.
‘So wheres the baby Mam?’
Quietly she fingered softness
and brokenhearted spared our pain
but increased hers, she answered;
‘There was only red haired ones
in the Hospital Shop’
(Pilltown Woods with my mother)
We watched the flight
of a hundred crows
squawk their way
to the sky-high trees.
My mother said they were
‘Birds coming home from school.’
We rambled on
in the dusk damp woods,
A pine cone lay
under rusty leaves.
My mother laughed and said
‘One of the crows has dropped his book.’
A pine cone sits
On a rough-hewn desk
When I hold it
I am four years old
and hear again my mother’s voice,
‘There is always crows’ books in Pilltown.’
Thoughtlessly I threw your letters
to the fire and went on sorting,
holding and discarding,
the television blared,
I thought of work.
your letters caught my eye,
they smoldered slowly
as if to fight the flames.
I thought of all
the dreams and hopes
and mainly apologies
those letters held.
And then by chance,
a flame took hold,
and in a moment,
the words were gone
-as you are.
I know you know
You’ve made a
I could have told you that in January,
I tried to tell you that in June.
But is it only now,
twelve months later
That it’s hit you?
I hope you know the story of the fledgeling;
How it faltered for a while
Hovered on the quivering branches
wanting to run and hide
within the warmth and comfort
of the family nest
and while it waited,
It lost the downy feathers from its breast
Replacing them with multicoloured hues
Silk to touch
While you mulled around and beat your head
against the walls of your
It faltered for a while
And the day came when
with piercing, searching eyes
It looked into your concave,
saw your thrashing
It spread its azure wings
and flew away.
I just hope you know…