I know you

I know you. 

You are sadness. 

You are the sadness that I forget is still there. 

You are grief. 

You are the grief that turns my hands to ice, constricts my chest, shortens my breath, clouds my mind and stares unblinking through my eyes. 

You are the grief that while I speak and smile and continue my conversation, threatens to claim me.

You are the sadness that is lodged awkwardly in my solar plexus that wakes me up at night, yet has the power to paralyse me by day. 

You are the grief that lingers and trails behind what should be straightforward conversations.

You are the grief that I acknowledge, but by whom I will not be defined. 

I have stood strong inspite of you and have learnt strength because of you. 

Through your pain, I have learnt compassion. 

Yes, I have learnt strength, courage and wisdom. 

When your tears come and they are not wanted, I have learnt how to calmly conquer you and put you in your place. 

Grief, you are a part of who I have become. We must learn to walk together respectfully. 

But I will be your master grief, you cannot have me. 

You do not own me. 

It is me that owns you.

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I’m doing the world a favour

‘I’m doing the world a favour’, I often tell myself,
particularly as I glance at the magazines upon the shelf.
On the cover of the majority, there are glossy, smug photos
of baby riddled celebrities adopting their polished, self-satisfied pose.

Exiting the corner shop, I almost stumble over a child
who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer and is whining loudly in the aisle.
The exasperated parent patiently oversees the situation.
She is ‘just trying to get some shopping done’. I sense her growing irritation.

I meet my friend for coffee. She begins to tell me how tired and low she feels,
but she doesn’t get to finish as from the buggy comes several high pitched squeals.
Now she has to dash off to a play date for her eldest.
She tries to get the youngest’ coat back on. Crying, he furiously resists.

Another friend says she’s lost her identity. She has no more sense of ‘self’.
Her children are often rude to her, defiant and it's affecting her mental health.
She blames herself and seems confused, questioning her parenting skills.
She wonders if she should ask the doctor for some ‘special’ little pills.

I log in to social media to message a long distance friend of mine,
images of people’s offspring flood the screen and demand my time.
Trying not to become distracted, I ‘like’ and ‘comment’ on a few.
Of course, these are lovely photos, but there are so many to scroll through.

At times, it’s overwhelming, our increasingly child obsessed society.
I witness pressure and expectation causing imbalance and insidious anxiety.
Success, peace and happiness one could say, are now subliminally measured
by one’s ability to bear a child, be a family and take a thousand photos treasured.

Children can indeed bring happiness, but should we be so quick to conform?
With our frazzled brains and short circuit minds, I see many struggling to ‘perform’
the role of ideal and perfect family whose ‘spinning plates’ steadily multiply.
From birth to adolescence, they don’t seem to diminish as the years goes by.

Then there’s obesity and poverty, war, starvation and depression.
Paranoia and megalomania grips our incompetent, corrupt politicians.
How can we protect our children? Why bring them into this crumbling world?
Even more anxiety to contemplate as around us chaos is unfurled.

Racism, hate fuelled terrorism, sexism, homophobia and persecution,
we also have to teach our kids how to battle for a fairer, kinder evolution.
This responsibility is ours to bear, as well as getting World Book Day outfits right.
Perhaps, not having children after all, is a blessing and not such a woeful plight.

The invisible thread

Hearts beating, yours with mine.
Self-consciously holding you,
small, but sturdy babe.
Frog like foetal position.
New-born’s doughy feet,
knees folded, flattened to my front.
Feeling faint, sweating palms,
sudden somersault stomach.

A celestial connection sparks.
No one knows, not even you, yet.
Tendrils sprout, beginning to unfurl.

The invisible thread.

London’s streets shine.
Buggy splashing through recent rain.
Eyes gleefully gleaming under
spotty, speckled winter hat.
Content to be pushed, held, loved.
Up, down. Play park, museum, restaurant.
Through streets. Around leafy gardens.
Coffee in cafés. Cake and cuddles in a cosy corner.

Connection fuses and increases.
Now perhaps you know.
Shoots lengthen, bud and bloom.

The invisible thread.

A long journey homeward bound.
A lonely beaded bracelet in your place,
a vacuum where only moments ago
you dozed, lulled by whirring tarmac wheels.
Quiet replaces sing-a-long rhymes,
subdued silence descends.
Damp mascara cheeks. Limbs loose.
Throat choked, twisting tissues.

An inconspicuous cord,
mutually tangible, defying distance and time.
Slim strands grown thick and strong.

The invisible thread.

Salty, sticky fingers and sun cream kisses.
Bobbing on lilos. Bat and ball. Body board clutched
by bold ‘Queen of the Ocean’.
A howl of dramatic despair as sand
between toes tickles and itches.
Disaster soothed by towels and treats,
swimming costume and ice cream.
Time melts on beach hut lazy days.

Connection glows, fed and anchored.
Congruent, confident memories.
A thousand strands weave silver spirals.

The invisible thread.

More duvet cuddles at dawn.
Languid chatter, sipping tea, sharing my space.
Keen to be close. My hand held.
Reassurance, trust.
Eager energy bright and curious, quick to question.
Homework completed to a perfectionist’s standard.
Hair styles, searching for socks,
packing for riverside picnics.

Interconnection clearly communicated,
a synergised glance, a mirrored gesture.
Tendrils now deep roots, tenaciously entwined.

The invisible thread.

Wrapped gifts reflect Christmas lights,
rattled then hidden for treasure hunt quests.
Riddles and jokes. Entertainment and games.
Role-plays and drama.
A rehearsed duet couples the aroma
of roast, pudding and candles.
A ridiculous dance to disco classics then
mellowed by Aretha’s authentic refrains.

This connection, a bond like omnipresent
lithe laced arms, a continual current
flowing freely, fluidly, ‘twixt you and I.

The invisible thread.