A Moleskine

How many people do you know
where just by seeing their name
written at the top of an envelope
makes you break into a wide smile
or who write about getting excited
at the nifty pocket inside a moleskine
sent as a prize for sharing a thought

How many people do you know
that invite you to play with a rabbit
who in bunny ways is very wise
and yet is constantly getting in trouble
to the point of incarceration no less
well now I suspect not that many
people will lay claim to such fame

And yet I know many of you reading
will already be pretty well acquainted
with this uniquely special someone
keeper of Emily the Adventure-ess
who knows the value of many things
not least crying from your belly
and rolling downhill while laughing

I did nothing to deserve a moleskine
this very epitome of writers’ chic
yet here it is arrived safe and sound
opened and already starting to fill
because courage sometimes falters
at the sight of pristine empty pages
enjoyment comes in the use of a gift

Enjoyment comes in acceptance too
as freely bestowed gifts are a rich prize
and I believe that giving honours the giver
as well as the given to
what you sent meant more to me
than I have been able to convey
except to say heartfelt thanks to you KJ

... and hurray! (I know, but I had to!) xx Jos

A childhood friend

How wonderfully strange to be with you today
although thirty five years have passed us by
since we as two and three girls sat alongside
and walked any kind of sandy beach together
a lifetime by pretty much anyones' measure
and yet here you are, still looking as you do

Somehow familiar in that comfortable way
of children who've grown up through hard times
and so know the value of good times together
and that tears on arrival are a welcome home
I loved that you were moved by our meeting
and pretty much everything about today too

In particular when we wandered to be alone
shell hunting again after all these years
feeling the tug of memories long since lost
except so vivid still in your recollections
lovingly relayed with waving arms and words
ah now that is something I do remember

How you continually express what goes on inside
drawing pictures in my mind with your words
you still do that, I'm amazed we sill connect
it seems you are so, so very smart these days
using words I have only the vaguest notion of
and yet ... well there it is, you are still you

This incredible woman, yet with a clear sense
that somehow you are not nearly enough
that you must even now still measure up
to some ideal, some meaningless standard
I wish I knew you more fully in this time
translating my past admiration to the present

What can I tell you that you don't already know
we were children the last time we sat together
on the kerb kicking against things not wanted
even then I remember the way you looked to the sky
the way you drew vivid pictures with your words
and now you do the same thing with your pen

I wish,
god how I wish,
that I could express
this better
you mean something to me
I remember
I try not to remember
so many things


that does not include you.

Journeying Back to Day One

The light fell into her eyes
so instead she looked downwards
and when music filled her ears
she blocked them off from hearing
even as tastes filled her mouth
she swallowed as if it were bile

As loving hands reached out
she turned her back and shut the door
then she drew the curtains
and in the shade she poured herself
from there into oblivion and beyond
seeking only to wash it all away

And some time passed this way
as her reality faded into grey
replaced by vivid colours of fantasy
each dancing in their crazed delight
across that dim and foggy screen
of her barely semi consciousness

The sands of time continued to flow
until one day in an uncertain dawn
came a flickering faltering realisation
of too much time having been spent
wandering in that inner wilderness
those wastelands of her imagination

And so finally she drew open the veil
poured the last of her fantasy fuel
down the drain of things past
and walked out into her garden
to find that in reality the sunlight
didn't hurt her eyes after all

A new arrival.

I had to bust through my self-imposed holiday haitus ...
for this ...

It seems that I am now a great-auntie
OK I am already a great auntie
but that is not the same thing at all

Ah ... c'mon ... look at her face
isn't she just beautiful?
lovely Dylan Rose
welcome to our world
already I love you

xx Jos

This guilt

I have almost become someone
I don't recognise at all
do you know this feeling?
a kind of internal dis-location
incongruence, or so I'm told
everything, however complicated
seems to have this
a long word to describe it

But I describe it as this
I look the same, or near-abouts
grey and wrinkles notwithstanding
the person I see in the mirror
is at least somewhat familiar
I sound pretty similar to always
but something inside is not the same
a disintegration is continuing

Not solely physical, that is just aging
a process that I have long since
quite happily reconciled myself to
there is beauty in my mothers face
the future is written clearly there
would that I might one day
show such elegance and grace
seeing her in me, repeating our history

No this disintegration is self induced
looking back I can pinpoint it's start
that day when I decided on a fiction
and to tell that fiction to another
and then to tell yet another after that
until the teetering pile was so vast
I very nearly lost sight of the facts
having given myself over to the unreality

Here I am once again brought up short
oh my word, what to do ... and can I undo?
and how much of this can I undo
without undoing you too, or indeed us
this is not the first time I've been here
trying to untangle this mess I’ve made
saying without actually having to say
or ever even admiting to anything at all.


And I have favourite words too
bumble-bee and bubble are my top two
and now this new one
I came across the other day
you never know when you will
stumble upon unexpected treasure

I am learning German
just a little bit
hopefully enough to help things along
between my sister and her husband
who has no-one to converse with
in the language of his youth
and so I try


it is this word
not snorkel
but schnorchel
try it out

I will henceforth
go forth
in my fins
and schnorchel

the word
has me

are you smiling yet?

some words have power

it is easy to think
only in terms of
words that move you
to tears
to painful recollection
to empathy

but here

does not move me
perhaps though
there is a particular power
in smiley words.

An Orange Girl

I have so many favourite things
like I love lemon meringue pie
have done ever since I can remember
it marks the close of my birthday each year
with it's fizzy popping sweet and sourness
white swirls and sparkling peaks above
and soft wobbly lemon wonder below
it is the queen of all the desserts to me

And I just love the colour orange
ever since the moment as a young girl
that I was told that it is a colour
but it is also a thing
so you can hold it
touch it
smell it
taste it
be splashed by it
how many colours can you do that with
come on now ...
that is seriously cool
in fact way cool :)

You can never be sure
how a series of events will unfold
and so when you asked me
about my colour preference
I had to own up to this
this childlike love of orange
which persists even to this day
and I know it hardly goes with anything
so I put it with everything
because it makes me smile

I got a package the other day
unfamiliar writing outside
but addressed to me
and on opening
orange tissue paper
layer upon layer
of orangeness
and underneath
more paper
and more anticipation
then underneath again
ah now
how can I explain

Only by telling you this
something of who I am
and who I am not
I am not a pretty one
or a girlie girl
just me
and so I don't own
much jewellery
but here, lying here
are earrings and bracelet both
orange, silver and shiny black
and perfect
so perfect.

On to an hour later
I am out and about
talking with some friends
I am waving my arm around
waggling my head back and forth
I am grinning from ear to ear
because I am an orange girl
a happy orange girlie girl
which makes me smile
you do that

Do you know
I take you with me
so many days these days
I just look at my wrist
twist it this way and that
seeing the beauty and care
this proof of you there
there, already I am smiling
and thinking of you
and being thankful
all over again.

It's that simple

Today I will talk of solace

Today I went on my bike
after a long day at work
I cycled to the playground
with my sisters' wonderful boys
I swung on the swings
I made out
that I could only swing
so high
that they could go higher
that I could not match them
how they crowed
how they healed
my heart
I love these boys
who love me
who send me off
with kisses
and hugs
and waves
from the window
I love them
they love me
it's that simple

Some days

Some days are supposed to be hard
it is not supposed to be easy to watch
as his dark wooden box is lowered
knowing that the person lying within
is no longer the boy you once knew
that his smiling eyes are forever shut

it is not supposed to be easy to stand
next to the loving mother of this son
to hold tight her hand whilst she tries
with everything she's got inside her
to withstand the onslaught of grief
without crumpling to the earth

it is not supposed to be easy to listen
as one after another stands out front
to say some words in choked voices
streaming eyes all around us
as earth is scattered onto the lid
and hands are pressed in their passing

it is not supposed to be easy to feel
her trembling in an effort to withstand
and then when beyond withstanding
to hold and to sway and murmur
wrapping arms tight in a vain attempt
to impart some small measure of strength

just enough to walk us back to the car
away from eyes themselves turned away
and in the shelter, behind the darkened glass
to sit beside this silently shuddering woman
feeling the helplessness that comes
from bearing witness to such devastation

knowing that this is only the start of it
that grief is a journey in its own right
that there will be more days as tough
with family and friends gone back home
and fewer of us left to stand alongside
some days are just supposed to be hard.


I will stand next to you
all is prepared
everything is as ready
as it can be

there is no way
to prepare for this
for saying goodbye

and there is no way
for me to prepare
to find a way
to be there
with you ... for you

I know something
about loss
not enough
not even nearly

so I will listen
and learn
open my heart
to your pain
my friend