To wake to the growing light
In the shadow of yesterday’s pain
Breathing fresher air
With hope for a clear day
Is a joy unknown to those
Whose path is bright
And as the new day comes to birth
So does my soul awake
Knowing well the treasures
Of the darkened path
And the potential for the redemption
Of each piercing pain
Though this path is hard
It cannot destroy the valiant soul
And one day we will wake
To an endless day
Where pain is no more
And tears do not ceaselessly flow
Where pure peace is our reward
O march on valiant souls
Your day will come


Some days just seem to sip the sunlight
Playing around the edges of the clouds
Like a promise that one day there will be light
Yet what would light be without the dark
Even clouds have their beauty
Creating a magical pattern in the sky
And a shining that surpasses all
What would pure brilliance be
Without the shades
So like the day
Let us sip the sunlight
And in the darkness wait in patience


At the end of the lane she rode on by
The sun was shining high in the sky
Her ghostly figure drew me on
I could not get close, the lane was long
I did not ask the question why

She disappeared I tell no lie
In sadness I let out a sigh
What was it that was oh so wrong
At the end of the lane

It felt so eerie I thought I’d die
In that moment I let out a cry
I smelled just then a scent so strong
Then vultures in the air did throng
I knew I had to say goodbye
At the end of the lane


Burn on
My flame my light
In deepest dark burn on
Hidden in the secret place
Where no one treads or sees
Burn on though all is lost
I search for you
I yearn for you
Though swallowed up
By darkest holes
Burn on
Take me back to your shining
Oh take me back
Singe my heart
My dying heart
And bring me back to life
Burn now pure flame
Burn on
Through loss and grief
And body’s pain
And guide me through the dark


When winter approaches and darkness comes
My body freezes as fear takes me in
When doors are closed and no one can hear
The screams that pierce the heavy night air
I am lost in a vortex spinning alone
A tiny black box has become my home
A box where nobody else can get in
Not one that I chose but was chosen for me
I stretch out my arms feel only the wall
And know I am trapped and cannot get out
But in the black box I can reach the world
Through the iPad that still I’m allowed
Virtual friends are all that I have
No human comfort is there for me now
But oh how the iPad has saved my life
Please stay close by me and keep me alive


I walked with you today among the graves
Who says graves are not beautiful?
In them lie the most noble souls
And rascals too
Each with their own beauty
Underneath our feet the frozen grass
Crackling as we walk
Like the crackling flames of love
Do we ever forget to love
Our hearts dance in the frozen forest
To the tune of the Universe
Lithesome and free
On the dancing breeze
Oh grave
Where is your victory?



Like a homing pigeon,
To this place,
It was meant for this time,
All through the years it had waited for me,
And I for it,
Though far distant, connected
By some silken strand,
And now, in my time of sorrow and weeping,
In my darkest of all nights,
The evening of my life,
I return to meditate, to think, and to pray,
While the wood pigeons call,
And the rowan fruits, splashing its blood red berries in darkening sky,
Standing timeless,
Guarding the souls that have gone before,
Passed this way,
As I did too,
In the darkened night,
I remember,
And laugh,
And weep,
For what has gone
And never can be again.

Always this place was home,
I returned here again and again,
In darkest nights of childhood,
When my world rocked
In time with the boat shaped swings at the fairground
In the cold of the night
As together we swung dizzily
From high to low, low to high,
Face turned up to the sky,
Seeing stars,
Squealing with joy,
Tinged with fear.

And now,
My world again is marked by joy,
Tinged with fear,
My dark night has come again,
My world is rocked,
I know not which way it will go,
Up or down, or maybe both all at once,
For now I am blind,
Now my steps are halting,
Balance gone,
And in the chaos of cancer,
I find peace here,
In the place I call home,
Under the sturdy rowan tree


Gemma was a rather hapless individual. It wasn’t her fault. No, but no one knew what she underwent at home. And that was the problem really. She never looked quite right in her home made school uniform. Oh, it was the right colours alright. Well, kind of. As near as you could get anyway, without buying the real thing.

She didn’t have many friends, and those she did have sniggered at her behind her back. It all came to a head one day though.

“Haven’t you heard about Miss Boughton?” her friend inquired.

“No, why?” replied Gemma.

“Didn’t you notice she wasn’t at school today?”

Gemma looked at her friend with mild interest.

“ She’s in the river now. Floating with the fishes. Her red hat was found bobbling on top of the water.”

Gemma’s eyes opened wide.

“Oh my God,” she said.

“Yes, she’ll be having a big funeral.”

Gemma began to walk down the path that led out of the school. Suddenly a group of girls appeared seemingly from nowhere, all sniggering.

Gemma’s face flushed and she looked down at the ground as she realised that this had been a CONSPIRACY against her.


Never has it been blacker. I awake to a shrouded silence, knowing that my efforts to stave off death can never work. It will come. Life has passed by and the thing I most feared is almost upon me.

I read a book last night, and I wish I had not read it – about being blind. Only it didn’t ring true. In it the guy gets blinded by a bomb. For years he is blind, but then, miraculously, out of the blue, he gets his eyesight back. No doctors involved. He just wakes one day and his eyesight comes back. I felt the pain. The pain of the fact that my eyesight is not going to come back, and I will stay like this until I die, which may happen soon. I feel the black shroud enveloping me. It has been happening for days now.

Yesterday he left a huge black sack full of bedding on the landing. I didn’t know. I didn’t see. I tripped over it and fell. He knows not to leave things on the floor. He threatened to put me in a Home.

Last night I was in the fiery furnace, holding out my fingertips to be cooled. It was icy cold outside, but I was in the fires of hell. I found a friend. Had them cooled for a bit. But the fires still burned. All night long they burned.

I hear now the sounds of death. See the sights. I know it is coming. I lie in pain. Excruciating pain. I have crawled back in his bed for comfort. There was nowhere else to go. I lie in the bed between sheets covered in gravy, cheese sauce, and all sorts of things. I have to eat on this bed you see. I drop the food all over because I am blind. He has taken the towel away. The one I used to put under the tray for if I dropped my food.

No one cares. Not about the sheets full of gravy and cheese sauce.

The shroud tightens around me. I cannot breathe. I want to vomit.

I am alone.


I saw
Demons today
In your cold eyes haunted
By tortured past tormenting you
Sending you completely insane
Never letting you go
Neither you them

They come
Out of your mouth
Spitting out vile mockings
Rending the night air asunder
In hypnotic chaotic trance
I become mesmerised
Join in the dance
With you


Colours now have disappeared
I live in a world of grey
Life for me is now awfully weird
There’s nothing more to say

I live in a world of grey
Looking for some light
There’s nothing more to say
About my awful plight

Looking for some light
My eyes begin to hurt
About my awful plight
My tears fall in the dirt

My eyes begin to hurt
I rub them with my hands
My tears fall in the dirt
Blindness killed my plans

I rub them with my hands
But nothing makes me see
Blindness killed my plans
This is how it will be

Nothing makes me see
Except my heart within
This is how it will be
Colours now have disappeared


I looked round today and
All I saw was ash,
The ash of my life, spent,
The flame gone out, dead dreams on the ground in rubble.

The scene was bleak, my eyes
Beheld no beauty,
All was ugly, spent now,
I stood there stripped, knowing I could not pick up ash.

Dreams disintegrated,
Hope gone forever,
Nothing to re-ignite,
Barrenness was my empty companion today.

But suddenly I heard
A voice, saying “Sing,”
What song could I sing now,
Here in this strangest of strange lands, alien now?

The voice insisted, “Sing”
I opened my mouth,
But no sound would come out,
“Tell me how to sing,”
“Caged birds can sing, but you don’t have a cage, just sing.”

I looked around again,
I couldn’t see ash,
I saw the makings of
A new world, building bricks,
Beauty from ashes, I opened my mouth, and sang.


Has anyone seen any good camels lately? I mean in drinks glasses. Specifically brandy and babycham.

I forget which birthday it was, but it was a long time ago. I don’t remember much of what happened but they decided to imbibe me with drinks. Not being used to drinks of such a strong nature and, having had three, I was convinced that I could see a camel in my glass. In fact, i was also convinced that I could get into the glass and onto the camel!

I do not remember much of the end of the evening, but I have never seen a camel since!


And so I met a wall
Yep a wall
Who built the wall?
Nobody will take responsibility for it
But the wall keeps people in their place
And isn’t that what was wanted?
It’s nobody’s wall you know
Funny how big it is
I hit it every day
It’s a wall built out of fear
A stubborn wall
Only one person can take this wall down
The person who built it


I stood on the rise today
Knowing that someone stood with me
For he had been waiting so long
For me to return
Knowing that at the appointed time I would come
And on that day I was drawn
And in one moment we met
I could not stop
For in another moment in time
Many years ago
I had been given to him
The first fruits
And in the giving he claimed me for his own
In this place I was named
By name he called me
Down the years
The corridors of time
But time for me is running out
And soon I will be drawn once again
This time by horses
To my final resting place
And on that day too
He will be waiting for me
On the rise
For he sees me coming from afar off
Knowing my time is almost nigh
Arms stretched out to greet me
Speaking my name
And I who can no longer walk
Will run to him
I who can no longer see
Will behold his face
And in that last embrace I will know
I am “Home at last.”


I WROTE THIS IN 2019 at the time of my mither’s death. The anniversary is tomorrow, Tuesday:

Ashes now to ashes you are dust
In frailty you did die with three loud cries
The earth now holds you tight within its crust

On darkest night your soul was coldly thrust
Into eternity that never ever lies
Ashes now to ashes you are dust

And we who now are left here surely must
Live in the darkness with the light that dies
The earth now holds you tight within its crust

You who with contradiction broke my trust
Now must face the truth, existence flies
Ashes now to ashes you are dust

The words you said are covered now in rust
There is no longer time for all the whys
The earth now holds you tight within its crust

Eternity has called you from life’s lust
We said today our final last goodbyes
Ashes now to ashes you are dust
The earth now holds you tight within its crust


The blackness hits the window and forms a wall between me and the world outside. It is suffocating me. I cannot breathe. I am fighting for breath, as it comes through the window. Closer and closer it gets. I cannot fight it off. There is no escape. I need to get out, away from it, but I can’t. There is no way of escaping. Suddenly, There is a gag in my mouth. I begin to retch. It is November 9th. 2021.

I sit up in bed, on guard. It is dark outside. I have to stay awake, to fight off anything that is coming to get me. If I go to sleep, I cannot be ready for it and it will get me. If I stay awake I have a chance of thwarting it. I have to sit stock still though. I am paralysed by fear. If I move, my whole body will be consumed by whatever is there. A deep sickness takes over my being. But still, I must not move. To move is to bring about my end. I feel as if I have a gag in my mouth. I must stay awake. I must. It is autumn 1952. I am four years old.

My mother died on November 16 2019. It was a black, cold and rainy night. I wasn’t there, though I almost was. We drew up outside the house where she lay dying in the front room, and as we drew up, my husbabd’s mobile rang.

“Mum died one minute ago.” It was my brother. I had been forced to leave my mother’s death bed less than an hour earlier by my brother and my sister, who were engaged in having a loud and ferocious argument at the foot of her bed.

“Look at them,” I said to the nurse who was about to give my mother a morphine injection.


My sister turned on me in a wild rage, and there was nothing for it but to leave. As I had had to do right through my life, I quelled my feelings and told myself it didn’t matter that I was not going to be present when my mother died. But inside, it mattered. It mattered a great deal. Only a few days previously she had said to me,

“It is you who I want at the side of me when I die.” I hadn’t achieved it. Crying was useless. I just let the feelings die a death inside me.

My brother took a photo of her dead body for me. Just her face. I am blind, and whilst I cannot see things, occasionally I can just see a photo on a mobile phone, though rather blurry. I saw her face. Her mouth hung open like a cavern. Hell’s cavern, it looked like to me. In my mind, she was in hell and I was in hell.

The last I “saw” of my mother was her being taken out of the house by the undertaker. She was underneath a black blanket. Inside me I screamed out,


The blanket was black and the night was black. It is still black now.


Much time has passed since I came to this place
I hear names I know but the people have gone
I remember times past and the peace I knew then
My soul yearns to build a new world from the old

I hear names I know but the people have gone
There in the sioil my ancestors lie
My soul yearns to build a new world from the old
But is it too late for my time will soon come

There in the soil my ancestors lie
Their graves are unkempt for nobody cared
Is it too late for my time will soon come
The party is over and everyone’s gone

Their graves are unkempt for nobody cared
For the lives that were lived and the deeds that were done
The party is over and everyone’s gone
But the place is not empty for my memory lives on

For the lives that were lived and the deeds that were done
I offer my prayers in this beautiful place
The place is not empty my memory lives on
And I re-live the years that I had as a child

I offer my prayers in this beautiful place
That the light will shine on and never grow dim
I re-live the years that I had as a child
As the horses come by and remind me of home

May the light shine on here and never grow dim
In perpetuity give them the peace that they earned
The horses come by and remind me of home
My coffin will one day be drawn by them here

In perpetuity give them the peace that they earned
May it come to me too for my time will soon come
Much time has passed since I came to this place
I hear names I know but the people have gone

As a writer

As a writer, I often write stories about women who suffered from violence in their homes. The usual question is “Why didn’t she leave?”

In our country the option to leave was not there until the 1970s. Even then, it was difficult. It was not a subject much known about or publicised.

There are many reasons why women did not leave, and sadly, in today’s society there exists a “blaming the victim” syndrome which saddens me. I have, in the course of my work and research, (it was my doctoral research subject) met many women who simply had no relatives or friends, no job, and were unable to leave.

One of the most misunderstood things is why women don’t just leave, and, as a former worker in this field, I want to say that the reasons are many and complex.

My own mother had me as a baby, abd my father was violent. She wanted to leave him. I was born in 1948 and in those days you were seen as the lowest of the low if you left your husband. It was a shameful thing to do, whatever the reason.

My mother went to her doctor for help, and he knew her history, he desperately wanted to help yet could not. There were no places for a woman with a young child to go. My father continued to be violent, with horrific results.

Today, there are opportunities for women to leave. But psychologically it is impossible for some of them.

I will just add that Women’s Aid was not foubded until 1974.

BLOOD (Set in the 1960s before Womens Aid was set up in te U.K.)

It was the strangest of days. She should have been speaking somewhere that afternoon, but she had cancelled as she did not feel too well. She was lying on the settee. Her husband was home from work as it was his day off. She needed to go to the bathroom, and got up and walked to the bottom of the stairs when suddenly, for no known reason, he was behind her, pushing her roughly down onto the stairs. He began thumping her back heavily and hard. She had no idea why he did it but he was always hitting her anyway so she was used to it. It was not so much the thumping and hitting that bothered her, fierce though it was. No, it was what happened next.

Suddenly, she felt something gurgling in her chest, a little like having a chest cold, only different, when suddenly something loosens and you can cough it up. Only it felt much more gurgly and thinner than mucous. She began to cough, and it spurted out of her, frothing as it came out. Blood. Pure blood. No mucous, but just blood. As soon as she had coughed one lot out, more spurted out, as the gurgling continued. It was as if it was pouring out of a tap. Blood. Just blood. It came out so easily. No effort. It was all over her hands, on her T shirt, on the stairs. Blood. Nothing but blood.

Her first thought was that her husband had done some internal damage and that was the cause of the blood pouring out of her. In fact she felt certain that that must be it. But it didn’t stop. It continued.

Alarmed, her husband went to the telephone in the living room and rang to doctor’s surgery. It was the days before mobile phones and when doctors were available at the surgery. Within a few minutes the doctor had arrived at the house. He looked at her, examined her, and shooed her off to bed, telling her in no uncertain terms not to get out, then left, saying he would be back in the morning. But the blood began pouring out of her mouth again, and breathing was difficult. She was drowning in blood! Her husband called the doctor and he returned immediately to the house, whereupon he called an emergency ambulance.

It is hard to say what she felt in all this time. She was convinced that her husband had damaged her, but now she was going to the hospital anyway.

The ambulancemen carried her out of the house into the ambulance, having wrapped her up in a beautiful pale blue blanket. The blood continued to pour out of her and as it went onto the beautiful blanket, she was more concerned about the blanket than she was about herself. How would they get that stain out? She voiced her concerns to the ambulancemen, and they told her not to worry about that but they would send her the cleaning bill.

One of the ambulancemen sat with her all the way to the hospital, and, being frightened of needles at that stage, said said to him, anxiously,

“They won’t stick needles in me will they?”

“No luv, of course they won’t,” he said.

Upon arriving at the hospital, she was taken into a private cubicle where they immediately stuck a needle into her!

The blood continued to come out of her lungs, but gradually it was beginning to slow down. They had given her a container to spit the blood out into.

It only took a couple of days.

“You have tuberculosis,” the doctor said to her. “You will be nursed in isolation for three months.”

The end of the three months arrived. She was still so very thin, but they discharged her. She walked in through the front door of their house, and her husband came up behind her and kicked her over onto the floor.


In the passage where time waits
I stumble
Trying not to look back
Afraid to look forwards
A blockage has occurred
Thrashing around I try to kill time
And find
That it is an illusion
A construct
Made to control us
Trip us up
“I haven’t got time,” you say
No, you don’t have time
You have eternity


Sat in the graveyard where you lay
The grass was green that summer’s day
I looked to see if She was there
The One who was the Lady fair
But where She was I could not say

In years long gone She went away
For her return you soft did pray
Her absence you could hardly bear
Sat in the graveyard

I wondered if I called She may
Appear again for aye to stay
So you could rest without a care
No matter if the world did stare
Perhaps She’d come if I did pray
Sat in the graveyard


I lie in between yawning and dreaming
My heart waiting to find release
For love is not mine to keep but mine to give
For no reward
Asking nothing
Just years of giving
Years of reaping
In time love’s calling will grow strong again
And the light weave patterns in our eyes
And write the words we want to say
But cannot for now the dark is here
Love has lain bleeding
In the soul’s dark night and body’s demise
We lie in the silence the words strangled
I put my hand out to touch you
But you are gone
You went when the lights went out


In the darkness I searched for you
Feeling around with my heart
Blinded by drugs I couldn’t see
I needed a hand to hold

Feeling around with my heart
The ache was stifling me
I needed a hand to hold
But you couldn’t see my pain

The ache was stifling me
Inside I was screaming your name
But you couldn’t see my pain
I spun around wildly in space

Inside I was screaming your name
I couldn’t find your hand
I spun around wildly in space
Desolation my friend

I couldn’t find your hand
Your eyes were blinded by light
Desolation my friend
I couldn’t see your light

Your eyes were blinded by light
You couldn’t see the dark
I couldn’t see your light
I was lost an abomination

You couldn’t see my dark
I disappeared from your sight
I was lost an abomination
We lost our souls that night

I disappeared from your sight
A scream rising from my throat
We lost our souls that night
In the darkness I’d searched for you


Dancing from foot to foot, she threw her arms in the air, waving them wildly from side to side, head upturned to the heavens, screaming,

“Come on Satan. Let’s see what YOU can do. I worship YOU.”

Her face was a picture of mockery and pure evil.

Helen watched her in horror. She had always known her mother to be a wicked person, but this far surpassed anything she had known before. Inside, apart from the horror, she felt a knife turning as if her guts were being torn out. The pain of this moment was almost unbearable. It was as if her mother was mocking her too, and wanting to destroy her utterly. She knew, in that moment, the truth of everything. What she was looking at now was ugly beyond belief. The problem for Helen was that no one WOULD believe her. Such scenes WERE unbelievable. No one normal would act like that. But then her mother was not normal, and never had been.

In those moments, Helen thought back to that day when she had faced her mother with what she had done to her. In a way, it had been a plea for mercy, for understanding of her hurt and pain. She found it hard to believe that this woman, whom she called her mother, had no humanity in her at all. But the truth was, that she hadn’t. It was a hard truth to face. In that moment when she had faced her mother with what she had done to her, her mother did a triumphant dance on the pavement, putting a hand out in front of her and kicking her leg up to meet her hand, in a devilish dance.

Helen had always suffered from a feeling of intense fear, and she knew this fear to have originated with her mother. As an adult, it had plagued her, and in a way, she wanted her mother to in some way at least acknowledge what she had done. Stupidly, she had believed that this might be possible. But that was giving to her mother some semblance of normality – of being a human being. Little did she at that stage know that there was not one scrap of humanity in her mother at all.

How does one come to terms with something like that? Helen could not.

The monster was dead now, but even then, facing the truth about her mother was hard. Helen naturally looked for the good in everybody. No one was pure evil, she thought. But there came a time when she had to face the fact that she was. Whatever had turned her mother into this, she had no idea. But she had to face the fact that it was true.

Helen thought about the time when her mother, as a child, had learned to stick pins in dolls so that the person whom the doll represented would actually die. Her mother had told her about this, and proudly announced that she still did it. She wished cancer upon people whom she did not like, and not only that, but that they would die from it. Helen had to wonder at times, for she had had cancer herself – a cancer from which she had almost died. But now, here she was, the monster having been dead for two years, attempting to come to terms with all these things.


I have always known it. The Fear. It introduced itself to me at an early age and said,

“Hello, I’m Fear.”

It held out its hand for me to take, but I could not, for it had paralysed me. All I could do was look at it. Get to know its outline. Its curves. Its twists and turns. And it did. Twist and turn. It was everywhere. I went to sleep in it. Woke up in it. Dreamed in it. I knew it intimately. And it knew me. It knew eaxactly where to tickle me. To dance with me. It mesmerised me. I became lost in it. It smothered me. It suffocated me. I died in its arms. And now I am not here.


And now
The burning dark
Comes as autumn scorches
Cooling earth with flaming colours,
Fires rage
In souls
Seared by pains of night eternal
Let not these colours scourge
Your dying soul
But fan
Life the embers
Of love laid low by fear
As red hot arrows wounded all
That lived
And grew
In the cold dark earth of winter
Let the dark now hold you
Colours fading,
Peace breathing