I married a man

I married a man
sixteen years ago


One day I left him

He let me go
and waited
and rescued me
over and over again

I’m dying
or fighting death
with more death

And I wonder
about Love
and constancy
and patient

I told a few people
who remember me
that sometimes
I think the true healers
are those
who can hold our hand
in silence

I’m tired
I’m tired a lot now

But there is a man
who never lets go
of my hand

And there’s a kind of
magic in that




Finding yourself between the pages of a book…

“The shadow past is shaped by everything that never happened.” ~ Anne Michaels

My therapist gives me assignments. Sometimes poems to write and sometimes books to read.

We talk a lot about my cancer diagnosis these days. There aren’t many people that can bear talking about it. My thoughts and feelings have reached a crashing crescendo of intensity. Yesterday she said when you are faced with your mortality in the way I am, the sense of time just falls away. You are left exposed and raw. So I don’t talk much. I think and feel… quietly.

Yesterday I was told to read this book. “I think you will find yourself in its pages,” she said. It’s another kind of grace, I think.


Another Word for Love

They say
that cancer
of the breast
is a path

you walk

The truth is
will ever
be the same

ever is

It would be easy
to look at it
as just another
to be solved
but there is
no solution

There is

It keeps you alive
a little longer

It isn’t a cure

there is no cure
for death

The truth is
we are always
walking towards

Cancer is
a not very silent
reminding us
the end of our path
is near

And so
all those things
we put off

Healthy foods,
exercise for the body,
solace for the mind
becomes a need
not a choice

And then
there are days
like today

Where I sit
on my old
beat up sofa
looking out
the window
at a gray English
winter day
with a bright red amaryllis
blooming her heart out

While my mind
catalogs memories
happy ones
forgotten ones
curious ones

but no sad ones
no angry resentful ones

They haven’t
been invited
to this party

With the pain
my mind tumbles
in slow motion

I remember
the smell
of a vegetarian quiche
and the smile
on my little boy’s face
and the feeling of pride
in my fatigued heart

and love

I remember love

This path
of the woman
with half a breast
is always moving
in the direction
of love

There is fear
and pain
and isolation
but always
the mind and heart
join forces
turning my face
in the direction
of love

This cancer of the breast
is just another word
for love.




Thoughts on breast cancer … and me… and who I am now.

I have this blog. I think it would be a great place to write about my breast cancer experience but I haven’t been able to write anything at all since I was diagnosed a month ago.

There’s just so much. If I die where do I want my remains to go? How can I make it easier for the Wonderspouse?

Today I talked to my GP. He was proud of me. He said I was the fourth woman this week who had come into his office having been recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Yesterday the pre-op nurse said the breast cancer rate had risen from 1 in 8 to 2 in 4 and they have no idea why. Before I left she said, “Remember, you didn’t do anything wrong.” I almost cried.

The night before and the morning of the operation I have to wash with HiBi Scrub, even my hair. No shampoo. No conditioner. So today I went to my local hair salon and had most of my hair cut off. It’s kind of a short bob cut. It looks French. It’s kind of cute.

With the information they have now they don’t think I will have to have Chemo. Of course, that could change.

I have two tumours. They won’t be able to save my nipple but I won’t have to have a mastectomy (unless something goes horribly wrong). I will have to have several weeks of radiotherapy. They are hopeful. I am hopeful.

I have massive amounts of reading material and loads of instructions. The NHS nurses are amazing. We must all fight for our NHS. We are so lucky to have them.

And then there is the spirituality aspect of it all. I’m not looking for a “reason” or someone to blame but I am trying to find “me” in all of this.

I’m tired. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I rage at the heavens but mostly I just try to put one foot in front of the other. And sometimes I spend hours watching old movies or reading and sleeping.

I have Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS and PTSD. Obviously the stress of having breast cancer makes all of those things so much worse. My body hurts. My heart hurts. But the nurses and the doctors say, “It’s a process and eventually it will all be behind you.”

Although, at the moment I’m hugely flakey and can’t think about much more than that I’m using all my energy to survive cancer.

So… that’s what’s going on with me. I hope you are all taking care of yourselves but mostly I hope you are remembering to love yourselves.


Beauty Found on Dog Walks


“I have not always chosen the safest path. I’ve made my mistakes, plenty of them. I sometimes jump too soon and fail to appreciate the consequences. But I’ve learned something important along the way: I’ve learned to heed the call of my heart. I’ve learned that the safest path is not always the best path and I’ve learned that the voice of fear is not always to be trusted.”
― Steve Goodier

Scottish Landscape Art | Prints, Mugs and Scottish Gifts

I discovered this fabulous artist while we were in the Scottish Highlands. Her work is truly amazing and you can buy it online. I have. Go take a look.

Cath Waters


Happy Birthday, Mr. Ferlinghetti

Today is Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Birthday. He’s known for a lot of things but first he was a Beat Poet and then he opened a bookstore in San Francisco called City Lights.

This is a repost from some time ago.

I think I must have written this before the disastrous American Presidential Election of 2016. Today the $600 billion tax cut for the 2% masquerading as a new health care bill failed miserably. There is still a lot of work to do. There are still too many people without affordable health care, too many children living in poverty but at least we didn’t roll the clock back to much darker days.

As I read this again tonight in this time and place, I couldn’t help but reflect on how different my life is since I originally wrote it, maybe only five or six months ago. I couldn’t help but reflect on how different the world is. The changing pace of each day seems to be rapidly accelerating. We are all being pulled and pushed to be something greater, to create something greater.

However, this is a rambling memory of the day I first discovered his poetry, a very long time ago, a time I barely recognise now. Still… I catch myself smiling because I know I carry this little memory in my DNA now. It is as much a part of me as the air I breathe, as the beat of my heart.

Today, however, it has a special poignancy.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Ferlinghetti.

”We have to raise the consciousness; the only way poets can change the world is to raise the consciousness of the general populace.” ~ Lawrence Ferlinghetti


He’s often forgotten as one of the great beat poets of the fifties and remembered more for opening City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco which is an amazing place. I’ve been several times now and I still regret not visiting it more.

When I was in my twenties Beat Poets made me think of Kerouac and Ginsberg. I knew of Ferlinghetti and City Lights Bookstore but I hadn’t read him.

One day I stumbled across this poem in an anthology of poetry in my local library.

He published it in 1958. I was probably 5.

I discovered it in the early 70s in the midst of the Vietnam War and anti-war protests, Buddhist monks setting themselves on fire in protest, and the civil rights movement and women fighting to be recognised and heard and LSD and music, so much music. The first concert I attended was to see Jimi Hendrix and then a little later, Led Zeppelin, in 1970. I had already lost my heart to a musician who would end up being the father of my child. It was a world in upheaval and tremendous creativity and alternative thinkers and hope and belief in our ability to create a better world and days of dark despair and colour everywhere. But most days you woke up filled with hope and determination and ended them with sadness and confusion or escaped for days in music and hallucinogens that made the world a prettier place.

And in the midst of all that I discovered this. I couldn’t stop reading it. I just sat in my library and read it over and over until I pulled out my journal and copied the entire poem in its pages. I think it was a defining moment for me. I don’t think I had truly grasped just how powerful words could be until then. I had an epiphany in my tiny local library.

So this one will always be my favourite Ferlinghetti poem:

I Am Waiting


I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
and wail
and I am waiting
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier
and I am waiting
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right
and I am waiting
for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead
and I am waiting
for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe
for anarchy
and I am waiting
for the final withering away
of all governments
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Second Coming
and I am waiting
for a religious revival
to sweep thru the state of Arizona
and I am waiting
for the Grapes of Wrath to be stored
and I am waiting
for them to prove
that God is really American
and I am waiting
to see God on television
piped onto church altars
if only they can find
the right channel
to tune in on
and I am waiting
for the Last Supper to be served again
with a strange new appetizer
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for my number to be called
and I am waiting
for the Salvation Army to take over
and I am waiting
for the meek to be blessed
and inherit the earth
without taxes
and I am waiting
for forests and animals
to reclaim the earth as theirs
and I am waiting
for a way to be devised
to destroy all nationalisms
without killing anybody
and I am waiting
for linnets and planets to fall like rain
and I am waiting for lovers and weepers
to lie down together again
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Great Divide to be crossed
and I am anxiously waiting
for the secret of eternal life to be discovered
by an obscure general practitioner
and I am waiting
for the storms of life
to be over
and I am waiting
to set sail for happiness
and I am waiting
for a reconstructed Mayflower
to reach America
with its picture story and tv rights
sold in advance to the natives
and I am waiting
for the lost music to sound again
in the Lost Continent
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the day
that maketh all things clear
and I am awaiting retribution
for what America did
to Tom Sawyer
and I am waiting
for Alice in Wonderland
to retransmit to me
her total dream of innocence
and I am waiting
for Childe Roland to come
to the final darkest tower
and I am waiting
for Aphrodite
to grow live arms
at a final disarmament conference
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting
to get some intimations
of immortality
by recollecting my early childhood
and I am waiting
for the green mornings to come again
youth’s dumb green fields come back again
and I am waiting
for some strains of unpremeditated art
to shake my typewriter
and I am waiting to write
the great indelible poem
and I am waiting
for the last long careless rapture
and I am perpetually waiting
for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn
to catch each other up at last
and embrace
and I am awaiting
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder

Original link from The Poetry Foundation website can be found