Chatter shattered dreaming

This is a poem about what it felt like to be a working father of 4 small children: experiencing them in intense bursts before, between and after work.

The day explodes as Mad Mike Hoare

kicks in the door and stands above my head,

beside the bed, in grinning triumph.

Morning Daddy!

Mummy, I need the toilet; can I have my colouring now?

Will I let the cat in?  What is that Fiona’s sat in?

(He’s brought his spearhead group).

Morning Swine!

It’s breakfast time.

Sit down, stand up, and where’s your cup,

 and can I have;  please don’t do that,

 but feed the cat; Will you stop it! Mind, you’ll drop it!

 Are you ready? Leave your Teddy,

Late for work again.

Mmm. Lunch smells good.

Coat off, brain off, open door:

Hello Daddy!

Duncan bit me! Hannah hit me!

I was sick, and do be quick – you’re running late,

I broke a plate, the fridge is bust and now I must

remember, later, buy some coal; did you, will you, fill that hole?

Give me that, I’ll kill the cat, she’s wet the floor

And out the door – late for school again.

Darkness.  Home at last.

Lights off, keys out, open door:

Hello Daddy!

Look what I did, falling down I cut my eyelid!

Daddy, what’s a mortal sinner?   Not now dear,

just eat your dinner.  Nappy!  Nappy!  Wait ‘til later.

Use your spoon for mashed potato,

Into bathroom, washed and dressed for bed.

And now, each soft and silky head

is quietly laid in perfect dreams of their reality.

While Mum and Dad sit stunned, in peace,

and think of all the hasty words and

half-heard stories, fears, and wonder how, through these few years,

they have remembered who they are

and manage, somehow, to convey their love.

I Surrender


I came to you

 lost in pain and vulnerable;

with open wounds of self-betrayal,

offered to the soothing rain

of your tender violence.

Spent in battle,

 weary searching for the grail of inner peace,

seeing only shadows of the honourable,

I stand before you tattered

and in grieving silence.

With stinging kiss

you lift the penance from my soul.

And so, made briefly indivisible,

we are together, whole, behind the veil.

The Dark Side

The Dark Side

It’s cold on the dark side;

beyond the play of your warming rays,

this satellite of a satellite waits in vain.

The daily rise and set,

with promise of release and light

that tantalize,

but never pass the rim.

A pulse of energy is all,

we are none more than this;

some dying while others flare

with temporary brilliance.

An ember in fading orbit

trapped by the gravity of my love

and lost for ever

on your dark side.

I will

I Will

I am undone

How can you bear to be so patient,

To softly call and see me pass you by?

To know I hear the sigh of Your breathing me

in, and out, in and out with Your gentle, terrifying question,

“Will you?” “Will You?” “Will YOU?”


I am exposed

How can I bear to be so frightened;

To hear my sudden answer, “Yes”, and not know the reason why?

To know it came from ME when I wasn’t there at all,

To know I answered true, I answered true.