Friday 22 March 2024

End of Life

Michael 1976

He looks a lot smaller this day,

disappearing under the bed sheets,

shrinking into the mattress.


Everything is slowing down…


Soon everything will stop

and I wont know what to do with myself


I will be lost    so very lost


without him.




My Michael passed away August 2021 at the grand old age of seventy-two.  His death was expected.  He was the love of my life.

Michael had been a resident in the most wonderful caring care home since 2014.  It became his new home and he recognised the staff more than he did me and our two sons.  This did not hurt us at all as it was proof of how much he was so loved by the staff and indeed he was.  He felt safe, felt loved.  His care was exemplary and how so evident this was in his last three weeks of life, staff visiting him on their days off or phoning in to see how he was, asking if he still was with us.  Lovely lovely lovely people.

I wrote the above words sometime within these last three weeks, filled with grief of expected loss.

Our two sons and I found our eventual loss not as profound as we had expected it to be.  Timewise our grief passed relatively quickly.  I guess a slow separation had begun in 2014… the emotional distance.

I still find myself saying “Hello Michael” to his photograph and kissing him there.  I like that.  He is free and I am not lost.  Loves ya Michael!

Shared with the lovely people at Poets and Storytellers United, hosted by Rommy – cheers Rommy!

Friday 19 November 2021

Small Print


Look at the small print,

look at it just look at it. 

No need to read

between the lines,

it is there in black and white.


Addendum to diary entry:

I love him I love him I love him!


I am so tiny tiny tiny


Why can’t I think big?

Why can’t I say:

I love you I love you I love you.


I am so tiny tiny tiny.


Oh if only I could sprout

the wings of a bird

I would fly to him,

fly to him

and gather him in my skirts.


Say: See here,

look at the small print: 

I love him I love him I love him!

Instead:  I am tiny tiny tiny.


I have the wings of a moth

forever searching for the moon…


Anna :o]


An oldie, resurrected.

I still have writers block – although that is probably untrue.  I have become idle and no longer attempt.  I have slipped into lethargy and my creative juices have dried up/evaporated.

That said, in the past year I have been inspired to write once, sad words, and although done, I am not quite ready to publish yet.  I think I probably will early next year.

In the interim I will endeavour to visit here often, become inspired by the prompts and finally write (regularly) again.

Shared with Poets & Storytellers United, hosted by the lovely Rosemary - cheers Rosemary!

Image:  Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photographer: Pierre Dalous

Sunday 14 February 2021



Flashing crashing

through the waves

striking diving

into the deep

great and wonderful

the orca whale


Jamie (aged five)


As I am still suffering from a severe case of writers block, my lovely grandson Jamie has stepped up to fill the void.

On Thursday, his teacher sent him a picture of an orca whale and asked him to write a poem about it and above is the wonderful result!  Well done Jamie!

I asked Jamie if I could post his poem here, and thrilled he said “Yes!”

Thanks Jamie and a big Hello to my other lovely grandson and your lovely brother Theo!

Shared with good folk at P&SU's Poetry Pantry, hosted by the lovely Rosemary – cheers Rosemary!


Image:  Courtesy of Flickr  "Orca Roll" by Matthew_Allen is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Sunday 31 January 2021

3 Across (cryptic)


I have paper

weighted down by coffee cup

as autumn winds

seem intent on catching it, lifting it,

giving it the gift of flight. 

I am stuck on 3 across

(and will marvel at its genius

when it finally falls-into-place)

and then I see him (all screwed up)


and wonder what demons he does battle with.


A wasp alights to feed on sugar

blown by breeze to strew the table,

I am not frightened of it, of its sting –

my fears lay elsewhere (lay with him).

Will he leave or not?

My fear is that he might stay…

(I am still stuck on 3 across.)


(I marvel at it (the wasp) – tiny, perfect,

life compact in black and yellow skin.)


He unsettles me,

something I-cannot-quite-put-my-finger-on.

Is angst communicable ‘cross café tables?

He lights a cigarette,

takes one puff of it

then snaps it, throws it to the ground.

With anguished moan he lights another

and sucks at it, sucks at it as if there is no



He has that leg thing,

right leg jerks up and down

causing chair to rattle.

He groans as he wraps head in hands.

A backfiring car elicits

startled wide-eyed response,

he panics, half screams,

slams fists down heavy,

shattering plate and peace.


He sees them (and me) voyeuring,

shouts “What the f**ck you looking at?”

stands, upturns chair and table

and with one loud “F**K YOU!

storms off into his private hell.


(I am still stuck on 3 across.)


Anna :o]


Having (hopefully) temporary writers block (again), I have dredged up an oldie and tweaked it a little.

This is a true story.  I worked nights for years and after my final shift, I would meet my friend most Wednesday mornings for breakfast and then go shopping, even if mostly window shopping and then often go to another café for a mid-day meal.

The words are an account of what I viewed whilst sitting at a pavement table, while doing a cryptic crossword as I awaited the arrival of my friend.  I love cryptic crosswords.  If memory serves me well, I wasn’t stuck on 3 across, but whichever it was, it didn’t have the right ring to it, so 3 across it became.

Shared with the good folk at PSU Writers' Pantry # 55, hosted by the lovely Rommy, cheers Rommy!

Image:  Courtesy of Flickr "Do we have enough clothes?? Is our house safe?? Is it difficult to change diapers?? Will I ever sleep the next 18 years???" by zetson is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Thursday 21 January 2021

The Significance of Birds


Death comes in threes

she says solemnly as if somehow

mere utterance of these words

will cause the Sword of Damocles

to hang teetering, teetering over the head

of some soon-to-be-dead    unfortunate.


We do Last Offices;

lay him on the purest whitest sheet. 

First stage (Clinical),

turn him and he groans

as last air expels from lungs

and watch horrified

as blood spills in rivers through his lips. 

Can you now understand my pain? 

his dead body asks.


We lay him prostrate

as if in reverence to his God

and cleanse all that is corporeal,

gently pull his legs apart

and place padded pants. 

Oh the indignity of death

his dead body oozes.


Second Stage (Aesthetics),

he now supine, gazes

with unseeing eyes

as we again wash away his life,

trim brows and beard,

anoint him with essential oils,

dress him in his Sunday best. 

I am at rest now his dead body whispers,

I am ready and we usher in his family,

leave them to their grieving. 


My best friend wants me to lay her out I say

as we both drained,

clutch at warming coffee cups.


Y’know she says,

on my way into work today

there were magpies, four strutting confident.  

Four for death. 

Do you think…?


Just as I mean to tell her she is stupid

I see crow and catch my breath

as he tap tap taps upon the window.


Caw, caw, caw(pse) he advises

as he views me with his beady eyes,

and one not prone to superstition,

nevertheless, a chill shivers down my spine.


Anna :o]


An oldie shared with the good folk at dVerse OLN, hosted by the lovely Sanaa.  Cheers Sanaa!

Also shared at PSU's Poetry Pantry hosted by the lovely Rosemary.  Cheers Rosemary!

Image:  Courtesy of Flickr "Crows" by In Memoriam: Mr. Ducke is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Friday 1 January 2021

Fox: Winter Feasts


Stripped bare

by autumn’s theft,

skeletal now,

her frigid branches


to touch the warmth

of rising Sol.


Dormouse, dormant,

curled deep in winters sleep,

scratched out

by Hungry Fox -


opportunist he,

he watches, waiting

as Redbreast bobs

through evergreen

bearing seasons berries.


And she,  



by her luscious feast

of rich red rubies,

becomes easy fare,



on his winter table.


Anna :o]


An oldie, extracted from the tomb of the long-ago written and almost forgotten, as tis the season...

Wishing all a Happy New Year - it has to better than last year, hasn’t it?

Shared at earthweal open link weekend #51 hosted by Brendan – cheers Brendan!

 Image:   Courtesy of Flickr

Author:  "Misty Morning Sunrise." by Neil. Moralee is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Sunday 6 December 2020

Storm Brewing


Rain streams

in never-ending rivulets,


obscures vision.


The unremitting

rhythmic wurr



of wiper-blades

irritates, marks time

as you sit behind the wheel

fix-gazed on anything but me.


This is an oft travelled road,

I anticipate the coming storm,

sense the thunder,

wonder what will precipitate

the squall.


I watch the blades

raise the tempo

as they swish to and fro,

aggravate existing fury,

heavens darken, heighten fear

and you glance at me hate-faced

and I know the time is near –

tis not only skies that will blacken.


Anna :o]

Shared with the wonderful folk at P&SU Writers Pantry #45, hosted by the lovely Rommy – cheers Rommy!

 Image:  Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.

Author:  "Bad sky, wet road. #Traffic #rain #ColumbusOhio" by Howard TJ is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Thursday 12 November 2020


She has cut it out, her heart. 

She has stitched it together, it was broken. 

It is now tethered to her wrist by a string. 


It floats.  It beats. 

It is… (cold   (it is as frigid as ice))


“Beautiful, YOU are” he says as he lies down beside her

(it’s not the he, the heartless heartbreaker

but some unfortunate sap who just doesn’t get

that he’s plain out of his luck.)


He will die, this is certain, for the sins of the other,

the absentee lover who left her dejected rejected

that broke up her heart


She allows him to take her.  He takes her

and heightened with  passion she brings the knife down.

She roughly rolls him aside and he pleads with her quietly,

quiet quizzical Whys(?) filling his emptying eyes.


His lights have gone out – she feels both loss and elation.

She gathers her senses, carves out his heart,

flash fries it (in butter), then consumes it with gusto

with relish and tatties, fried onions and peas. 

Yum!  Yum!


She smiles…

One down and countless to go!

Hoorah!  Hoorah!  Hoorah!


Anna :o]

Just in case you’re worried, I love men, well most men, but I don’t love all women either (except in pies…). 

Words for the lovely Magaly who is hosting P&SU Weekly Scribblings#45: Artistic Interpretations and whose inspirational prompts are of three images.  (I have used two and the image above is “Carnival Dreams”, by Shelle Kennedy.  The words “Beautiful YOU are” re “Beautiful, YOU are”, by Magic Love Crow)

Also shared with the good folk at dVerse Open Link Night hosted by the lovely Linda.  Cheers Linda!

Friday 6 November 2020


Under the guise of nonchalance,

she quickly resets her bones,

stitches her gaping wounds

and paints a smile on her face.


It is imperative he sees her smile.  

That smile,

that smile of gratitude, of humility,

that smile of acceptance,

that smile of knowing her place in his world.   


that tiny space, forever closing in.


She sets the table.

(He will be home soon.)

(He is home now.)


She plates the dinner; it must be set so precisely.

The meat from nine to three o’clock,

the potatoes, mashed (absolutely no lumps)

milked and buttered at three to six

and the rest of time filled with peas

(garden) buttered and counted –

their numbers must be even,

God they must be even!


The gravy,   shimmering with meat juices,

just the right thickness fills two thirds of the boat. 

(Perfect she thinks and feels the excitement the joy of success,

of doing the right things for her man).

(He will be pleased; of this she is (almost) certain...)


He sits, glares at her, his mouth a snarl,

her smile momentarily drops but she quickly resets it;

nervous now, hands shaking, chest near imploding…

she waits…


He trawls the plate with his fork,

searching for desired imperfections…

he is counting the peas,

looks up with that look in his eyes

and his fists hammer down on the table. 

(God the pea count is wrong,

the pea count is wrong, the pea count is wrong!)


He explodes in a fury, his fists battle her body

and battered and bruised she drops to the floor. 

YOU’RE FECKING USELESS! (he screeches),

slapping that smile off  her face, kicking her foetal-curled body,

and he turns on his feet, shouts obscenities, storms out of the room,

slamming the door behind him.  She cries…


She composes herself, resets her bones,

stitches her wounds, paints on her smile,

huddles in her tiny space, her ever so tiny space,  

disappearing (as she is)

in ever decreasing circles…


Anna  :o]

Written for  – cheers for the prompt Rommy!

(I can't figure out how to do links on New Blogger so will have to try and get my head round it...)

Image (the nearest I could find):  Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons  - 'Photo © Acabashi'  ‘Steak and ale pie at Sainsbury's Low Hall, Chingford, London

Sunday 26 April 2020


He is wise, wise and wizened;
hair thinning, salt and pepper seasoned;
brow lined and furrowed,   quizzical? 
Brows: bushy, grey and wiry;
eyes blue and vision fading;
nose: large and Roman
(now too long and thin (he thinks) -
My, I can almost see where bone blanches skin). 
Cheeks: skin thick and craggy;
mouth small, pursed and wrinkled;
chin cleft, stubble sprinkled.

Ah, and below the chin –
the bugger that will be the death of him. 
Untreated – he too old (he thinks)
for wrath of radiation beam
or cruel brunt of surgeons knife.

So this is he, this is who he is
above the faltering heart in heaving chest –
his face an echo - a diary of a life well-lived. 
His mouth clenching pipe, pipe-puffing,
puffing pipe (vanilla flavour and aroma)
he reminisces on the joys of yesteryears. 
He is alone – yet not lonely,
his memories’ - companions of his past and present. 

(He sips Jack Daniels – no, swigs it back,
his body welcoming each soothing warming mouthful.)

He thinks: if death comes tonight I hope it comes easy –
no crushing pain of heart arrest…  

But should he be blessed to live another day,
to see tomorrow – he will live it for the love of it. 
But should he not he knows    (yes he knows)
that those that gather grimly at his graveside
to pay homage to his passing spirit,
will sigh,    smile and softly say: 

Ah Alex,
he lived life for the love of it.

Anna :o]

An oldie regurgitated and shared in these strange times.
Stay safe!

Shared with the good folk at Poets and Storytellers United, hosted by the lovely Magaly – cheers Magaly!

Also shared with the good folk at dVerse OLN, hosted by the lovely Kim- cheers Kim!

Image:  Courtesy of  Wikimedia Commons

Thursday 5 March 2020

One Night Stand

An elaborate ritual,
you dance behind
my shower screen.

Intimately connected,
I watch
as you wash away
the memory of me.

you leave,
passing me
without recognition.

Anna :o]

Shared at dVerse OLN, hosted by Grace– cheers Grace!

Also shared with the good folk at Poets and Storytellers United Writer's Pantry #10 hosted by the lovely Sanaa - cheers Sanaa!

Image:  Courtesy of Flickr "August 30, 2016" by osseous is licensed under CC BY 2.0 

Friday 28 February 2020


Garth shook the bottle in his hand and the funny little humans - pickled for eternity - were so compacted they hardly moved.  He found it hard to comprehend that a species so primitive would be viviparous, thinking that they surely would lay eggs. 

His father had given him a passel of the ugly little things for his fifth birthday, and he had watched them develop and multiply in the glass farm that had sat on his bedroom desk, this for what seemed the eternity of his childhood.  He had found their mode of procreation odd then.  But then they were mere insects and intellectually dulled life forms, but yet seemed industrious and he had marvelled at their efforts to achieve betterment, this always thwarted by their predilection for battle and want. 

It was in his late teens that when thinking of the dire straits of his world, of overpopulation and resulting food shortages, he had considered these little humans might be a possible source of protein - a bar snack maybe - and his idea had progressed into that of pickling them in red hot spices.  He loved the way they looked in the bottle, reminding him of foetuses bathing gently in amniotic fluid awaiting birth. 

"Garth the quondam loser - now the man of the hour" he sighed happily.  He picked one out.  "Hello ugly" he grinned as he popped the tender morsel in his beak.  Money money money, I’m in the money! Winner winner winner,  I’m in the money!

(Meanwhile, back at the factory, his dad, the CEO of one of the world’s largest manufacturers of pesticides, almost burst with pride as production began of the new super-duper Humandead, a 100% guaranteed killer of the human bugs that ate the crops that should fill his belly, the fact that it killed all the other bugs that pollinated said crops mattered to him not.  Who gives a toss, he thought as mental images of £ signs rushing into his bank filled his stupid little head.  Who gives a toss?)

Anna :o] 

For Brendan at openweal open link weekend #9  – cheers Brendan

Thursday 20 February 2020


Death will come unbidden,
it will not come today
it will come tomorrow.  

He will be tomorrow’s ghost.  

He half expects it,
his mind played out its scene a hundred times before.   
He cannot envision pain
rather seeing blood spill
from imagined gaping wounds. 
His wish is if and when it comes
it will be quick. 

It is.

This theatre, this theatre of war,
he plays but a minor role;
he is expendable, no glory in his death,
no rapturous applause 
at his final curtain call.

There will be no homecoming,
no coffin draped in national flag. 
His remains are no remains at all,
mere fragments scattered on a foreign land,
fragments that putrefy and leach into the soil.

He is here, on this hillside,
his life extinguished where this tree now stands,
he is part of it,
it absorbed his memory
tapped it through its searching roots,
its twigs and branches now his arms and hands.

He is unaware
as his leaves turn blood-red and fall;
it is the cycle of things,
lines quite never understood,
lines never learnt in war. 
He has become the Earth. 
It is the nature of things.

Anna :o]

An oldie, resurrected and shared on Open Link Night at dVerse - cheers for hosting Lillian!

Also shared with the good folk on Writers' Pantry #8 at P&SU. hosted by the lovely Magaly - cheers Magaly!

Image:  Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons:

Sunday 16 February 2020


She had heard it all before.  "Déjà moo.  Déjà moo," she sneered in a dreary bored tone that perfectly reflected her present feelings for him.   Bastard!  Bastard!  Bastard!  “You drink too much and I hate you when you’re like this!” he had said as he pushed her away.

She had loved him and still did, oh how much she still wanted him, arsehole that he was.  Like her, he was a member of the burgeoning community of ad hoc families that were spreading like an unwanted disease in the empty houses that littered the right side of town.  The more the squatters moved in, the more those who considered themselves respectable moved out.

He didn’t understand that drink sharpened her mind, made her more creative, esemplastic as her diverse extraordinary thoughts melded into one.  He didn’t realise that she needed the drink to create her masterpiece.

She gazed at him scornfully as he lay stoned sleeping on the bare mattress, sharing his bed with fellow half-stoned druggies, life’s freeloaders and gypsy hearts that inhabited their sleazy little world.  Bloody hypocrite!

Bastard, bastard, bastard!, she thought as she staggered over to the dark corner that served as her “office” slugging at the bottle that served her imagination.  Bastard, bastard, bastard!  I’ll show ya!  I’ll write the damn book!    She took the grubby sheet of A4 and slid it into the old pink typewriter and her fingers began touch typing, tapping out her masterpiece.

Capter One

Christine decide yjsy djr epi;f yitm dkre[o’fyoymjker … … … …

… … … …

Anna :o]

(This is not about me she said (hic!))

Shared with the good folk at the Writers Pantry #7 at Poets and Storytellers United, hosted by the lovely Sanaa.- cheers Sanaa!

Image:  Courtesy of Flickr  Creative Commons, "drunk unicorn" by Tom Frisch is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Monday 27 January 2020


He, the small boy,
two, three maybe,
eyes alive, puzzled, inquisitive,
tugs the wings off a butterfly
eager to know how it works,
maybe understand it a little, he,
innocently snuffing out a brief beautiful life. 

I wonder when he’ll realise
that we,
his teachers, his guides, his role models,
eyes tight shut, blind,
greedy for the needs the wants of now;
rip the wings of everything,

including ourselves.

Anna :o[

Sherry at earthweal asks us to write of how climate change and loss of habitat impacts on the animal kingdom.

During my research into threatened species in the UK, I came across this endangered list on the Countryfile page and it was the image of the small tortoiseshell butterfly that stood out to me.  I cannot honestly recall when I saw this butterfly flutter around my garden but know it will have been a long long time ago.  The only butterfly I see is the common white although that maybe is only three or four in an entire year.

Seeing the image of the butterfly made me think of my children when they were young and now my small grandchildren innocently squishing the life out of insects, unaware (until told) that they are living breathing and beautiful creations.

It also reminded me as when a child (five-six maybe), I and my friends sometimes caught dragonflies, put them in Welfare Foods dried baby milk tins and kicked the tin around until the dragonfly was dead.  Why we did this I don’t know, but the memory is still there some sixty years on and I know this is down to guilt, for even then, something inside of me knew that it was wrong.

Apart from pollinating bees, I think we humans tend to forget the insect kingdom, as insects are not warm-blooded and potentially cuddly, but oh we need them so so much, they are the earth’s levellers.  We really really need them!   Our lives depend on them.

Please read The Insect Apocalypse Is Here, featured in The New York Times Magazine – it a very informative interesting and educational read.  And rather scary too…

Having just looked out of the French doors here, looking at nothing in particular,  made me remember that for the past three years or so, in summer months, when the doors are open, pesky flies rarely enter this room, perhaps only once to thrice a year.  Where have they all gone?

Image:  Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Author:  Rob Young from United Kingdom

Saturday 18 January 2020


In utero, slumbering  
budding into fruitful blossom,
I awoke,    here,    in this place,
twixt linens pure, pristine & niveous,
now splattered haemochrome,
cast chaotic, torn of loves labours,
of earthly surrogate.

(She: accoucheuse, fat and hoary,
bites through umbilicus.)  

A birthing,
footling born of chaos
toe dipping into Mother Earth,
I sang of Satan, hailed his glory.

Women wailing 
cluttered into corners,
black in wretched robes of mourning,
mourning my deliverance,
freedom from confines of merest mortal,
accoucheuse bite   and worldly tether torn.

Oh you fools virid of envy,
minds icteritious of greed –
how well you do my work,
feed my lust my hunger 
my want of your destruction,
stoke fires of your eternal hell.

The devils spawn,
I am born of your desire,
you harbingers of the death,
destroyers of all tomorrows, 
how well you do my work!

Do my work,
rape your Earth,
bleed her dry.

I shall spread my wings
fly into your tomorrows,
suck sulphureous sun cerulean skies
into my atrous heart.

(Wings fluttering will cast a storm  
the like you’ve never known.)

Anna :o]

These words first published in 2014, re- posted today for earthweal open link weekend #3.  Cheers Brendan.

Image: courtesy of flickr 

Sunday 12 January 2020


The squiggly presentation was the hallmark of Daphne’s chirography, unmistakable to him; his heart skipped a beat and then thumped on his chest wall as if begging him to read the beauty and wisdom of her words now!   Of course he did.

She was a difficult one and getting her to put pen to paper was more than a little velitation, more so full battle requiring he and his lab assistants to goad her relentlessly (he was surprised at his ready ability to be cruel) and once enraged the words would eruct from her like some volcano simmering below the surface, suddenly spewing forth its matter in a violent torrent.

Her work was a strange masterpiece indeed for not only was she the subject of his research, clever little thing that she was, she was actually writing his research paper too.   He could visualise it being poured over, scrutinised by his peers and then the acclaim, the acclaim, the acclaim!

He felt a smug smile crease his face, he sniggered; he had taken literally the challenge of the idiom "that a half-dozen monkeys provided with typewriters would, in a few eternities, produce all the books in the British Museum."   It was not that he expected her to scribe a full library, rather a single tome of exquisite beauty, bursting at the seams with infinite wisdom.

Only difference was, he had given her a cheap biro and no other monkeys or eternities needed thank you very much – just regular shocks from a cattle prod, until painfully defeated, she came up (screeching) with the goods.

Anna :o]

Shared with the good folk at Poets & Storytellers United hosted by the lovely Magaly, cheers Magaly!

Image:  Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Author:  New York Zoological Society