There is a pain, like no other for me,

the pain of knowing you are together

and I am here.

Locked down, locked away.


The primary classrooms when too tall I towered out of the peer group clusters,

The secondary scythes of wop, diego, spik.

The secret of the shameful family split,

not washing our dirty laundry in public.

I do now.


The only one to not go on the ski-ing trip,

The Littlewoods T-shirt instead of the longed for Fred Perry,

The spots painfully burning me into the darkest corner of my bedroom.


The southerner in a northern town

torn by Tory shipyard closures,

the striking miners

holding out buckets

to my imagined rich, southern, hands,

whilst I dreaded the knock of police

for a fraudulent bus ticket

to save some money.

Lucky to have a full grant,

or I could never have gone.


The suicide,

more secret shame,





not mine.

Nothing here to talk about,

people don’t want to hear it,

please move on.


Move on.

To India, Israel,

searching for what was lost,

not knowing what it was I was looking for

not knowing its form.


And then I found it,

thought I’d keep it

in the back streets of a dockyard town,

shared food and stories

music and late night talking,

whole flocks of us

debating, berating, falling in and falling out


but I couldn’t stay within the terraced streets

the small, warm pub walls

I wanted wild space so I could see the stars.

maybe I should have stayed

in those days

where I was part of the crowd.


Landing in a new place


damp and cold

too far away for visitors and too new to be a local


But the coallescing of a moment

in friendships



young, free

thirty somethings

the future wide open.

Then the winds blew

the tides changed

the seasons turned,

we married

and moved on.


I had hoped the ring would secure the missing thing,

but it trapped the hope in fear,

never lonlier than

sharing sheets

with a body



didn’t trust.

The circle of gold making it hard to leave.


Yet when I did

there it was again,

the mothers at the school gates,

the play dates, the shared sausages and dip-dip

the horse children, hide and seeking

the mothers sharing

until the children aged

and moved on

to the big school

where our presence was no longer required at gates or sports days or proms.


Shining at times

in colleagues,

in offices and corridors,

tales, tears and hilarity


people moved on.

People always seem to move on.


I had imagined that

one day I would

find the bright treasure

of belonging;





longed for

A dream?

that I would be finder and keeper

of its safe





My childhood dreams


of a large and loving


with a farm house table

filled with elbows, leaning in the listen and tell,

where teaspoons clinked on mugs

steaming hot

with love.



a sharp



I wonder if there are people for whom it fits snug,

securely nestling,

knowing they are warm,





Maybe it is me.

Maybe I do not know how to keep the nestling safe

inside of me,

maybe it can’t take root in my restless




I am locked down and out in the cold again.

You are there and I am here,

and whilst we connect electronically,

whilst I know that I want you and you want me,

whilst I know that this is how things must be,

I am a horse and I need my intuitive wise herd,

my roots need myceloid connection.


I want to break the law,

break for the border,

ride wild wide and bareback to join you,

to feel part of something larger than me,

somewhere that I am one of the parts of this great forest of beings,

where our roots entwine to feed,

where we may lean against each other’s trunks,

where we might rest in each other’s shade.

For this has been a year of storms

and no tree should face the thunder of








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