The Perils of Making a Baby

In honour of yesterday’s UK Mothering Sunday, here’s a poem from my published collection, Hormoanal, describing pregnancy.


What We Do

For Paul


Writers write and painters paint but artists don’t art
and musicians don’t mu.
Bikers bike and drivers drive, blimps go limp
but coupes don’t coup.
Coiffeurs coif, hairdressers dress hair,
but nail techs don’t nail techs (or perhaps they do).
Fighters fight, professors profess
but hatters don’t hat and surgeons don’t surge.
If you want a rest, don’t be a restaurateur.
Deference now will be deferred
for dukes might du and earls might er
but kisses and caresses will never ki-care
and lords don’t lord over anyone
the way I lord it over you.
Poets don’t po but they sometimes pout;
love is hard so now and then I want out
but love being love will overcome
and I’d like to…overcome you.
Darling, please, don’t misread my fuss:
this is not adieu, not toodle-oo, for the truth
is there, like shoppers shop and customers cuss,
like flies fly, like beetles beet, like bees just be,
that you
and me
equals us.


I am not a romantic so it won’t surprise you to learn that I forgot that yesterday was Valentine’s Day; this despite the fact that I was booked to do a poetry reading of love poems.

I’d put my memory failure down to my age except that I have form: I have forgotten the occasional anniversary and once, his birthday – having thrown him a party the previous weekend, I can hardly be blamed now, can I? It’s not like a 21st birthday is a big deal…

Happy belated Valentine’s Day, darling. I’m posting this poem as a sop to my romantic readers, as we’ve never celebrated it anyway: love should be shown every day, not just once a year.*


*Where’s my gift?

And the other 44 I should have received, if you’re showing your love every day?



Identity Crisis

Photo by SHVETS production on

A family moment, measuring the boys:
measuring the boys on their own
measuring the boys against each other
measuring the boys against Dad
measuring Dad against Mum
measuring the boys against Mum.

Son, you’re 5’4”, so that’s two inches taller than Mum.
That’s not right. Do it again.
We measure again:
5’4” and 5’2”

No, I’m five foot tall.
I’ve been five foot tall since I was eighteen.
My Dad measured me for my passport
when we emigrated.
Women don’t grow after eighteen.
I was five foot then; I’m five foot now.
I’ll take my slippers off. Do it again.

I ignore the sniggering as they measure once more.
Your tape measure is faulty. Find another one.
Do it against the door. Mark off 5’2” on the door;
I’ll wash it later. I’ll stand under it and you’ll see
a two-inch gap.

I don’t get it.
I don’t understand.
I’m five foot tall. You’ve made a mistake.
You know your Dad was ditzy like y…you know
your Dad was ditzy. He probably made a mistake
when he measured you.

How can you make a mistake with a tape measure?
It’s not possible.
He shrugs.

No. I’m short. I’m dainty.
I’m tiny, like Kylie Minogue.
5’2” is not dainty. It’s not tiny.
It’s not who – not what I am.
I’m five foot tall. I’ve always been five foot tall.
I’m five foot small.

This is like that time my feet grew two sizes
when I emigrated.
I blame South Africa.


Genuine identity crisis. I’m still seething, twelve years later.



Our Christmas Candle

Our Christmas Candle lives in a clay candle pot,
a primary school gift from child to parent.
It has illuminated our Christmas Table for twenty years;
seventeen of them with the original candle.
It is extinguished the moment that last fork jangles
the last plate, that last napkin wipes the last mouth,
on My Orders: candles and crackers do not mix.
The candle must be dead before the prospective
kindling – mini-explosions and paper hats
and fluttering mottos and feeble jokes – flies
like sparklers across the half-empty dishes.

Our Christmas Candle is the first item I remove
from the cluttered Christmas Table: blown out;
dipped in a waiting bowl of water; pressed wick tested
for smoulders; and finally left on a specially cleared
kitchen counter, no tempting tinder in its space,
a miniscule nuclear wasteland of barrenness.
I make periodic checks for spontaneous combustion:
none so far.

The matches which lit our Christmas Candle –
the matches I cannot untremblingly wield to strike
the box to light the Candle to decorate the Dinner Table,
and which are yielded to my husband to activate,
glad to do it, for he is otherwise left redundant
by my Christmas Day Marshal alter ego –
those matches drown for an hour in the kitchen sink
before their green disposal, thus avoiding the probable
Igniting of the Bin which happens in lesser households
with laxer Match & Candle Rules.

Why do I even bother, then?

I bother because my child made that Santa Candlestick;
and I love my child more than I fear fire.
Love is the inextinguishable flame.


I’m taking a break over Christmas but I’ll be back in the New Year. Thank you for your visits, your comments, and your likes in 2021. I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to return nearly as many visits as I’d have liked to, but it’s been a very busy year for me with one thing and another.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate; and see you soon to those who don’t.

Love, Linda x



Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on

For Paul

I believe in God.
To my atheist spouse, it’s illogical to accept the theological:
clearly, the Bible is a fairy story; and if not,
I trust in an egotistical deity – a glory-seeking, dirty dealing
genocidal maniac who will never have my back
because he does not exist.

That’s one way to look at it.

For my man, creation was a cosmological bang
from whence all life sprang:
from nothing, something.

Pretty dumb thinking whether you believe it was God
or ruptured nullity (or God Who ruptured nullity),
that gave us planets, life and gravity.

Yet here we are.

It makes my head explode – thus proving, says my beloved,
his theory: from nothing, something.

My esteemed one calls me an intelligent Christian:
an oxymoron, if you will; or just a moron.
Take your pick.

That’s okay; I have faith that one day
he’ll see things my way
(again, out of nothing, something).

The definition of ‘mythological’ is imaginary, fictitious,
like conjugal accord;
or conjugal apology –
now that’s a mythology.