Remembering my mother


Heart Thumpers


A faux brass case of old photographs

None of them good

And yet she kept them

A shopping list

Scrawled and barely legible

But in her hand

A birthday card signed “with love”

A button waiting to be sewn on

A compact that was once beautiful

Her glove

Her handkerchief

Her fragrance

“Heart Thumpers”

It says on the little case

Of photographs

Me squinting into the summer sun

How old could I have been?

Our children at play

Her unsmiling passport photo

All found in the drawer beside her bed

Throw them away, my father said

But I kept them all

The little things that made up her life

Keepsakes in a crystal bowl

That once held her make up

I open it reverently once a year

To smell the fragrance

Of that unforgotten past








© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems



Recently I lost a very dear friend.  She was seldom happier than when she was in her garden.

I have written this poem for her.


Frankie’s garden


As I walk round her garden

Frankie is with me

She is there in the whispering grass

And the poppies growing so free

Last year, I said, the earth was bare

And now the flowers have grown

Last year, she said, I was still here

But now you are alone

A robin came to say hello

We wanted him to stay

He sang a song and then was gone

Like me he’s flown away, she said

Like me he’s flown away.

grass pic









© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems



Thoughts on Mother’s Day – 6 March 2016

Mother’s Day has come round again.

It is especially poignant for me this year as it falls upon the day that my own mother died – twenty years ago today.

How I wish I could tell her about all the good things that have happened in my life. Especially that – were she alive today – she would now have five great grandchildren.

The last of these, a baby girl, was born only two weeks ago. Our first granddaughter after four grandsons!

Welcome to the world – Lily Hetty Ross.












I make no apologies for reposting this poem I wrote for Mother’s Day last year:


Every Day is Mother’s Day

First smile, first laugh, first sweet embrace

The tender way they touch your face

Every day is mother’s day


First sit, first crawl, first tooth, first walk

The joy when they begin to talk

Every day is mother’s day 


The fun when they begin to play

The cries when they don’t get their way

Every day is mother’s day


The day they start to question why

And ask what happens when you die

Every day is mother’s day 


The climbs, the falls, the hurts, the tears

As they learn to overcome their fears

Every day is mother’s day


The very first day you’re on your own

You take them to school, come home alone

Every day is mother’s day

The very first time they stay out late

And you remember your first date

Every day is mother’s day


And then one day you’re on your own

They’ve fled the nest, the kids have gone

Every day is mother’s day


The love, the joy, the guilt, the pain

The more you give, the more you gain.

You know you’d do it all again

Every day is mother’s day.

20160103_180949 for blog

© Andrea Neidle

My Life in Poems

Pearl Harbor

Recently I visited Pearl Harbor in Hawaii where, on December 7, 1941, hundreds of Japanese fighter planes made a surprise attack on the American naval base.

More than 2000 soldiers and sailors died that day and another thousand were wounded. It was this that finally precipitated Franklin Roosevelt to enter the Second World War.

Here’s my poem about that day:

The Pear Harbor Rainbow

They were doing mundane things




Polishing their shoes

Writing letters home

Getting over the night before

When they’d been on the town

Dancing, drinking, kissing

Making love



They were young

And who knew

What tomorrow would bring

Now here they are entombed forever

In their watery grave

The list of names goes on and on and on

900 men

Taken by surprise

And to this day

Oil still seeps from the sunken ship

And lies there on the water

Like a fallen rainbow

They say it is the tears of the dead


And we who are lucky enough to be alive

Weep for them.











One of the many moving exhibits at Pearl Harbor is this poem which, we are told, Eleanor Roosevelt kept with her at all times.

For me, its message is as relevant and meaningful today as it was then. If you know who wrote it, please tell me.

Lest I continue
My complacent way,
Help me to remember
Somehow out there
A man died for me today.
As long as there be war,
I then must
Ask and answer
Am I worth dying for?


© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems




I am home from school

I open the unlocked back door

and step in from the sunshine

The house smells of all things good

Mum I’m home

I call out up the stairs

It is 1958

and the ones I love have yet to die

Nothing shakes my world

My life is calm, solid, safe

I have yet to have my heart broken

or woken from nightmares

I have yet to see

people jumping hand in hand

from burning towers

No suicide bombers

haunt my dreams

I am surrounded by love

Goodnight, sleep tight

Sweet dreams

Mum, I’m home.

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


March 6 

It has come round again.

It is Friday night

And I light the Sabbath candles

in the candlesticks

that once belonged to her

It has come round again.

I remember her voice

her smile, her kiss

When I hold our grandchildren

I wonder

was she like this with me

It has come round again.

None of us can remember

those first years

No film to help us

No one to ask

They have all gone

I know that I was loved

And that has to do.

It has come round again.

Our memorial candles

are all used up

And we hunt one down in Tesco

Now the Yahrzeit candle can be lit

Now she can be remembered

As if I ever forget

Me at 15 months with my mother

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

Remembrance Day










Those of you not living in the UK may not be aware of the amazing art installation currently on display at The Tower of London, “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red”. It has been visited by about four million people to date and movingly marks one hundred years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the First World War.

Created by ceramic artist, Paul Cummins, 888, 246 ceramic poppies have been used to fill the Tower’s moat over the summer. Every single poppy represents a British military fatality during the war.

The very last poppy was planted today – Remembrance Day.

To mark today, here’s a verse from one of my favourite war poems, “For the Fallen” by Robert Laurence Binyon who wrote so movingly about those who died.

For the Fallen

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.


Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)



© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems