Simple pleasures

Two years ago today I lost a very dear friend.  Whenever I think of her – which is often – I think of her in her garden. She got the greatest pleasure from the simplest things.  A flower growing between the cracks on her terrace. A patch of earth where she could plant something new. She loved nothing more than pottering in her garden, getting things to grow.

I wrote 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In memory of FH who passed away on 5th April, 2016.

May her memory be a blessing.

 

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

 

 

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Mother and Child

You give birth and overnight your life changes. Now there’s someone else who’s always going  to come first with you.  For the rest of your life.  Even when your kids are grown up, barely a day goes by when you don’t think of them.

Here are some poems I’ve written about the parent/child relationship.

I wrote this first one after the birth of our daughter.

Hannah Sleeping                               

  I watch my child asleep in bed

What dreams can she be dreaming

The little sleepy head

I want to build a wall around her cot

Shield her from the world

Instead I tuck the blankets tight

And kiss my sleeping child goodnight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When she got married in 2010, I wrote this:

I watch my child become a wife

What dreams will she be dreaming

For the rest of her sweet life

Their love will build a wall around their world

Around their lives

And as I take her hand in mine

I wish that I could rewind time.

I wrote this next poem in 1995, about six months before my mother died. 

 Role Reversal

Today, I held my mother

sobbing in my arms

Stroking her soft,  fine hair

Her chin nuzzled on my chest

And I could smell

the unforgotten fragrance

of her skin

I held her close

as I have held my children

and felt the frailty of her age

How odd and imperceptibly

the tables turn

And those that you have leaned on

lean on you

Those that you had turned to

turn to you

Now she is the child

And I am the mother

The 6 March was 22 years to the day that my mother died. It often coincides with Mother’s Day in the UK.

  

I visited the grounds at Hoop Lane crematorium – as I do every year – where her ashes were scattered.

You might think that this is a depressing thing to do. But, at this time of the year, it is uplifting. There are thousands of crocuses as far as the eye can see.

For the first time ever, I had a go at writing a haiku.  This is a three line Japanese poem.  It must have five syllables in the first line, seven in the second and five in the third, final line.

Remembrance

Scattered crocuses

Ashes scattered on the grass:

Scattered memories

 

© Andrea Neidle. My Life in Poems


The 7 Ages of Woman

The 7 Ages of Woman

 

 

 

 

 

Noise making

Milk taking

Night waking

 

Friend making

Exam taking

Internet dating

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love making

Love faking

Heart breaking

 

Breakfast making

Children waking

School taking

 

Bed making

Cake baking

Leaves raking

 

 

 

 

 

 

Limbs shaking

Bones aching

Will making

 

Heart aching

Leave taking

Forsaking

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


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


Remembering

 I wrote this next poem in 1995, about six months before my mother died.

 Role Reversal

Today, I held my mother

sobbing in my arms

Stroking her soft,  fine hair

Her chin nuzzled on my chest

And I could smell

the unforgotten fragrance

of her skin

I held her close

as I have held my children

and felt the frailty of her age

How odd and imperceptibly

the tables turn

And those that you have leaned on

lean on you

Those that you had turned to

turn to you

Now she is the child

And I am the mother

MUM AND DAD BEFORE THEY WERE ENGAGED. LATE 1920S? THEY WERE MARRIED IN 1936.SONY DSCmum

In memory of Freda Hetty Finn.  Born London, December 13 1910. Died 6 March 1996.

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


Friendship

 

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

 

 


Home

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