From the too early to ask but wanting to know
to the shared wanting to the trying to the monthly red stain no.

From the blood tests and food shifts
to the caffeine withdrawal and supplements

from the trying some more to the relief and amazement
to the dancing in the living room joy.

From the tired to the queasy to the secret until 
safe to tell for the congratulations.

From the swelling to the scans the nervous to the healthy
other parents’ stories from the horror to the perfect.

From the haemorrhoids that passed to the ones that bled
through maternity dress on the morning train. 

From the slow slow walk to the tired tired tired
from the phone scroll waiting to the waters breaking

from the induction to the horse breath waves 
of squeeze and release to the remember your horse breath

the pushing and crying the holding and feeding
from the crying and the crying and crying.

From the leaking to the feeding the pooping the leaking
the waking and waking to the crying some more.

From the pain to the fever hot red rocks of infection
to the antibiotics to the happening again.

From the lockdowns the masks to the walks but not sitting
the curfews the radius the zooming the slowing down.

From the packing and moving to the solving and solving 
from the sickness to the steps to new words and daycare.

From the washing to the laundry the soaking and drying 
to the nappies the laundry the food on the floor.

From the potty to the wetting the frustration the refusing
from the anxiety to the getting it but the anxiety still there.

From the wanting only mummy to the not wanting mummy 
from the going back to work to the never having time.

From the wanting again to the saying it out loud
from the positive test to the covid positive test

from the scans to the appointments, the explaining
the announcement to the excitement

the exhaustion at the thought 
of the crying the waking the leaking ahead.

From the nausea to the magnesium to the virus again
to the tired the tired the tired…

From the meltdowns to the accidents the shouting and biting
too tired for games too big now to hide build forts carry run.

From the wait wait wait to the sudden gut punch and gush
from the rush to the shout to the boy.

From the coming home to the blurry
to the cuddles and recovery.

From the sweetness to the adjustment the struggling to adjust
from the meltdowns to the sleep

Oh the sleep.

From the feeding to the social not wanting to miss this time
from the things being open to the please keep being open.

From the trips to the flights the long long haul
from the family to the home again to the growing and growing.

From the jet lag to the waking winter setting in 
from the sleep coming back the good sleeper is back.

From the real estate agents to the doctors
to being blindsided by news

from this thing to the next thing and the next carry on. 

This, Time

“I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.” ― Oscar Wilde

In the spirit of just getting on with it, I’ve started writing a poem a day. It doesn’t have to be great, I don’t need to spend all day on it, I may not even share it with anyone – and somehow those facts have liberated me. Okay, so this is only day two of the project, but I have a good feeling about it.

I always learn something about myself when I write a poem. Yesterday’s poem had these lines in it:

A future exists again and again I say:
This time is a gift.

My ability to think about the future comes and goes and it’s hugely reassuring when I can see those first rays of light above the horizon again, as I can now.

But the slippery nature of the future means it’s always renewing itself and therefore can exist “again and again.” Also, I need to remind myself that having time to write is a gift, so writing a poem a day is really the least I should be doing with that time, something I remind myself of over and over: “and again I say…”

Seeing the future can also help alleviate my anxiety and hold me in the present – enjoying now with a feeling that the future is going to be okay. “This time” is the present; right here and now is a gift.

Having explained my intention with those lines, I do acknowledge that “This time is a gift” is completely cheesy and the kind of memefied nonsense I’ve railed against in the past. So today I changed it to:

A future exists again and again I say:
This time, it’s a gift.

I hope the same levels of meaning remain: A view of the future exists again and again; the two separate thoughts, one of a future existing again after it had disappeared and one of me again telling myself to enjoy the present; and also the acknowledgement of the gift of free time – but I’m learning something else too. The comma changes “this time” so that the future I now see is a gift, something good, implying I’ve seen it before and it looked unappealing or possibly frightening (a classic role for Future to play).

These altered lines reassure me because the slippery nature of a future (note indefinite article still) is grounded slightly with “this time” – perhaps it won’t elude me this time. There’s something different (probably better) about the nature of the future I see…this time.

There’s a feeling of trust too if a future is being gifted to me and I can relax a little from worrying and straining to see or create it myself.

“This time, it’s a gift” also seems to lend more weight to the nature of time when there’s a pause just after the word and it’s reiterated through the pronoun. It expands beyond the present, which we know we must value and into that future – whatever it is this time – time itself is a gift.

But I’m still left trying to reassure myself “again I say: This time…” as if, naively, I’ve believed in this idea every time with as much conviction as I do now.


see snippets of my daily poems on instagram