Love is a rich tapestry

For my daughter who turns one today. For my husband who has been the most excellent of father’s for a whole year. And for myself, past, present and future, who continues to evolve and whose life is infinitely better because of you:

Love is a rich tapestry

Flesh of my flesh,
I nourished you at my breast
And watched you grow.
I thought I would be your guide,
But confess I was surprised,
At how much I still needed to know.

I watch you learn,
But learn from you in my turn.
To take simple delight in the purity,
Of everyday marvellous things,
Like the technical mastery of fingers,
And of what it is to just be.

To amuse you I jump,
You clap your hands as again I leap up,
And I feel the wonder actively,
That, as you laugh in delight,
And I jump up to take flight,
I’m free, for a few moments, of even gravity.

Fruit of my loin,
You have filled my life with joy.
I’ve taken pleasure in being your nurse,
But this world I brought you into
Belongs not to me but to you.
You are master of this new universe.

Miracle in the making,
This world is your’s for the taking.
People ask what hopes I have for you?
But that answer is not mine to give.
Your life is your’s alone to live,
To others be kind, to yourself be true.

You are like me but uniquely other,
And I cannot wait to discover
Your likes, dislikes, dreams and ambitions.
These things that give your personality shape,
That will help you choose your own way,
To find your future of your own volition.

Blood of my blood,
Go forth with my love
And with this understanding:
Whatever it is that makes you happy,
Whoever you decide you want to be,
I will always be your champion.

Love is a rich tapestry
That exceeds biology, history and geography.
It is the greatest gift I can bestow.
Let it support you when days seem tough,
Let it revive you when you’ve had enough.
You will have it with you where you go.


My body and I


Let’s face the facts, body:
I’ve never really liked you.
I don’t think of you as being a part of me,
‘we’ aren’t one but two.
My own worst enemy.
Perhaps unfair but undeniably true.

I ‘divorced’ you at seven;
Told you were too big by a ‘friend’.
Sure, it was cruel of them;
Bringing my self-consciouslessness to an end.
I was never so innocent of vanity again,
My container mattered, I had to comprehend.

It wasn’t all bad, often I failed to remember
I was supposed to wish you a match
For the model images, svelte and slender.
But once awoken it was hard to detach
From that important element of my gender:
My body was supposed to make me a catch.

I confess, I haven’t treated you well,
I stuffed you with chocolate and cheese.
Ate too much junk and allowed you to swell
Beyond limits society told me would please.
So at times I starved you in attempts to quell
The increasing mass that caused me unease.

You’ve been scarred, scalded and strained,
Bloodied, beaten, burned and bruised.
But every injury that was ever sustained
I always interpreted as a sign of abuse
Of the malicious way you caused me pain.
I blamed you without sympathy or excuse.

My mental and physical couldn’t be united.
I had ambitions for us you couldn’t supply,
My catwalk ambitions went unrequited,
The skinniness I desired you couldn’t satisfy.
It was your fault I couldn’t be dieted,
Your cravings that stopped you from being an ally.

At various points I’ve wished parts of you changed:
Bigger and smaller, lengthened and shortened.
If I could I’d have gladly had you exchanged
For anything I felt to be less of a burden.
It’s really little wonder we became so estranged
When so many requests upon you were importuned.

But I’ve begun to realise, in this relationship of ours,
That I’m the reason things haven’t been great;
It’s because of me that everything soured.
And now I want to move from this cycle of hate
To embrace you again, move forward empowered
To stop being hung up on issues like weight.

It’s about time I offered you some gratitude
Some recognition that really you are a miraculous thing
Something more than a meaningless platitude
About how things could be worse so I shouldn’t be worrying.
Grudgingly grateful for your functionality is a little screwed,
Sure, you aren’t broken but there’s more that you bring.

In reality most don’t see you as a monstrosity,
Humanity doesn’t see you as an anomalous blip!
And for those that do think us quite the atrocity,
Well they deserve nothing more than a finger to flip!
Despite my obvious and unjust animosity,
Together we’ve had a pretty good trip.

You’ve been my constant companion and plaything.
Together we’ve jumped and danced and entertained.
We’ve glided in the air and done other things hair-raising,
We’ve completed a half marathon after we trained.
There’s really no doubt you are simply amazing
So I’m sorry that our relationship has been so strained.

And now you’ve achieved the best thing of all,
As you worked so hard to bear me a daughter,
Before she moved from my belly to the cradle
So much changed as you made room for the squatter.
It was a supreme feat and I’ll forever be grateful.
So what if my waist expanded and breath became shorter?

And as our baby entered the world,
I thought of all the things I wanted for her.
When I think of how her future will unfurl,
I desperately hope body image won’t be a self-saboteur
Because it’s so evident she’s the most perfect girl
I hope our flawed relationship won’t be transferred.

So today, my body, I make you this vow
No longer will I look at you with disappointment or spite
I promise to love you as you are now
To accept that whatever shape you are it’s really alright
So however you change, whether you become lean or round
I’ll love you, my body, and cherish you with delight.

And hopefully, from my example, our girl will learn
That how you look really isn’t important,
I’ll show her we are happy and, with any luck, in turn
Her unity with herself will not be surplanted,
Who she is and how she looks will be of little concern
And she’ll love herself without taking her body for granted.


‘Twas the night’ – L’escalade


Twas the right time of a year for a repost – Happy Escalade Geneva and all who sail in her!

Twas the night of midwinter, when all through Geneva,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a beaver,
The washing all hung, by the chimney with care,
In hopes that come morning, dry clothes would be there,
The children were nestled, all safe in their beds,
While scents of hot soup, filled their sweet heads,
And Madame in her bonnet, apron in her lap,
Had just settled down, for a long winters nap,
When out on the walls, there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed, to see what was the matter.
Away to the window, I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash,
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Gave the lustre of midday to object below,
When what to my wandering eyes should appear,
But enemy troops, in formidable gear,
With the Duke of Savoy, so lively and quick
I knew in a moment, this was a devilish trick.
In blackened armour, they scaled the walls,
As they clambered, and scrambled, and planned our downfall.
Now musketeer, now canoneer, now pikeman, now fusilier,
On scoundrel, on crook, on rascal, damned villains!
To the top of the outer wall, to the foot of the inner wall
Now dash-away, dash-away, and damned you all!
A sentry alerted that all is awry,
Having met with alarm, emits a loud cry,
But up to the money gate, the rapscallions they flew,
With an armoury full of weapons, and bad intent too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard from the gloom,
A rattling, and clattering from our little room,
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Away from the kitchen, Mère Royaume came with a bound.
She was dressed in night wear, from her head to her foot,
And her apron, tied round her, had remained put,
A cauldron of soup, she turned to with a knack,
And engaged in removing it from the hot rack,
Her eyes, how they darkened; her brows, how creased,
Her lips were drawn tight, her anger unceased,
Her bare little feet scuttled across the floor,
As she emerged from the kitchen door,
The lump of her pot, she held tight with gritted teeth,
And the steam it encircled her head like a wreath.
She had a broad face, and little beads of sweat,
From all the effort were making her wet,
She was determined and grim, a right angry old elf,
I started when I saw her, in spite of myself,
A wink of her eye and a twist of her head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread,
She spoke not a word, but went straight to her work,
And from the window, her soup she upturned, with a jerk,
From the enemy below a cry soon arose,
Rising up through the night, we heard their woes,
The brigands at bay, burned by the soup, gave a whistle,
And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle,
But I heard Madame exclaim, as the enemy fled from sight,
“Happy Escalade to all, and to all a goodnight!”
© Courtesy of

© Image courtesy of


With credit to Clement Clarke Moore’s “‘Twas the night before Christmas” poem which inspired, and provided some of the lines, for my parody.
You can find l’escalade Part 2 here.

My house isn’t big enough


I remember my mum telling me a story once, which was probably linked to my whinging about something but I’ve forgotten those details. The story goes a little something like this:

Man: ‘God, my house isn’t big enough can you do something to help?’

And God, thinks about it, rubbing his great beard between thumb and forefinger and replies ‘Okay buddy, I’ve heard your complaint, I’ve got a few things to deal with at the moment but l see your problem and I promise I’ll get round to it.’ He rubs his great beard between thumb and forefinger and adds, ‘Look whilst I’m working on your problem, you couldn’t help me out a bit and just store a few things for me, just whilst I’ve got the decorators in sprucing up the old heaven, could you?’

The man replies, because he’s a decent chap ‘Sure God, happy to help’

And so God sends to the man in his too small house a room’s worth of furniture, prototype arks of the Covenant that sort of thing.

After a month, the man is struggling more than ever in his too small house and so he gets in touch with the great man upstairs once again, ‘God,’ he said, ‘Do you remember that I told you about the problem with my house being too small and you said you’d look into it and in the meantime asked me to store a few things for you?’ he gently reminded the omniscient once, in case the minor details had slipped his cavernous mind.

‘Well of course I remember,’ God chuckles ‘you didn’t think I’d forgotten you and planned to leave you with your too small house and all of my things forever did you?’

The man who had begun to wonder precisely that emits a little relieved chuckle.

‘No, no no I promise you I’m working on the very solution rigt now, it’s just a little more complicated than I thought and taking a little while longer than planned.’ Said God, ‘but you couldn’t do me another teensy favour whilst I work on your problem could you?’ he adds.

‘Sure, whatever I can do to help,’ promised the man.

‘Great!’ said God in his big booming voice, ‘I knew you were the man to help! It’s just I’m currently having a problem with the power and the lighting in the terrarium is currently out, so all my little turtles, there’s only a hundred or so’ just need somewhere with a bit of electricity where they can relocate for a little while, thanks so much for agreeing to help out!’

‘But…,’ starts the man but he changes his mind, he knows God must know best so he returns to his too small home already filled with the roomful of furniture and clears another room to setup for God’s terrarium and it’s hundred or so turtle inhabitants.

Another month passes and our man is really struggling, his house just isn’t big enough for God’s furniture and terrarium and so he gently clears his throat and opens communications again. ‘Excuse me God, it’s just it’s been another month and my house really is too small…’ he starts.

God quickly leaps in ‘Buddy! my main man, thanks again for all your help with the storage and the turtles, I’m really almost there on that house problem just a little while longer.’

The man responds ‘okay no problem, well I’m here whenever you are ready,’ and he quickly tries to end the call because he has a sneaky suspicion he knows what’s next.

‘Hey, before you go’ says God, quick as an all-knowing flash, ‘you couldn’t just help me out with one more thing could you, I have all these polar bears who recently turned up at the old pearly gates, what you didn’t know there were polar bears in heaven, what kind of place would thus be without any animals? Anyway, the paperwork is a mess and I just need somewhere for them to stay for a bit whilst we can sort things out otherwise we’ll end up putting the wrong polar bears together and the whole start of their heavenly experience is going to be hellish!’ He pauses and then asks ‘ you couldn’t just take a dozen or so could you? They won’t be any bother they just need a place to hibernate whilst we sort out the mess!’

The man looks a bit dazed but weakly smiles and nods his head and returns home accompanied by dozen or so polar bears.

Another month passes, the man in his too small house can barely get by what with the furniture, the terrarium and the hibernating polar bears. He gets in touch with God again and says ‘Hi God, any progress on the problem with space in my house?’

And God says, ‘yes, I have the solution. Let me take back the furniture, the terrarium the hundred or so turtles and the dozen or so hibernating polar bears.’

The man clears out his house of the furniture, the terrarium and the polar bears and is amazed by the transformation, ‘thanks so much,’ he says to God, ‘I now have all the space I ever dreamed of!’

I wanted to share that story to illustrate how work has been, aside from the me asking for more space part. For a while it felt like I couldn’t possibly get any busier and then something else would be added to my to-do pile until I was almost at breaking point. Now a lot of those tasks have gone, there is still a fair amount of work but without the additional load and the requirement of working every evening and weekend, it all feels that much more manageable now.

The only problem now is that suddenly I feel like superwoman and I almost feel compelled to start looking for some new tasks to fill the void. Better ask the fiance to strap me to the chair and gag me, I clearly have a short memory and some sort of work addiction problem!

The world is different today


The world is different today,
Old joys sit in the stomach,
Like a stone that has started to weigh,
Dragging us down in the dark.

The sun does not shine as bright,
And yet the shadows still draw in,
Trying to drown out the light,
Spreading the darkness within.

The world is different today,
The air is harder to breather,
Life is that much less gay,
Wonders are harder to believe.

The day is not so warm,
A fearful cold nips at our hearts
And fierce gales howl towards
The sanctity of a warmer past.

The world is different today,
The clouds threaten our skies,
Sombre thoughts steal our play,
Truth is besmirched by lies.

A heaviness pulls us down
As though stuck in a deep mud.
It is harder to move forwards now;
Our shoes have turned to lead.

The world is different today,
The hours are too short,
Night too quickly chases day.
Bad dreams cloud our thoughts.

The day has lost its shine,
The world seems drab and dull,
An emptiness pervades our sight,
A sadness chips at our soul.

The world is different today,
But tomorrow it will be different again,
Dawn brings another day
And what’s left of today will not be the same.

The world is different today,
But darkness does not last,
Hope always finds it way
And this day, too, will pass.

The Hallowalphabeteen Rap


A is for aliens and abductions galore
B is for blood accompanied by guts and gore

C is for claws clutching at skin
D is for devils lurking within

E is for evil, driving you mad
F is for faeries, the tinkerbells gone bad

G is for grim reapers following in your wake
H is for hauntings, making you shake

I is for invisible dangers concealed
J is for jumping when these threats are revealed

K is for knock, knocking at your lonely door
L is for lonely when all your friends are no more

M is for murderers looking for their next kill
N is for nightmares freezing you still

O is for owls sweeping through the night
P is for predators hiding out of sight

Q is for quaking as your fear is found
R is for rats scurrying overground

S is for spiders hanging from threads
T is for teeth to tear you to shreds

U is for the undead eating your mind
V is for vampires, not the sparkling kind

W is for werewolves, howling at the moon
X is for x-rated, showing at theatres soon

Y is for yelling for someone to help you
Z is for zombies, behind you…boo!

Shaded memory


Bleak, black, blocks of wood, writhing limbs
Pinned against the blue-grey, sea-shades of the sky
Where honey flavoured fingers of the sun
Unfurl their stiffened joints
To caress the ground beneath
And pour out affection on luminous blades of jade

A solitary figure, knock-kneed and balanced by a stick
Pulling a zipperless coat tight, with the one spare hand
Thrusts himself forward
Wading through the tempest
Into a bullion beam
Where dust mites dance around his head in lazy jubilation

Gnarled hand, grips tight, around gnarled wood
Whitewashed, waxen hair, molded to his head by rain
Gleams radiant in the beam’s glare
Rheumy eyes determinedly focus
On the aged oak tree ahead
Standing as it has since before his grandfather’s grandfather’s days.

Wood, darkened by the rain and scarred by the decades
Yields to the old man’s touch, tracing the time long-past, where
Now ancient, heart and letters
Were once painstakingly etched
Into the timber’s flesh
And bittersweet memories further blur already clouded eyes.


Fiction: Beware of politicians bearing gifts

I wrote the following for a short story competition but figured I can put whatever I like on my blog so am apparently now including a bit of fiction along with everything else.

Skinny and squinty - bp image‘New jPhone X2 for UK Partiality Party Voters!’ read the Underground ad, accompanied by some illegible small print.

“What do you reckon?” asked a skinny young women, hair scraped back to show off earrings with the word ‘freedom’ scrawled within large gold-coloured hoops.

The curly haired girl in the orange jumpsuit squinted at the poster and replied “if it’s in writing it must be legit, right? Otherwise we could sue or something.”


newsman - bp image‘I can confirm that the United Kingdom Partiality Party are the new government after a landslide victory. They really found a new way to connect with the voters but what isn’t clear is what policies the new government will look to implement …’

‘Turn it off, will you?” huffed the scraggly haired man, reclining in the easy chair with the tattered blue throw. “I can’t believe that whim of a party got elected, what do they even stand for anyway?”

“Well, if they were so bad you should have voted for one of the other lot,” chirped the smartly suited woman, still looking fresh after a day of helping the common man. She added, “anyway they were chosen by the people and can’t be any worse than what we’ve currently got.”

Scraggly glared but Suit was too distracted trying to fit the SIM into her new phone to notice.


Skinny squinty talk - bp image“Haven’t seen any of our usual dealers by the chicken shop for a while. Mind you haven’t seen the owners of the chicken shop either. Did they get shipped out under the Alien Liberation Act or whatever it was that flashed up on my phone?” wondered Squinty.

“Nah, ‘chicken-2-go’ is like a national institution, probably just on holiday or something.” replied Skinny.

“Can’t you call someone to sort us out tonight?” said Squinty, “my phone’s not working.”

Skinny shrugged “nah, I’ve got a connection problem.”


skinny jail - bp image“You can’t just shut me up in here! I’ve got rights,” wailed Skinny as the Surly officer shut the door behind her.

Surly sneered, “don’t know about your rights but I let you keep your nice jX2 didn’t I?”

“But,” she sniffed, “it doesn’t even work anymore – only lets me call through to the UKPP guidance line or access their home page!”


skint suit jail - bp imageIn a crumpled suit, the overworked lawyer looked nervously behind her as the door locked into place.

Skinny demanded to know when she’d go free.

“Look,” Suit tried to explain, “when you accepted the phone you signed a contract and that’s legally binding. Without the EU or UN anymore, I can’t do anything. You’ve been classed ‘undesirable’ and under the National Re-Ordering Act section 1, paragraph 29.3(a) the government has a right to keep you indefinitely.”

“Indefiwhat!” exploded Skinny, “you’re useless! I want another lawyer! Give me your phone, I’m calling Citizen’s Advice.”

Suit rubbed her temples wearily with the hand supporting her head. “You can’t. Citizen’s Advice was abolished under the NGO Compliance Act,” she sighed, “and anyway, I’ve been having problems with my phone recently.”

An Image of Youth Unbroken


In memory of Megan Biddle

Whilst we live, you are immortal;
Apart from us but a part of us for ever more.
To you minutes and hours take no toll,
But march on us, unwanted and unasked for.

Like a flower pressed between
Two perfect sheets of glass and frozen;
You are free of time and yet trapped within,
An image of youth unbroken.

Unconcernedly the world keeps spinning,
Pulling us further and further from you;
It cannot erase what once had meaning,
But takes from us what we never knew.

Grey hairs will never leave their trace,
Although years dispense us this aging gift;
Wrinkles will never crease your face,
But fold in ours the dates you missed.

And when we are blurred, and fade away,
And are extinguished one-by-one,
Your memory will burn bright until the day,
That final flickering image too is gone.

When we too are liberated from our time,
Then you shall move from this eternity into the next;
Today’s sorrow will be redefined,
And we shall be reunited for all the rest.

On Monday I received the terribly sad news of the death of my parent’s neighbour, Megan. Megan was an eighteen year old woman I had known since she was a little girl. Her mother used to babysit for me and my brothers when we were small and when they moved next door to my parents house some years later I had the opportunity to babysit Megan and her brother Jack. It had amused me to think maybe someday she would babysit my children.

I knew Megan as a happy girl, full of love and life and laughter, like her whole family. Whilst I did not know Megan well as a young woman, having moved away by this point, I never saw her without a smile on her face and believe she grew up in the same spirit of happy adventure I knew when she was younger. It is overwhelmingly sad to think that she is no longer with us and I cannot imagine what her friends and family are suffering.

Her friends have organised a paypal collection to raise money for a commemorative bench, festival-style bands to remember Megan and for anything remaining to go to a charity Megan would have liked.

If anyone would like to donate you can do so through Paypal to the email address:
alice-rose.brooks(a) *

*replace the (a) with an @ – Writing it as above limits the likelihood of that email address getting spam.

The Christmas Eve Wrap


Where’s the scissors?
Where’s the tape?
Where’s the paper?
Where’s the crepe?

Where’s the bow?
Where’s the string?
Where’s the ribbon?
Where’s the trimming?

Where’s the box?
Where’s the bag?
Where’s the wrap?
Where’s the tag?

Where are the presents?

Where are the scissors - bp image


Where are the presents?

Where are the presents!
How did I forget?
Which shops are open?
What can I get?

Where is my coat?
Who can give me a lift?
Where are my shoes?
Can we be swift?

Does this go faster?
Can we up the speed?
What did everyone want?
What does everyone need?

Who needs a gift?

Where are the presents? - bp image


Who needs a gift?

Who needs a gift!
Did we make a list?
How many to buy?
Who have we missed?

Can this be an offering?
Could this be a prize?
Is this a present?
Is this the right size?

Where is the till?
Have we enough time?
Is it possible?
Are we going to be fine?

Where is my bag?

Who needs a gift - bp image

Where is my bag?

Where is my bag!
Where is my card?
Where is my purse?
Why’s there a guard?

What will we do?
Have we nothing to give?
How will we manage?
Can it still be festive?

Can we still be happy
Without any stuff?
Could being together
Really be enough?

Will it still be Christmas?

Where is my bag - bp image

Will it still be Christmas?

Will it still be Christmas!
With family and friends,
It’s love, not presents,
On which Christmas depends.

We don’t need gifts,
Under the tree.
Just a little cheer
Between you and me

So if you were expecting
A little something,
Don’t be disappointed
When you get nothing!

Will it still be Christmas - bp image


Merry Christmas everyone!