Trust Held

I almost lost my seventeen year old daughter at the weekend. I let her go to a music festival, trusting in her judgement and in others. Part of that trust was misplaced. She made a huge error of judgement, did something incredibly stupid and ended up in intensive care on a ventilator. No drugs were involved. Except alcohol is very much a drug.

Behaving irresponsibly with it is something probably many of us have done. I know I have. We experiment, we find our limits.

I let a girl – a really good and sensible girl – a really inexperienced girl – go off for a long weekend, out of my reach, out of my jurisdiction, out of my hands.

She failed her own test. Tested her own limits. Stopped breathing.

Her friends, others there – young people – young people who so often get a bad rap – seventeen and eighteen year olds – saved her life with their quick actions. They, the medics there, the staff in the hospital she was taken to – all of them – in the hands of god – returned my girl to me.

She’s fine now, home. She’s shaken, she’s weepy, she’s in some disbelief.

Chris Nelson put life in context for me today. My trust is very much shaken. But also, weirdly, very much reinforced in others.

My daughter, my whole family, owe a huge debt of gratitude to every single hand that reached out and put love and care into action. I can’t ever begin to repay them. I can hardly bear to think of the consequences had they not. But I can’t stop thinking of them.

At least one person lost their life at that festival. How many more ended up in hospital I don’t know. From speaking to the nursing staff and others there I know that two hospitals admitted people – both young and old – with various injuries and complications arising from drugs, weather, conditions at the site, violence.

Eighty thousand people with access to almost unlimited freedoms gives license to act stupidly, irresponsibly, dangerously.

One mother, allowing her seventeen year old to participate in what I never felt quite right about, going against my own judgement, facilitated what occurred.

I’ve made some dumb decisions in my life – like mother like daughter? I’ve been incredibly lucky that none of those decisions have resulted in near death. This was not one of them.

How do I ever trust myself again to…. just how do I ever trust myself again?

One of the reasons I think I have always trusted, despite it sometimes being misplaced, is the belief in inherent goodness in people. Yes, sometimes, I’ll be wrong. But a lot of times, most of times, I won’t.

Rachel fucked up big time. She knows that. She’s learned something it can take a lifetime to learn – that life is precious and we can’t afford to play roulette with it.

I’ve learned that my faith in people is not misplaced. That there will always be people who rise to occasions, go above and beyond, because they’re good people. There are far more of those about I believe than the, admittedly, many who don’t.

I hope Chris won’t mind me quoting part of his poem here, the first post I read today, something I needed badly to hear, the post that prompted this post of mine. I didn’t want to share my stupidity, my daughter’s, our pain, our naivete, but maybe sharing it will help us and others. Chris’s words certainly helped me.

‘With head high

Stepping out into day’s silent arms

Trusting that the wire will hold…

…As you raise your head once more

And look towards the skies.’

Life is trust. To live is to trust. We hope, we pray, we fail, we fall, we rise. We go on. Trusting, because what else can we do?

My trust, overall, was not misplaced.

My belief in others, in love and goodness, in the hand of god in my life was, in fact, reinforced. Mercifully and with thankfulness that will last my lifetime.

I asked my daughter’s permission before posting this because it is not my wish to humiliate her or to cause her more pain. But, what happened at the weekend, how many people were involved in saving my girl, how much I appreciate the NHS, how grateful we all are for the final result and the care shown, is a testament to love and trust in action. My thanks to Rachel for allowing this. Our whole family’s eternal thanks to each and every one. My trust is held.



Once more into that pain-encrusted valley,

Ancestral ghosts sought home another soul,

Shadows crept to grab, to wrench, to thwart life,

All fragmented, how to restrain hold.

Lengthened over landscape, into fields, swept,

Seeking innocence, own worst foe,

Captured, held on, fraught when others fought them,

Determined, devil-bent to not let go.

Saviours succoured, amen, every crevice,

Travelled nighttime roads while heavens poured

Spirit of all those who then, and now, have ever loved or will love,

Hands worked, hearts bled to balance, even score,

Banished shadows, chased to where they’d come from,

Ghosts sent packing, ventilated storm,

Purged and vanquished, battle won, exhausted,

From pain-filled valley, ancestral outperformed.

By Her Side

Carry forth on angel wings the needs I bring before you,

By light, your dynasty, to her provide,

Make feather-light her troubles and her sorrows,

I need you now to be close by her side.

In absence of my presence be her friend there,

Envelop her in love and bring her ease,

Cushion soft her blows, I need this from you,

Expectant faith I have so hear my pleas.

Shelter her from more of life’s hard taskings,

Enough is more than anyone can bear,

Be near her now and comfort, hug her closely,

Hold her gaze and let her see me there.

Light upon her, give her joy, I’m asking,

Tenderness where lack has been long gone,

Carry forth on angel wings the needs I bring before you,

Be her strength for me till she’s made strong.

The Left Bank – Revisited

One of the things I love most about WordPress is the sense of being in this writing malarkey together. We’re all working on trying to find the best way to express an idea, find the words that work for us, the aha! moment. It’s trial and error and trust in others reading and commenting in such a way that keeps us going. It’s supportive, constructive and, blessedly, a willingness to share.

Earlier today I read a poem by one of my favourites here and he asked for input on his work. I’ve been burnt once before elsewhere in doing that – even although it was invited – and became reluctant to comment at all at that particular blog. I figured our poems and writings are a bit like our children. We can criticise them all we want but dare anyone else! I get that. I slag my own kids off all the time but I’d defend them to the death in the face of others’ remarks.

It’s refreshing to find once more someone who is actively seeking genuine feedback and, like the true gent he is, insisted on crediting my tweaks.

I’m slightly mortified to tell the truth because I can’t even help the teacher in me but I’m no poetry teacher for sure.

Simon’s poem was already full of the sense of a Paris morning, awakening after a night of love. I just couldn’t help getting my pen out when it was invited!

Please leave any comments at Experimental Fiction. It’s not my poem. I’m just a cheeky teacher with a penchant for jumping in when invited. 🙂

Experimental Fiction

One of the people I am lucky enough to have following my blog has been kind enough to improve my recent poem “The Left Bank”. And I say that with no malice or sarcasm! She has captured the essence of the poem completely, but made the language far cleaner and far more elegant. My version is what happens when you do something with half a mind, and not completely focused on what it should be. Anyway, please visit her rather splendid blog Scottish Momus because she has an absolute treasure trove of poems and other delights. I hope you like this one as much as I do.

Scent of coffee, sounded horns,
Yellow light on skin,
Dawning day in tired room,
Paris life began,
Sleepy eyes consumed your form,
Body made for sin,
That summer morn revealed its bloom
While passing buskers sang.

Iron frame, its shadows cast,
Dark, old-fashioned…

View original post 71 more words

Without Limits

In response to Tale Weaver #21 at Mindlovemisry’s Menagerie – the subject is Flight.


Long before the flight there was the light, transcendent suffusion, beckoning elimination of every other notion – abandon earthbound to simply bask in skies painted by invisible hands. How to place yourself into those hands, how to share in their mastery. Shades of light, tints and colours, tones of warm or cool, all and every, engendering just one desire. Be the light.

And flight was born.

To close your eyes, face uplifted to its source and spread the wings of mind, intent only on becoming one with countless other ones.

In mind there is no other place to be that wraps and weaves, so completely, one source with the other. Every eye that ever gazed upon a winged creation begged its share of such a joy and, when evolution let us down so badly, we found another way.

With the addition of one letter and a need to commune we poured our souls into the light and learned to fly without limits. 

Supple With Strength

Stunted and blunt,

Some boughs of a tree,

Poor limbs pruned till ends reveal scars,

Sealed for protection,

Sad cry from full-blown,

Stalwart, tho’ hindered, life marred.

Tapering branches,

Each new bud, every flower,

Burgeoning sap coursing through,

Roots fit to match, mirrored,

Hidden beneath,

Supple with strength to endure.

Wizened above

But with shoots still to bloom,

Shelter and shade oft provides,

Network supporting,

Sprouting, spreading and sporing,

Encompassing, lineage abides.

Household Tips #2

Not quite household. Unless your household includes kids. Kids who are going to their first music festival.

Certainly disrupts the household, so I’m including it here.

It’s now after 2a.m.

All kids of various ages are in their beds. Hubs has been in his for hours. Gotta work, gotta sleep.

Me. I’m sitting with the last glass of a bottle of red wine wondering how in the hell I’m still sane.

Tomorrow, at early o’clock, child number five heads off for five days, four nights of a musical extravaganza known as T in The Park. Known as this because  it once – many moons ago – took place in a park not too many miles from here and was sponsored by Tennents lager.


Now it has had so many changes of venue to accommodate the ever increasing number of young ones wishing to embrace their feeedom that no park can hold them. This year it’s T in Strathallan. I don’t know where exactly that is either so no sweat on your part.

Where it is doesn’t perturb me. What it is leaves me shivering somewhat.

Thousands of young people dying to embrace their inner hippy will converge on a swamp, in a tent, with alcohol, a few basic essentials. And sing and dance.

I’m good with the last two.

Basic, also, I can do.


Seventeen,  on their comparitive lonesome, at a venue ideal for every criminal recidivist known, not so hot with.

Any evidence of that? None to speak of.

But imagination. Plenty of.

My answer.

Lots of food.

Lots and lots of snacks and protein shakes and bagels and all sorts of shit guaranteed to sop up any and all amounts of alcohol.

She’s a good girl. She’s a sensible girl. But she’s seventeen.

And I have to keep reminding myself of being seventeen. Honestly. And with some credence for common sense.

Her baggage has more food than alcohol. I’m resisting the temptation to go and remove all traces of the offending liquid with a love note in its place saying, ‘Mum was here. Love you.’

But I haven’t. And I trust her.

It’s every other bastard under the sun I don’t trust.

I have closed my ears almost, and now nearly my eyes, to some of the stories, only this evening, being recounted to me by older kids laughing at the fun ahead.

I daren’t think. I don’t want to know.

Tomorrow, in about five hours, I’ll kiss her goodbye. On her return, all being well, and previous experience (plus now current knowledge) in place, I’ll be glad to see her home safe and sound. And I’ll listen to all her adventures. Even knowing they are, undoubtedly, censored.

I must have been a nightmare for my mum. Belated apologies, Mum. Hope you can hear me from here to heaven.

P.S. Does a big bag of Haribo count as food?

PPS. Why is seventeen that liminal age? Sweets or/and booze? Babe or woman? Don’t anyone say the two are synonymous. This might be my fifth time around but it doesn’t get any easier.

Household Tips #1

What to do when you have a tube of lipstick stuck in your hoover.

Right inside it. Inside the bit you can’t get at even when you remove the hose.

The bit where all the crap gets vacuumed up making its way to the collection point. But not the hose itself.

Hose itself is easy. Drop something heavyish into the hose and give it a good shake. Or stuff a wire curtain holder down its length. Always keep one handy, me.

But not the hose. The other bit leading from where the hose joins the body into all the invisble bits where the fairy dust suckers live. The bit with nine million screws holding it together. Know that bit?

The bit where your thirteen year old daughter in her laziness  wisdom decided to just go for it and sucked everything up. Keep the auld dear happy.


After figuring something wasn’t working, when I would have been better on my hands and knees with a straw between my teeth, I investigated and saw the culprit. Lovely shade of pale pink lippy. Could see the end label but couldn’t catch the bugger.

Caught my daughter though. She wasn’t much help. Except to bring me all sorts of bits and pieces from around the house to attempt its extraction.

Pliers – grip kept slipping. Toffee hammer – don’t ask. Plastic ladle – it has a long handle. It was a long shot. But it didn’t work.

Guess what did? A paper scraper. I think that’s what it’s known as in the trade. Mibbe not. Looks a bit like a palette knife. I’ve been known to use one to scrape wall paper and plaster small holes. Not brilliantly, I have to admit. But sometimes when you’re waiting for a man to get round to that wee five minute job you’re better making an arse of it first so he can show you how it should be done.

Not that I deliberately make an arse of things. Just turns out that way sometimes. I know my limitations but it doesn’t stop me having a go. Once built a set of wardrobes from scratch as a twenty-something. Apparently six-inch nails into plaster isn’t a great idea. I hadn’t heard of rawl plugs and drills at that point. Nor spirit levels. But the design of the wardrobes was fab. They stood for years. I never did get round to putting doors on them. Which was actually quite handy. I could choose my outfit for the day while lying in bed. So could my sister. Lay there across the room from each other discussing whose clothes we’d wear that day. Saves loads of time.

Anyway, about that lipstick. Fingers into orifice. Hoover’s. Not daughter’s. Grab with fingers of one hand wedged in the opening (this is beginning to sound obscene), edge the paper scraper in. Lever. Voila!

No one gets near my hoover again.

Wait a minute, I might have been had here.

The Voice

There’s a voice that calls from way beyond the skyline,

I hear it sometimes in my sleep, my dreams,

It urges me to be the best I can be,

I fail a lot, I feel, or so it seems.

The voice believes in me and I don’t know why,

I believe in it because I hear,

Its repetition, loving me through silence,

Belies the notion I’m alone, it’s near.

It touches me with warmth and understanding,

It rescues me from doubts I hold inside,

The voice is reassuring and I welcome

Its confidence in me, celestial pride.

I scarcely recognise its tone, its tenor, 

It’s gentle, strokes my brow when I am weak,

It smiles sometimes, I hear that, I’m encouraged,

It nudges me to keep on, always still to seek.

I love this voice, it comforts me in waking,

In darkness and in dark nights of the soul,

I suspect it may be god or maybe just me

Loving self when temptation is to scold.

I hear it now, it’s smiling as I write this,

It’s nudging once again to just get on,

Do the best I can and pat my shoulder,

The voice of life and love that keeps me going.

Do you hear it, that still voice inside you,

Deeper down than anyone can reach,

Knowing you and knowing me, our voices,

The omnipresent ones that seek to teach.

Bolus To The Bow



By callous caitiff,

his vessel, once unbroken,

lies scuppered, hapless

sapling of the tree it used to be,

scuttled by unshaven

problems spoken,

flotsam now, wincing

in accumulated debris.

Truckloads of this cargo

dumped, his token,

bolus to the bow, hard to swallow,

pithy points of view,

rictus grin was held

till hold was choking,

sunken by canonical

coordinates untrue.