Losing the Light

Eyes dimming and fading

To joy.

Illumination diminished.

Darkness creeping across corneas

Blurring edges and long sight,

Short vision.

Looking inwards

Wanting and failing.

Pushing back blackness

Try to hold the light

Perception or procedure

Too tired to think.

Sleep awaits the doubts

And despair

Sleep away.

Sleep.

(30-11-06)

Baptism

His eyes looked kindly on me

His tenderness sublime

His presence is my heaven

All this already mine.

I wish to rest amid this joy

And never here depart

But the earthly call will lead me on

And test my wounded heart.

For a while I will remember

All that I here hold dear

But life will overtake me

And fill my heart with fear.

My loving Father calls me

And sends me on my way

‘Work for humankind, my child

And then come home to stay.’

I long to hold his hand to mine

And ask simply to remain

But to stay without being tested

Just would not be the same.

The grace I feel within his sight

I cannot live without

I fear my absence from his face

Will fill my life with doubt.

At first the loss is just too great

I look for what is gone

In distant corners of a room

The pain of being born.

Time moves on and healing comes

In love that tends my needs

The knowledge goes and doubts creep in

Despite the hand that feeds.

I need God’s grace to run this race

I need His presence near.

I cannot face this life without

His voice within my ear.

The emptiness of life without

A God to call your own

Is filled with frantic moments

Faith has not been sown.

Baptise me as an infant

When my knowledge is still here

Plant a seed that I can cherish

When my heart is filled with fear.

I will doubt and I will wander

While I sojourn on this earth

But I will have a gift from God

To help me on my path.

And when I can return to Him

As, God I pray I will,

He will smile upon me

And with tenderness me fill.

The longing that I knew at birth

Will circle once around

Till home at last I am with Him

Home from testing ground.

Without His grace along the way

I fear I would have lost

The greatest love I’ve ever known

The hell of such a cost.

(3-3-05)

Mum

There is forgetfulness

And negligence

There is hurt

And there is pain

There are wounds that cut so deeply

And will cut you time again.

There are memories

Of kisses

And cuddles

Full of joy

There is happiness

And hopefulness

For each girl and every boy.

There are wishes

That you make for them

And plans

That go astray

There are times

Of great futility

And ones of fun and play.

They leave you

And you wonder

If all you’ve done

Was right

If the scoldings

And the loving

Were really worth the fight.

There are times

You only see the face

Of the child

You held so dear

There are times

You see the person

And they fill your heart with fear.

There are times

When being a mother

Is a gift

From up above

When all that is

Remembered

Is the gift of so much love.

But in all the times

Of wonderment

In all the times

Of pain

Remember please

Dear Mum of ours

That you are loved

Time and time

And time

Again.

(6-3-05)

Supermarket Thoughts

Tomatoes. Apples – that’s a good price but they won’t eat them. What’s the point? Buy the other ones. Bananas, take enough; they’ll do for the pieces and Rachel likes them mashed up. Potatoes – some for boiling and a few big ones for baking – those’ll do for Tuesday – we’ll have pasta tomorrow.

God, what am I making for today? Something easy.  I hate cooking after Sunday shopping. That’s not right. Sunday dinner’s meant to be special. That’s more or less what Father was saying today in his sermon.

Get a few cartons of orange juice. It’s good for them and they love it. Own brand, it’s just as good. Right, tins. I need beans, spaghetti – own brands, they’re fine. Pasta too. Get the shells. I don’t know why David loves the shells more than the bows. How much are they? That can’t be right. Must be a mistake. It’s cheaper buying two 500g than 1kg. Odd. Oh, well, get the two.

Curry paste. Buy two get one free. Bargain. They all like curry except David and Mary. And Rachel’s too wee for it. I’ll make them something else. I’ll get tuna for them. Must remember to lift coconut and cream for the curry; they don’t like it too hot. Except Claire. Have I got enough rice? Better get more anyway. You were going to stop buying more than you need for the week, Anne-Marie. Can’t budget otherwise. End up with too much of one thing and nothing of another. End up back in here on Tuesday spending all over again. I hate this on a Sunday.

I wouldn’t mind so much if I could just buy what I wanted. Always checking prices, ingredients, bargains. Got enough brown sauce. Better get red. Hardly any left. They’ll all be looking for it when we have chips this week. Right, tuna. Hmm. A pack of four. Good price. David loves it. So does Mary. Must get cheese to go with that for Mary. Cooking oil. Own brand. Shouldn’t really fry chips. But they’re tastier like that. Oven chips get burnt so easily. Or half-cooked. Or soggy if I just stick them in the micro.

I wonder what kind of vegetable oil that is. I must try the extra-virgin oil one of these days for salad. Ali said it was great. And that balsamic vinegar. Can’t afford that. Noodles – I’ve forgotten those. They should be here. Where have they moved them too? I hate when they do this. Will I hunt or leave it? David likes them. But what a mess he makes on the kitchen floor. Just as well it’s lino and not carpet. But I hate having to clean the lino. Can’t just hoover on it like the rest of the place. Brush. Mop. Must get floor cleaner.

Have to get a new carpet for Joe’s room. All the bedrooms could do with a new carpet. Even just to soundproof the place. Sounds as if they jump about upstairs. They don’t. The carpets are just too thin. Have to get new ones. At least, for Joe’s room to start. Wish I hadn’t lifted his carpet this week. Or stripped his walls. Have to get something done with it now. What colours though? Space – stars and rockets. He doesn’t want much.I could do it though. That craft programme more or less showed how.

Wish I had more time to do these things. I could quite enjoy being in the house being a mum and wife. I could get on top of all these things. I could enjoy making dinners and decorating and creating.

I’ve still got all that work to do for school. Wish I hadn’t brought it home. Och, I’ll  just have it to do tomorrow night.

Wish I could win the lottery. I’d pack it all in tomorrow. Not millions. Just enough to ease the pressure and let me come into the house. Frank could keep on working. He would miss it. Or, at least, he could take some people on and build up the business. He’ll not be able to graft like he does forever. He should have stuck in at school. He’s smart enough. Oh, well, he made his choices. Gallivanting about Europe. Now, you made your choices, too. You love him. Pity he couldn’t have had a career.

I wouldn’t have to be out working now and feeling guilty about leaving the kids. I’ll probably regret leaving them when I’m old. I might even be regretting it when they get to their teens. Maybe they’ll all flip and cause us bother because I wasn’t at home with them. I’m regretting it just now.

If I could work from home that would be a bit easier. What can a teacher do from home – apart from homework? But there’s lots of other things I can do – want to do. I want to write. If I could only find the time to do half of what I wanted to do. I’m 37. If I don’t find the time soon I won’t do any of these things at all. A bit here. A bit there. It doesn’t work.

Can’t even find the time to go out for a night. Even if we had the money. Or a babysitter. But I wouldn’t swap them for the world. I would have more as well. I love kids. They’re not easy right enough. They take some looking after. So much washing. Cooking. Cleaning. Not ironing. I hate that. People get obsessed with ironing. You don’t have to do as much as they seem to think. Thank God for manmade fibres. And the tumble-dryer. Shouldn’t really use that. Costs so much, so they say.

Have to get my eyes tested. They’re sore. Can’t see where the cereal is. Definitely not own brand corn flakes. They’re rubbish. The birds didn’t even eat them the one time I bought them. There they are. There’s too many too choose from and I’m definitely not buying chocolate covered anything. Imagine. For breakfast. Fair enough, a bar of chocolate with a coffee for breakfast in the morning but chocolate crispies – disgusting. Porridge. Rachel likes that. No salt for her yet, though. Margarine. Funny how none of us likes butter. Own brand margarine – pretty good. Milk – loads of it. And Frank or I will be here again getting more by Tuesday or Wednesday. Can’t store all we use for the week.

And bread. Tons. At least I can freeze that. Cheese. Where’s the cheese? I like it strong. So does Frank. But not the kids. Will I get two kinds? I love that creamy pepper cheese. It’s too fattening, though. I’ll get it anyway. Did I pick up crackers? Frank and I can have some cheese and crackers tonight after the kids are in bed.

Might even get a bottle of red to go with it. A few cans of lager for Frank. After they’re all bathed. That’ll be nice.

I’ve still got all that school work to do. I’ll see. I might leave it till tomorrow. I hate doing schoolwork at the weekend. Don’t know why I bring it home on a Friday. The intention is always there but I never get the time until Sunday and who wants to do it then? Except I do, sometimes. And it’s not fair on the kids or Frank. That’s their time with me. I’ll leave it till tomorrow night.

That’s the meat in. I’m sick of looking at pork and chicken. A nice bit of stew ,or hamburgers even, would go down a treat. Mad cows. Wish I’d never heard of them.

Better get soap powder. And squeezy. Floor cleaner – nearly forgot. Have we got enough bin bags? I think there’s only a small roll left. I’ll get more. We’ll use them anyway. Oh, nappies. Two sizes. Rachel needs maxi now. David won’t need his much longer. He’s doing well. Just a nappy at night now.

I’ll get a sweet for them tonight. Their weekends nearly over too. Chocolate for Frank and me. A variety bag for them. Crisps for packed lunches. Got the cold meat too. Joe likes pickle on his pieces. There’s enough left in the cupboard. Red wine. Some lager. Juice for the kids. Is that me?

Have I forgotten anything? Probably. But I won’t know till I get home. Oh well, too bad. Can’t think of anything just now.

Look at the queues here. Which one will go quicker? I won’t go to her. She talks to everybody and takes ages. He’s quite efficient. They’ve nearly emptied their trolley. That’ll do for me.

I wish somebody would unpack your trolley for you as well as pack your bags at the other side. I’ve got to fill it up, unpack it, put it into cupboards, freezer, fridge. Cook the stuff. I’d be worth a fortune if we didn’t have to eat.

‘Could I have a packer, please?’

I stack too high. That meat’s ready to fall off. I could probably have done without those bin liners. And those sweets. And the wine. And the creamed cheese. And they’re eating too many crisps.

Och, you’ve got to live. Have some respite. ‘Give the cat the canary’ as my Mum says. We don’t get out much. We don’t go for burgers every week or go to the cinema often. A few sweets with a video tonight. It’s a weekend treat.

They were out at the country park too. Rachel could do with more fresh air. I should go with Frank and the kids to the park. But it’s the only time I have to catch up on the housework. If I wasn’t working it would be different. I could have Rachel out every day down the street. Buy what I needed just for a day or two. I would probably save a fortune.

‘How much did you say?’

Bang goes another seventy quid. Well that’s between seven of us for a week. Except, Frank or I will be back here midweek spending another £20 on things I’ve forgotten today or things we’ve used up or need – like milk or bread or eggs. Shit, I’ve forgotten the eggs. Too late. I don’t care. I’ll get Frank to get them when he comes for more ice-cream. Shit, I’ve forgotten the ice-cream too. Too bad. I’ll make custard. I should have shares in this place – never mind points.

Better get money out for that Big Issue guy outside. Poor sod. There but for the grace of God…. That was a good sermon today. Father really hit the mark. Do your best. It’s all you can do. I’ll make something nice for tonight. Pork chops, boiled potatoes, peas, carrots. Corn for David. Wish I’d remembered the ice-cream. Maybe I’ll get Frank to nip down to the café for some. They like that even better.

‘Keep the change.’

Must read this Big Issue if I get the time.

(2-2-1998)

 Teenagers  

Children,

Anxious,

Waiting to grow.

Impatient

Hardly stopping

Plunging ahead.

Seeing without seeing.

Angry at life’s barriers.

Heated in activity,

Quarrelsome with everyone,

Hating the world.

Pulling at adult strings,

Piercing loving hearts.

Cradles,empty of the child.

(11-11-04)