Since my dad left her over 30 years ago my mother has been many things, including: a waitress, a kitchen hand, a sous-chef and a gardener. She also began writing cookery and gardening books in her 50s, but her real passion has always been poetry and she was encouraged from an early age by her older sister ‘Lilla’ (see more here). She won the prestigious BBC Wildlife Magazine Nature Poetry Competition back in 2001, and you can hear her read two of her poems here. She’s now in her 70s but this hasn’t stopped her recently getting a PhD from the University of Sussex. I’ve included a poem below from her latest book of poetry called Dirty Work, published by Shoestring Press.
My mother was recently interviewed by Peter Stanford from the Catholic Herald and you can read about her love of ‘ritual, incense and Latin’ here. She also had another book of poetry published by Shoestring Press back in 2005 called Mr. Irresistible.
Last night the loon flew over from Long Pond
to Echo Lake – and onwards, far beyond
our darkening woods, mourning as she went –
now, after these six long hot hours, hard spent
in hacking out a path down to the shore
I take the Beech Hill road, past Charlie’s door
then on by Sunset Farm towards Beech Cliff
to hear her call again, but nearer still, as if
to join, in counterpoint, the coyote’s wild grief
with mine – that you’re not here. I watch the brief
trajectories of passing satellites
between the falling stars, see, as the lights
of Todd’s old pick-up brush across the lawn,
the soft and startled eyes of doe and fawn.