Drugs of Irony

This week’s poem speaks for itself – how events can modify our views on things. Growing older makes it harder to have a fixed view as life teaches you her love of irony.


Drugs of Irony


Seeking a sense of doing something useful

I’m sorting through papers, old notes,

Notebooks, throwing away, pulling pages.

Find an old poem fuming at drugs industry,

Spread of resistance, careless diagnosis, over medication!

Evil pharmaceutical-industrial-chemical.


This morning I was arguing with my son,

Pleading for him to take his medicine. All of it,

Each nausea inducing capsule and pill,

Even without symptoms, without clear understanding.

Less questions and more fear of risks

When you’re fumbling down cancer’s dark roads.


Nyborg 2017


Behind Glass

This week’s poem, brooding on difficult days.


Behind Glass


Lost for words,

A sad state for a poet.

To sift, reduce and clarify an initial pile of words is required.


They are out there,

On the other side of dewy glass

Where life lives on in haste, high humour and holidays.


Behind frosted glass

I watch, rub, tap gently,

Listen to voices distorted by distance and separation


Calendar pages flick past,

Face-to-face, keeping distance,

Pain becomes more solid when outwardly acknowledged.




Nyborg, 2017




This week’s poem, a story about a thought provoking visit to a chimpanzee sanctuary near Freetown, Sierra Leone. The charm and the sadness of this most beautiful place.



Near Freetown we visit a sanctuary for chimpanzees.

Something to do on a hot Salone day.


“Each one represents a troop wiped out” says our guide,

I nod. That thought was in my mind.

Fetched from human families where they

Fascinated when young.

But those muscular arms, those teeth,

Those knowing eyes.

Raw power is no joke.


“We ask for them to be given. Never buy an ape.”

We’ve seen enough not to ask why.

We are guided: quarantine area,

Minimal contact, stage one, gradual introduction,

Stage two, larger enclosures,

Excitement and unease,

Rough games, nervous watchfulness.


“Each stage takes years,” I think of costs,

Risks, stories of break outs, death of a human.

Happier stories, too, mostly with sad endings,

Pinkie, blue-eyed albino who fell to her death.

And then the last stage, a vast enclosure.

Practically free, foraging in natural habitat.


“Babies born bind them together,”

Touching to see them as family here,

Bonds built over time, community,

Contentment, assurance in the slap a big hand lands

On an overexcited youth, confidence in the footfalls

As the group disappears into green undergrowth.


“Just the fence separates them from jungle,”

High and electric between them and national geography,

Painful history, complicated politics.

A sad irony, when it dawns on me,

That, so far, despite best intentions,

So far at least, no chimpanzee

Has returned to the freedom beyond.


Freetown 2017

Tenki Salone

This week’s poem is a thank you to Sierra Leone, or as I would say in the 5 words of Krio I learned, ‘tenki Salone’. A week in that fabulously intense country could never be enough time, but with the time we had, Mum and I, with our gracious hostess and guide, sister Else, managed to see an astonishing amount and feel that we had been well and truly Saloned. With endless thanks to Else for sharing this favorite country with us!


Tenki Salone


For the denseness of your jungles,

Steepness of your hills,

Redness of your soil,

And the downhill driving thrills.


For the power of your downpours,

Hotness of your heat,

Blackness of your beach rocks,

Orange sand beneath bare feet.  


For the dazzle of your fabrics,

Brightness of your styles,

Skin and hair of many peoples

Each with interest in their smiles


For your twists and turns in history

Darkness you have seen,

Contrasts, changes, action,

Giving hope to Salone dreams.


Freetown 2017






I believe in salt water as a saviour in difficult times. In fact, at all times, sweat, tears and the sea offer comfort and relief.




Laced up my running shoes, left phone on desk,

Determinedly took those extra kilos for a disciplinary jog,


Thirty minutes later I find myself walking, wet-shoed,

Calves flicked with damp sand. Watching waves pull at gravel,


Rocks gleam reflected light, seashells swoosh in seaweed,

Slanted sunlight on water, The Bridge rises from mist,


Carrying a twisted stick of driftwood, a dog’s lost rope-toy

And a reminder of what a difference salt water makes.


Nyborg 2017



A short poem about the pleasure of returning home after a long period where most hours and all thoughts were spent on and in a hospital room. With thanks for the positive energy that helped us get this far.




Escape into wind after weeks of sanitized air,

Natural quiet with no bleeping infusion pumps,

Beeping nurse calls, monitors, meters,

Tick, tick of small flashing lights,

Drip, drip, drip of intravenous therapy.


Home at last, garden is gorgeous,

Damp growing grass under bare toes,

Morning-scented air on sun-warmed face.

Feel summer blooming

After watching it bud from behind glass and shutters.


Home with the worst now behind us.

Home at last to unpack bags filled with chemical smelling laundry

Packs of pills, sponges, syringes,

And a growing sense of hope.


Nyborg 2017

Dreams of Falling

This week’s poem inspired by a dream, memories of Tanzania, and the knowledge that there are things we can not control.



Dreams of Falling


But what of falling

Backwards? Passenger seat of a car,

Driver who will not listen, laughing

Foot-slipping pedals.

Crashing backwards through thorny undergrowth,

Over the edge,

Moment when you realize,

Seat-belt’s embrace as 

You fall backwards.

A long, long way down.


Falling, falling backwards,

Mto-wa-Mbu damp rift wall

Flashes past in green and grey.

Neck twisted to see dusty,

Scattered bush below.


Trees rush upwards,

Hungry eyes are on us,

Tree-climbing lions watching,

Watching in yellow-eyed fascination

As we fall

Down, down.


And then I remember no more.



Nyborg 2017

Ode to Nordic Spring

No matter how hard and dark your days, if you can get yourself outside, go for a walk in the garden, the park, even better in the forest, then the arrival of spring will make things lighter.


Ode to Nordic spring


Each bulb has its moment,

Its white, yellow, purple time to bloom,

Fade, drop.

Make room for another solo.

Slow snow-melt sap flow.

For each week the swarm grows, size shows,

Sideshows from tree-buds,

Softly grey-fuzzed,

Swelling, smelling sweet and green sap

Rising sunwards,

Damp, silver days glow,

High blue skies call blackbirds

Chirp and cry.

Silver stains emerald,

Sprouts, shoots, gentle opening leaves,

Serrated, spotted, fuzzy, glossy green.  

Pinpointed white, yellow, purple,

Time to scurry and squeak.

Pine cones crack, feather-light seeds peep,

Tumble, catch the breeze.

Time to bloom on crowded forest floors,

Roots extend, cold retreats.

Gardens, parks, forests call back to warmth,

To life,

Pull back on the sun,

Hold it,

Not letting it go down.


Nyborg 2017




This weeks post inspired by the 13 centenary Persian poet Rumi, who’s poems amazes by feeling as relevant today as any contemporary poem feels.





400 years ago, at 4 am

Someone wondering blank empty streets.

When asked why?

His reply:

If I knew, I’d have gone home hours ago.


And still we wonder, we search, we seek,

Stumble over glimpses and clues,

Comforted to know the search is eternal.


Nyborg 2017



This week’s poem, a painful one, like this whole long process that we are in the middle of. Chemotherapy – the hope we believe in, but also frightening and incomprehensible and the source of some suffering.




Waking from deepest depth to the screams of your adult son,

Eyes burning from the chemicals pumped into his veins.

To see his long, thin body, his smooth baby-bald head, bent in angles of pain,

Watering eyes, pink and light-scared, blood clots from his red-rimmed nose.


Watching bright colored chemicals drain from the bag

Into his veins, see his appetite shrink, weight falling from limbs,

Pills, vials, powders, needles, pale lips and lash-less eyes,

Gagging, groaning with aches, tied to pipes and long days on hospital wards.


Slow breaths of respite,

His naked head on the pillow,

His long pale body relaxed,

Slow-breathing in healing sleep.


Slow breaths of relief,

Trust in the treatment,

One drop at a time,

In the end he will be well again.


Odense 2017