Dawn Chorus

It’s not even dawn
when you wake me up
to ask why it is so

I try to get you back to
sleep but you want an

Trying to hold on to
fast-disappearing dreams
behind my eyelids, I tell you
the moon is behind a
and the sun is still sleeping.

For about five minutes you
are quiet.

Then you start humming,
a cheerful tune that makes
me want to smile
and forego the warmth of the
sheets for the parade of
my to-do list.


Birthday wishes

On the eve of your
fifth birthday
you say you want a cow
for a pet.

The lack of grass around
doesn’t bother you.
We can grow it in the
verandah, you say,
and let the cow sleep
Mama’s bed.

The theory of evolution

At bath time
you want to know
why do we have two hands?

I explain about
demonstrating how monkeys
walked, then stood,
watching the expression on
your face as you
struggle to decide
if I was fooling around
or not.

We talk about the Cat family
and you announce
that lions are from the
Dog family
“because of all that hair.”


Hold me, Mama!
So I spoon around
palm holding his heart
that drum-beat
ricocheting against
my own life-line.


Pinpricks of light splatter the
noisy sky
a smattering of alarmed
birds, white,
fly across the river – a sprinkle
of sugar across the indigo

Stop the sun

Stop the sun from setting, you
beg me as I wonder how to
calm you. I can’t do that, I say and
I can see you beginning to
protest in your head. Your eyes
say Yes, you can. You are my mama.
You can do

I don’t want the moon to come out. I
want the sun to stay, you say again.
The rain clouds hover to my left. Ah, salvation.
I can’t stop the sun – he needs to sleep, I
lie. But the moon can
stay away today. And you look
later and you see no moon.

And your faith shines through in your
eyes, glistening with
still resisting sleep.



On a morning busy with breakfast
I sneak in a moment
to lie next to M,
his small body moving
in tune with his breath.
I breathe in his hair
from last night’s bath
the pink of the wash
lingers on the soft, soft
One slightly dirty
fingernail peeks from under the
where his hand rests, open,
searching perhaps for the
that used to be me.

A haiku for Kate

Teletubbies sing
You sit on my lap, content
Hasty haiku flows


A revised version of the haiku written for Kate Hopper’s Mother Words Contest.


You’ve taken to sleeping
anchored by my chin
head under my clavicle
turned in
to feel my pulse
lulling you to sleep

your arms wrapped around me
like an early Christmas present.

{aros} Midnight whispers

Two stray dogs chase each other madly
at midnight
They stop at the little garden, look at me,
then whisper in each other’s ears conspiratorially

Do they know I’m watching?