Poems from the Past: For children in my life

For a little girl lost
(For the teens who shared our home for a time)
January, 1994

Fast track
Screams in the silence
Won’t somebody hear?


(To my son)
April 1994

gentle rhythm
washing over endless sea
safe, warm, protected
microcosmic world
i am life

explosive power
urging on to sites unknown
twisting, pushing, thrusting
alien world
i am door

answered cries
bringing sustenance, relief
suckling, mewing, resting
trusting world
i am nourishment

tentative steps
pushing back the walls of space
wobbling, steadying, triumphant
inviting world
i am safety

chortling laughter
echoing calls of childish glee
pretending, stimulating, interacting
delight-filled world
i am playmate

growing awareness
mastering skills as yet unknown
exploring, connecting, achieving
intriguing world
i am teacher

new doors
increasing realms of exploration
exciting, fearful, enlightening
expanding world
i am security

understanding grows
knowledge builds a core of truth
attempting, exploring, grasping
comprehensible world
i am helper

horizons broaden
old forms stifle self expression
testing, questioning, rebelling
constricted world
i am listener

paths unknown
searching for a place to be
questing, reflecting, rehearsing
beckoning world
i am encourager

decisions made
stepping into new tomorrows
planning, fulfilling, owning
chosen world
i am friend


(For teens at the shelter)
October 12, 2002

Sometimes there are no words
To touch the needing
Silence falls heavy
Tumbling to the floor
Drifting like leaves into the corners
Of the room
In whirlwinds of thought
Circling round in a dance of air
Sometimes you have to be silent.

Sometimes there is laughter
Bubbling streams of wit
Splashed across the day in colours
Painted on a palette of together
With the light frustration
Of a prank’s success
You seek the chance
Retaliate in kind
Sometimes you have to laugh.

Sometimes words are all you have
To sound your presence
Penetrating walls built high
With other moments much like this
Howling storms of hurting
Humiliation a mantle
Worn as if it were the only clothes
They ever knew
Sometimes you have to cry.


Child’s Play
(For children at the shelter)
September 12, 2004

High chair tunnels
Gleeful cries into the air
Staccato drumming on the floor
Of knees and hands
As round and round you go
Three little verses
In a rondo of
Follow-the leader
The song transitions
To other tunes
Flowing out of
Imaginations fluidity
Forte squeals into the air
Drum rolls of vehicle wheels
Crescendo of hurried feet
Scurrying about the room
Tinny accompaniment
Of musical toys
Impromptu lyrics of
“Nigh-nigh”, “heyyo”
“Hair” and “nose” and “eye”
Shoulders tall
Heads held high
Stage lights shining
From innocent eyes
Your little voices
And natural body rhythms
Play for me
A medley of living


morning thoughts
(For my daughter)
30 May, 2000

she lies sleeping
tousled hair
scattered around her head
like her clothes in disarray
across the floor
my youngest girl
a child no more
but woman
young and vibrant
filled with dreams of youth
I watch her sleep
my presence wakes her
with a grown
“too early, mom,
I want to sleep”
she pulls her covers
to her head and
curls to rest
until the morning
brings her
school and friends
new hopes new joys
my child
this woman lying there
my baby grown
to find her way
within the world
my heart swells
the knowing of her
lying there
in dreams
of futures yet untried
and yet her own
to live
my daughter
my baby once
a young woman now


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