Leaving home,

in a van full of things and people,

and the cat.

My father holding him, jailer tight,

and pitiful cries coming from

the distended belly of the sack.


I sat, wedged in a wicker chair,

beneath towers of belongings.


Marooned in the echoing new house,

bare floors, plain walls, naked windows,

I was a child standing in an empty kitchen

while the home was arranged.

Things were brought in

and people too,

and the cat.

He was left in the cloakroom

‘Until he gets used to it.’


But a cat knows where his home is.

He cleared off.

I followed

Years, too many years later.

Button Box Blues

You choose buttons because they are
Vintage, retro, quirky and fun;
But once upon a time
Buttons were a serious affair.
Finally a garment would give up the ghost,
Patched, mended and darned beyond repair
Till only the buttons survived.
They would be removed and dropped
Into the odourless, ancient treasure trove
Of sounds, colours and tales.
It looks exotic now, playful.
Did it ever cross your mind
That we saved buttons
Because we were too poor not to?
Ashamed, we re-used what we could.
Nothing was thrown away that wasn’t exhausted,
Utterly useless.
My father’s collar stud,
Tipped with a dot of yellow veined ivory,
Lay beneath the eyed and doubled eyed discs
Through which we saw the past.
Hopefully, it had been added to the box,
Not knowing his starched white collars
Were no longer required.

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