I built an island from my stuff, and at least once a week I dive under to check that it is all there and in good order.
The ropes are tied, everything is accounted for. I’m rich.
The deeps are intoxicating and sweet even though I am better off with plain old air to breathe.

I wake up one day, my face resting on warm sand, and hear voices in my head.
“I had to hoard, because you never know
if it’s a rescuer or a tsunami that’s around the corner.”
“Those pirates tricked me, said you can’t have too many pairs of shoes
and, girl you look good in the jacket with the epaulettes.”
“You can send me out an SOS, anytime. I sleep with my message bottle under my pillow – you should too.”

It sounds like nonsense. I can’t weigh up any more
whether it’s all worth drowning for.

Terrified, I abandon my island.
With every stroke I try to distance myself from my treasures
but the island threatens to drag me under.

The damn thing is still tied around my waist – by a shoestring.

My stuff can
in the middle of the night
My things
unhinge me
when I try to put things right
My possessions turned into obsessions –
first a chest of sentimental baubles and now a mountain of memories that will not set sail, even if I say I want to cut loose.

Without all this, who’d I be?

I’d be swimming to open sea
I’d be a dolphin,
I’d be free.
I’d be visiting all the four corners of the world, sky and me.

I was a grown woman when I faced my hydrophobia,
so I’m still a novice when I tread water.
I fill my lungs with useless things like:
Ditch the extra anchor, faster, we only need one!
oh no, where is that rope, I really need it now
how will we pay for the island taxes next month?
too busy with hurling sandbags into the ocean, I forget to enjoy my husband and my children.

We can’t be good at everything, and
minimalism can be an addiction.

Someone’s throwing me a life line tonight. A ship’s captain who steers his own vessel on the same course as mine and keeps close watch over me, says:

You know how swim. Go slow. Just throw the ballast overboard bit by bit.
It’s what little you have on your travels that matter,
not how too much you don’t.
Transform that old fear into a rocksteady certainty that you do manage to keep your head above water. You always do.

Help is on its way.

Then, he puts his arm across my chest, I let my head rest on his breast,
and he brings me and my island safely back to shore.

He helps me make a trapdoor.
Stuff and ideas I don’t need anymore
go through that hole in the floor.
I’ve got a telescope
and a periscope
where I search for hope
that I can master both my memories and some things
yet still be free to spread my wings.

PoemItNote #1


AllbymyselfI was doing a walking meditation, clearly not meditating, after I’d written this piece.

I think I would strike out the first appearance of “the place of”, as I don’t like it popping up twice in such a short poem.

It would then read:

All by myself
with you
As you drift to
your dreaming, your imagines
Each time
one more time less
I cap my wish to disconnect
and instead I rest in your
rhythmic journeying, every night,
to that other place

Word barren


So you see, I’m at a stage in my life where I want to
Down size
Let go
Live lean
Be mindful
Buy experiences, not things
Remember – there is always just enough
I want to consciously consume
Have a capsule wardrobe
Feel that every little thing I own sparks joy and puts spring in my step
keep one shelf in my house absolutely empty
Remove the junk drawer
Handmake my skincare
Wear no cosmetics
Think nose to tail, organic
Or better, vegetarian
Better still, go vegan
Make from scratch
I’m on a path to minimalism

I stumbled across a barren word desert
I copywrote the fibres out of my song!
When instead I should be indulgent in my poetry
This is the one place in my being where economy should not apply
Words should spill over the edges and fall out of the sky
Letters should clutter and be left out to spoil

or transform

In my mind I can burn my words till they rise to a better place, water them, shed light on them and let them rot to dust where they make rich soil for new ones
Let there be lots of words
Stuff my head with them, until they spew out from my jaws and make my throat ache
Words can tumble and rumble
Coil and untie
Whisper and cry
Appear and multiply
They can pile on each other
Go in weird orders or combinations
And even be obscured
And become monsters or creations

It was a mistake to sweep them away
let them disappear
I cannot let it happen again, for fear

It will close my mind
Silence my voice
Tie my hands
Lock my heart
Block my ears
Dry up my tears

Words are the one currency
That can move
And words are free
I can use them till my very last breath
There are no limitations
When it comes to these monsters or creations
And while they might disappoint, or contradict
Surprise or cause conflict
Maybe reconcile, unhinge, unlock or unite
I can let someone else inside my brain
I can feel interconnected like an intercity train
My words may miss the mark, or hit the nail in the middle of the eyes
Each word has a beginning and each word a last letter
I must let my words be born, breathe life and love into them


Words are my children
Like my genes, I can pass them on – but with one extra quality