One of my favourite things about running Creative Writing for Creative Mothers is getting to know the women on the course and having the privilege of reading some of their writing. Naturally, the tasks on the course inspire some very personal work, so it feels particularly rewarding when one of our writers feels confident enough to share their writing publicly.

This evening we’re celebrating the work of one of our Creative Mothers, Katharine Perry. Katharine has written these moving, honest poems in response to some of the tasks in Creative Writing for Creative Mothers and I’m thrilled that she’s agreed to share them with us here.

Thank you, Katharine, for sharing this collection of three of your wonderful pieces. I’m sure so many others will be inspired by your poetry!

 

Listening to Leonard Cohen

Just after you were born,

I sent your Dad down

to get me brie and bacon.

I put on ‘Sisters of Mercy’

the music that we’d listened

to together before

when I bathed to help

bear the weight

and when you first kicked.

Alone now

still in the delivery room

blood still in my hair

and still on my face

everything still

every pain replaced by calm.

My shoulders rounded over

your perfect little body

like a bell.

The chimes and the words

ringing softly through the

standard hospital room.

And you

tiny, scrawny,

soft, skinny,

moving, nuzzling

into me.

Still inseparable,

the air magic around us and

everything enchanted now,

with you here.

We listen to the same song

often in these first few months

as you go to sleep

in my arms again

and sometimes it’s all too much:

the loveliness of life,

of you and Leonard Cohen,

how soft and warm you are,

and the fear that memories fade.

Katharine Perry

 

When I most feel like a mother

A sweet and sleepy siren calls me,

‘Mummy’, faint and trembling this time,

I hear it unmistakably and instantly.

I find a little figure, sick and scared,

at the top of the stairs, ghostlike

in the darkness and tartan pyjamas,

perfect Victorian ringlets

tousled by fitful fever sleep

She moves colt-like, only half awake,

trotting back to bed with heavy limbs.

I pull her up into my lap,

she curls up again in that familiar position

but this time reaches her arms

as far as they’ll go around my waist.

Song and closeness lulls her eyes,

allowing herself to sink back down,

now that I’m here.

Katharine Perry

 

 

Waiting for You: August Babies

I waited for you in a heatwave,

London steaming with pavements,

and people, and me, a capsized boat

drifting down the Amazon,

jungle stillness on both sides,

my belly an overturned hull,

already visible more than me.

Waterlogged and overinflated,

taut skin stretched, a balloon ready to pop

at Genevieve’s second birthday in the sun,

making party pizza for everyone sitting while

carrying my own oven always two degrees hotter.

Sleeping with this weight is impossible after 4am

when breaking light starts streaking the sky pink

and the birds and buses are already singing for the day,

that summer hum, the air not quite cool again, still vibrating.

I clump down the stairs, a palm-printed pachyderm

on the sofa crunching cornflakes with crisp, cold milk

watching Countdown and celebrating the seven-letter word

‘waiting’.

Katharine Perry

Thank you, Katharine, for sharing your beautiful poetry here. You’ve found time amidst the chaos of parenting to craft these lyrical records of your early days as a mother; something which I’m sure you and your children will be so grateful for in years to come.

If you have a piece of writing from, or inspired by, the course that you’d like to share in our journal, please email it to me at info@writesparks.co.uk. You’re welcome to publish your work either anonymously or with your name.

And, if you’re yet to join the course and would like to find out more, please click here for all of the details.