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.
still in the delivery room
blood still in my hair
and still on my face
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.
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.
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.
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
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 email@example.com. 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.