Tuesday, 30 April 2013

At rest

And today I'm mostly writing precious trash,
trying, and failing, to write a party hat
out of toilet paper, a whistle from a squib.
Sitting here in the sun it IS all beauty though,
a short trip out of tired, stressed, stretched.
Here I am happy hippy, sunshine and smiles,
home I shall be, grumpy, rushed-off-feet.
Melting into the sun's tender embrace, relaxed
for ninety minutes, alone. Just breathe.

                                                                              © Mary Parker 2013

And that's it, my first NaPoWriMo attempt. I've kept up fairly well, a couple of late posts but on the whole it's been good. It has become a bit of an academic exercise, since I normally write if and when inspiration hits, so having to produce a poem at least once a day has been a great discipline.

Monday, 29 April 2013


Drunk again, it takes so little
effort now, these days
a dram will do it, even half
will add to yesterday and
fell my mind. My love,
my lover, my mental friend -
will your enmity never end?
Sober I cannot see you, 
but cycle and circle and suckle
on scotch will turn my head
and look on you again. Your 
hidden face is all I see,
hiding all your news from me
and choosing not to speak -
I miss our feinting and falls,
our almost rans and closer calls,
the anger and the hurting, all
the sharing, caring, skirting mauls.
What we had is gone for good,
your face, your name still find me 
stood up. Lost. Climbing back. 
Your move.

© Mary Parker 2013

Sunday, 28 April 2013


I will never be the girl you sing about,
never the laughing, tempting object
playing with your heart.
My age, but in another world,
your art, your confidence,
you're hard, hardened by fame,
able to choose your friends,
kind enough to those who ask,
but distanced by necessity
from obsessives, and those others
who would love to stay and chat.
Nice to think that one day
a chance meeting and spare time
might bring shared reminiscences
of childhood; memories of tunes
half-remembered, and the feel,
the world  evoked by the chords
and key-changes, decades ago
brought near. That would make my day.
To sit and chat like friends with you,
in a place where no-one else knows your face.

© Mary Parker 2013

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Discontent of winter

I've let myself get cold again.
Coffee made, the mug held tight
will ease the shivering, but still
I'm hard to warm up -
the old sets take a while.
Sometimes I'm cold, in stasis,
weeks and weeks on end,
not a glimmer of hope
of a thaw in sight.
One brief window of heat
and then it's gone again,
a figment of our imaginations,
or your fantasies - mine
seem long gone over the hills.
Hypothermic I stay asleep,
the fatigue is in my bones,
the freeze settling in my muscles,
but a little warmth would benefit
far more than blazing fire,
might tempt this old hermit
out of the snow cave.

© Mary Parker 2013

Friday, 26 April 2013


I loved once.
Not a good love,
a broken one,
for a broken man.
He was distant,
but he made a place
where we could all meet.
We were all there,
but he had to leave
before his time,
before mine.
I wanted to leave too
but it wasn't right.
The place is now gone,
unused, abandoned
and echoing, no trace
of his life there
or ours. No sign of life
at all.

© Mary Parker 2013


Late spring, buds begin to swell at April's end.
The sun's warm now, but the breeze still chills.
They stroll, wrapped in each other like winter coats,
united and absorbed in their own universe.
The closeness is constant, never letting go,
symbiotic, moving from one degree to another,
natural, instinctive and without burden of guilt or compulsion.
Love, touch, care, selflessness, fondness, desire, fulfilment,
as if the divine were walking the earth in perfection.

© Mary Parker 2013

Thursday, 25 April 2013


Can you say, hand on heart,
that you'll stay, if I start
to live this way? Can I ask
that if I pay my life, my task 
each passing day may be by last
sun's ray, and sleeping, cast
by gathered hay. I have the chance 
to keep at bay the gnawing dance
my mind will play beneath your glance.

© Mary Parker 2013

Wednesday, 24 April 2013


I write 'yew' and
a thousand-year-old tree
springs from the earth of my mind,
stretching across church-yards,
broad trunks split and arching,
thick, dark canopy
makes all below sombre.

I write 'you' and
I wonder who I mean - so many faces
have borne that name, yet
only one at a time, always loved,
often mourned, never here.
'You', the hypothetical dear
end to my life, my fear.

© Mary Parker 2013

Tuesday, 23 April 2013


Diving through the air,
speeding over land and sea,
climbing high
over snow topped mountains
then plummeting into valleys,
following waterfalls into the foam
then rushing up to meet the sky again.
Passing through leaves,
caressed by the forest
then washed by the clouds
hanging low in the canopy,
blinded then welcomed
and dried by bright sunshine,
then rush on to moonlight and stars,
slow for a while,
twisting and turning through houses and streets,
easing fingers through doorways and windows,
blowing gently on cheeks
then rattling windows
as momentum builds  again,
racing to beat the dawn.

© Mary Parker 2013

Art imitating world (22.4.13)

The things that I most love in nature
are the things I cannot seem to draw -
trees and clouds evade me,
one too complex, the other quick to change,
and both seem to mock my attempts.
I simplify, take the essence,
and lose the substance
even of the insubstantial vapour.
I want to pin them down,
not to keep them but to honour them,
to create something worthy of them,
capturing their beauty, their twisted ugliness
and making a hymn to it,
showing the world what it is too busy to see.

© Mary Parker 2013

Monday, 22 April 2013

Big waiting room (21.4.13)

Sat surrounded by ambient noise,
sociable chat; quiet babble
punctuated by loud outbursts,
unselfconscious reactions
to the other end of a phone.
Conversations intersect in nonsense rhymes,
constant interruption from single phone rings,
tapping feet, bored kids. Bored adults.
Small talk embarrassed into silence
by careless gossip broadcasts.
Too much information.

© Mary Parker 2013

Saturday, 20 April 2013


Every bit of it,
losing sight of it.
In the night a ship
sailing past the tip
of the landfall strip,
endless circle trip.
Spinning planet's grip,
it's no longer fit.

© Mary Parker 2013

19th April. Self-denial

'Not coping' doesn't feature in your vocabulary,
so I concede to your authority.
I'm needed, indispensible,
I should feel glad -I feel a weight removed,
only because it's out of my hands,
and that my divorce from myself
is to continue. Not resignation;
recognition of the state I must remain in.
Permanent semi-breakdown,
but for the best cause, losing myself
for the benefit of others, learning
to put myself last, crucifying self.

© Mary Parker 2013

Thursday, 18 April 2013

The grey between waking and sleeping

Funny how a tired mind turns feverish,
interprets absently the most ordinary things
into waltzes and sweeping gestures.
A turn from sink to kitchen worktop in a blink
becomes sweeping through a dance 
with a dashing partner,
swinging and holding you just enough
to pass you by.

Sentences become garbled molecules of words,
vowels and consonants vying with syllables
to create a new vocabulary.
Undecipherable phrases make perfect sense to you
as you drift into dreams,
then startle awake as your head hits the desk.

© Mary Parker 2013

Wednesday, 17 April 2013


You sing, your voice fragile and strong somehow.
I see the man behind the voice,
and remember a better time,
and wonder what became of him,
what became of those days
when we were all much younger
with so much still to live for.
You already had so much to leave behind.

I've seen men with good friends
who turn blind eyes
to self-destruction, or else
they know they can't be helped
and try to ease the pain
with indulgence.
I've lost one already,
don't want to hear of another
losing the fight.
I want
to hear
you're living.

© Mary Parker 2013

A drop in time

A week without alcohol, not intentional
but my body now aches for it
and I oblige.
Am I an addict?
It only takes a little to calm the call,
just a sip of spirit
or a glass of beer,
just one,
to calm the sense of confusion
or fear.
Just one.

© Mary Parker 2013


Unease, waiting and hoping for a rest,
for relief, sleep. Tightness 
in the small of my back, nerves taut,
hands shake. No reason except the desire
to be finished, to be done with the day.
To be at rest - relaxed and calm, 
all work done, no demands,
eyes closed and warmed by sun.

© Mary Parker 2013

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


I lack the necessary skills.
Much is asked of me, and I feel
unable to respond,
much less accept. Let down
and altered somehow,
their faces fall, their attitude
towards me fading from expectant
into disdain and disappointment.
They go stalking their next victim.

© Mary Parker 2013

15th April

Thankless, the work
of counting your sparks,
of seeing how far
the fireworks could arc.
Anyone else
would think of themselves,
would never look back,
put grease on the track.
But me? Still here
to pour you a beer,
to value your art,
ride home in your heart.

© Mary Parker 2013

Sunday, 14 April 2013


It doesn't pay to dwell...
Faces from the past look back,
smiling, daring to breathe,
happy with their grandchildren
and I am glad for them.
Grown old together, still happy,
grey hair, wrinkled faces
of people remembered as kind friends.
My parents long gone, I envy
but not for long, my friends
still having theirs.

© Mary Parker 2013

Saturday, 13 April 2013


This illness. It's contagious.
Stating the obvious,
it won't help.
Bacterial for me, viral for the computer,
but both rendered 
fairly useless
by a pain in the gut
and a growling 
from the deepest pit of function.
The solution to one illness 
will likely compound the other.
Wishing for a reboot button
that will configure new updates
and bug fixes for the human constitution.
Hoping the reboot of the pc
will bring closure and a silent night.

© Mary Parker 2013

Friday, 12 April 2013

Time Called haiku

Erratic rambling,
time consuming drinkers howl
as last orders placed.

© Mary Parker 2013

Thursday, 11 April 2013


Canopies green and gold
cover the grass.
Families young and old
march down the paths.
Everything they've been sold
won't come to pass,
stories that they've been told
nothing but farce.
Joyfulness hard and cold
stones have been cast,
acid tongues bite and scold.
Tied to the mast,
paper to crease and fold,
ocean so vast,
sky so clear and bold,
diving so fast,
truth will remain untold,
sinking the past.

© Mary Parker 2013

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


In time, it will heal -
this gash in your side, in your heart,
just a break in the tension
of your skin.
The surface will heal, the knife-tip
buried too deep to matter,
and some day even the scar will fade.
Just a twinge to remind,
once a year, on that day,
the twist of the words
that took your life away,
stole your breath and your blood
and left not much but tears
to show for a lifetime of hurt.
Now you're here,
in this place at this time
and standing, despite gravity's tugs
and slides and slurs.
Your face set, your shoes on,
ready to stare down the world.
Go get 'em, girl.

© Mary Parker 2013

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Passing Time Haiku

Sitting watching words.
Time flies by, passes too fast,
and full-stops brake hard.

 © Mary Parker 2013

Monday, 8 April 2013


Hard to fathom people's reactions to you-
little children stare open mouthed
until you speak, and you become teacher,
and they are willing students
discovering skills they never knew.
Passers by try not to look, some say hello,
but more frown a sideways frown
and wonder why you're as you are.
Old folks, they're the wonder.
To some you're a curiosity, some will patronise,
others canonise, view themselves as unworthy
while you are able to speak, and work.
Functioning when you are as you are
is for them beyond wonder.
Others will just refuse to believe
that you are capable of producing things of beauty
even when it's done before their eyes.
And yet I know, I know you inside out,
so much so that I have lost the wonder
and take you for granted, I forget
what it felt like to meet you for the first time,
the shock of your appearance, then of your speech
and your ease of conversation.
The old lady, and the little child,
remind me that there is someone truly great
behind all that domesticity and anguished work.

                                                                           © Mary Parker 2013

Sunday, 7 April 2013

high cloud

High cloud masks the sun.
I'm able to see its disc,
and the shadow that a contrail
has thrown across it
like someone trying to cross out light.
Instead, the diffuse glow
is quietly blinding, a non-glare
paining the eyes,
subtly sparkling diamonds on water
and throwing its own gentle shadows,
crossing out the darkness.

© Mary Parker 2013

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Drive home

Distracted and curious, I drive,
exhausted by life, drained...
just one sign-post enough
to alter my course,
overcome by childish curiosity
to see what lies that way.
Somewhere behind me a child cries,
a husband mourns. Another day.

© Mary Parker 2013

5th April

A single cloud at dusk,
a moon rising to the setting sun,
fist-shaped cumulus,
alone and ominous,
but beautiful in folds and rolls
of shaded pinks and greys.
Distant billow of smoke
how innocent you look.

© Mary Parker 2013

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Free for a limited time

The sun breaks through gloom,
and I dream of walking high above the world.
The evening light, elation and space,
the freedom from charm and compulsion.
Dancing on top of the world with no one to see,
sitting and soaking up the sun,
setting over and over again
with the last warm rays and ruffling breeze
straying and caressing,
removing cares. I'm able to breathe.

© Mary Parker 2013

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Cold-call paranoia

The circular script
ties us in knots.
"I am not her."
"There must be some mistake!"
"Who's speaking please?"
"Are you her? Is this your number?"
"I am not her."
"Must be some mistake."
"Who do you work for?"
"I have already told you! Is this your own number?"
"I don't know who you are!"

I hang up.
It's haunting me.
It achieved its aim.
Feeling compromised, exposed,
it still circles, stuck in a groove,
he's still there trying to get in.

© Mary Parker 2013

Tuesday, 2 April 2013


Sitting cross-legged, self-conscious
you speak confidently, used to this.
What you have made is beautiful,
and you speak as if it were feeble.
Disarmingly direct, tied in knots
and evasive, quizzed and quizzical,
politically avoiding intrusions
and patiently enduring embarrassment.

© Mary Parker 2013 

Monday, 1 April 2013

Lost Marbles

"Scared of losing who I am" -
well, I lost myself.
Lost in life, in love,
In death and survival.
Still alive, but I'm missing;
who I was is left here,
still learning how to be,
part of me still here,
part in a fantastic place
never to return.
Little windows fastened,
rays of past edge through,
wake a memory, drown me 
until I can nail it down again.
I will not sing his song,
I will listen and remember,
my heart sings for me,
and weeps, and dies,
again, and again, and again.
Don't want to remember
when I was alive.

Mary Parker, with excerpts of lyrics from Marillion's album Marbles (from the songs Genie, Fantastic Place and Ocean Cloud) http://www.marillion.com/music/albums/marbles.htm