Friday, 28 December 2012

5 o'clock sky

My poplin dress of baby  blue,
all smocking and puffed sleeves,
with scattered flowers of some pinky hue
through which raspberry ice cream weaves.

Saturday, 15 December 2012


Cat on my lap
Hot water bottle
Sinuously stretching 
Soft paw pad
My face

Friday, 14 December 2012

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

haiwinds haiku 2

Nuns, a flotilla
Tacking fearlessly windward,
Their black sails snapping.

Monday, 3 December 2012

a reminder...

Writing Our Way Home's 3rd mindful writing initiative is almost here! 

Start 2013 by clearing a daily space for beauty - join our Mindful Writing Challenge.

Find out more:

Sunday, 2 December 2012

sunday morning 
church bells
pavement cafè croissants coffee
bicycles and children running
chihuahua in a yellow coat 
pebbled alleys bookshop windows  
seaspray wind and salted lips
swept  home upon its briny bluster
to bisto gravy and brussel sprouts

Friday, 30 November 2012

haiwind haiku

howling shrieking wind

the normally proud palm trees

humbled and trembling

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Today no sun will shine
the boiling clouds will crush the sky
no light will break.
Perpetual dusk will give way finally
but only to a deeper blackened night
of shifting scudding panting shadows
fleeing from a baleful moon.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

small kindnesses

 " Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. "  Lao Tzu

   Can any kindness really be called small by the person who receives it? Every word and every act of kindness I've ever had bestowed upon me, I've received with humility and an immeasurable amount of gratitude, no matter how seemingly small that act or word seemed to the giver, no matter how inconsequential to them, no matter their intention. And a small act can often be a timely reminder of our own occasionally  ungenerous thoughts. 
   Yesterday, over lunch with my husband, I was bemoaning the fact that twice last week while shopping, the cashier didn't give me the 1 centesimo change from the bill of whatever and 99 cents. I hastily pointed out that it isn't the money, because after all what can you do with 1 cent - but the fact that neither cashier even acknowledged the fact. Until recently, a supermarket would give you a sweet if they didn't have a couple of cents change to give you - in these euro crisis times that no longer happens. Of course, I could have said something, but that would have made me look like Mrs Scrooge, because after all...etc. Still I fulminated, these were two big stores with branches all over Italy, it's not like they need my 1 cent, and just think, if they do that to 10 people a day, every day, in every store - that all adds up you know. My husband, a simple man, looked at me and said something noncommittal. After all, he's Italian, he would have just asked where his 1 cent was. 
   Today I popped into a supermarket - part of a local chain but a branch that I don't use very often. While my shopping was being totted up, I mentioned to the cashier that I might have left my loyalty card behind when I was last in, a month or so ago. She picked up a pile of cards, sorted through and found mine without problem. I was so thankful and when she presented the bill of €15.37, I scrabbled through my purse looking for the right money as I knew that, as usual, she wouldn't have much change, but I was short of 10 cents and had to give her a €20 note. Giving it back to me, she said she would take the change as she didn't have any and I could settle the 10 cents next time. And while I had been scrabbling, she had packed my shopping. Yes, it could be said that she was making things easy for herself too and it wasn't her money after all, but as I walked home, the kindness of the cashier made me reflect on all that I had said the day before, my judgement and my pettiness. Wasn't it really that I was angry with myself for not being able to say something at the time and so in turn felt taken advantage of and therefore seen as weak? 
  That 10 cents worth of kindness not only restored my faith in humanity but also forced me, in the light of my own Buddhist faith, to face and answer honestly some questions about my own intentions and actions. The Dalai Lama has famously said that his religion is kindness - and you know, I think  kindness is a religion that all of us, of any faith and non at all, can practice every day.

Join in the Small Kindnesses  blog splash and celebrate Fiona Robyn's novel of the same name. To  find out more visit Fiona's blog (, or join the Facebook event (

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

monday evening

at  dusk's first falling 
on a velvet still and silvered sea 
soft lights bob and glow 
reflected in a liquid mirror
the fishing boats come home

Monday, 19 November 2012

Kindness costs Nothing

Join our Small Kindnesses Blogsplash & write about kindness...

On Tuesday the 27th of November I'm joining the Small Kindnesses Blogsplash and writing about a special small kindness someone paid me in the past. Would you like to join me?

The Blogsplash is organised by Fiona Robyn to celebrate the release of her novel 'Small Kindnesses' which will be free on Kindle on the day. All you have to do is write something about being kind - a memory of someone who was kind to you, a list of kindnesses over the past week, or something kind you did for someone else. It'll be a celebration of kindness in all its forms, especially those little kind acts that make all the difference (like this one Fiona wrote about).

Be kind to yourself and come and join us on the day..

My religion is kindness - HH The Dalai Lama 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

November 6 2012

Grey sky pressing up against the window,

I close the curtains and refuse entry.


Thursday, 1 November 2012

Monday, 11 June 2012

Colour Me Gone

Force of habit brought me here
Back to where we started
The point from which all directions take form
And rivers and skies
Each bridge a story that encompasses another day
A second, a lifetime.
A map which delineates the changes
Made by us and for us by each other
And those others that we knew and didn't know
Our emotional footprint
We share a silence that speaks for us
For we ourselves have nothing more to say
That hasn't already been wept
Or laughed or burned or lived
Our dictionary in every language has been exhausted
The binding undone, the pages lost.
Force of habit turns my steps south
To the light, to the sun
To another place far from this darkness

Monday, 14 May 2012

Another Place; Tender is the Night

Tangled in the sheets and one another,
Drenched in the cool clean air of early morning,
Listening to the ringing of the sail boat masts
And the seagull laughter carried on the water.

We lay now silent, now talking, resting,
Fingers tracing skin by touch connected.
The greater seperation of our bodies
Reminds us of the need to not let go.
Silently we engrave one upon the other
The memory of ourselves.
You make some coffee, we share a cigarette.
This 4.00 am madness.

And in the end
True intimacy is not measured by the sweated thrusts,
Our  straining bodies, the convulsing cries,
Nor by the passion spent
Or the quality and quantity of pleasure gained.
It  is your hand
Resting on my arm,
The way our breathing moves and fits,
Your lips against my shoulder,
The comfort of our silence,
The knowing when to cease, to sleep.
It is in these things that we are us,
Where we finally come to rest
And where we know the real intimacy of love

Sunday, 13 May 2012

two haiku

From an endless sky
I pull down a floating moon
But cannot hold it.

This dreaming has passed,
Cloth of gold with words woven,
As I knew it must.

Between the devil and the deep blue sea
You have inspired the best and the worst in me.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

                                         ashes of roses
                                       floreate bohemia
                                      gilded and baroque

Monday, 30 April 2012

Another Place; Other People's Parties

No, don't move
Stay just there, right there where you are
At the bottom of the stairs
Caught in the laughing light
Radiantly alive, shining, golden.
Stay right there
And let me stand here watching
From a half opened door
Lost in quiet shadows
And a trembling personal dusk,
Falling, falling, drowning.
Please, no please, don't go
Don't leave and leaving 
Take the very breath, the essence of life with you.
But if you go, before you go, turn
Remember me for a moment
And bequeath me the memory of your smile.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

dear joni

the bed can never be too big

although I agree that sometimes the frying pan is too wide

Wednesday, 25 April 2012


a fallen blossom
white petals scattered like snow
leaving life behind

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

My Most Beautiful Thing

Today I'm taking part in My Most Beautiful Thing, a Blogsplash to celebrate Fiona Robyn's new book, which you can actually download for FREE today from Amazon. If you don't have a Kindle, you can also download the free Kindle for PC app and read it on your computer. It's still not too late to join in the fun by writing something and posting it here,  

My Most Beautiful Thing is just this
And it may not be clever or long
And it may not scan or make rhyme
And impossible to turn into song.

My Most Beautiful Thing might be short
And it might be sad or a comic exchange
It could be invented or dreamt of or real
It could be common or garden or strange.

My Most Beautiful Thing is just this.
That I can listen, I can think, I can see
That I can dream this and write this and live
And be unafraid, and willing and free.


Friday, 20 April 2012

a beautiful thing

Is it your one year old niece's golden smile? The pale pink peony buds in your garden? A silver ring given to you by your grandmother? Your shiny red Vespa scooter? Is your most beautiful thing a place or a moment? Is it a philosophy or a value?

On Tuesday the 24th of April, I'm taking part in a Blogsplash to celebrate beautiful things, inspired by Fiona Robyn's new novel, 'The Most Beautiful Thing'.

People all over the world will be blogging, tweeting & writing about their own most beautiful thing.

You could post a photo or write a prose piece about your most beautiful thing. You could write a small stone or show us a piece of artwork you've made in honour of your most beautiful thing. It's completely up to you. You could be extravagant and post a whole series of your most beautiful things.

Writing Our Way Home are making a directory of everyone who's taking part, and they will also re-post their favourite entries on their blog over the following month.

If you'd like to join me, email for more details.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Italian Hours

Tea time in Sardinia. The  good company of English ladies, tea and cake

Friday, 13 April 2012

Another Place; The Square Box

You stood before me in the haze and light,
Already mellowing soft, an afternoon.
I, on a bench of wood, long grass, tall daisies,
A warm wall nearby, russet earth.
A window open, deep silled, a red geranium in a terracotta pot.
Perhaps I held a book, Maugham or Henry James.
You seemed to be all white cotton and khaki
And in your hands you cradled a collection, objects,
Your elegant fingers the graceful custodians of precious things.

I cannot see them now; I no longer know.
But I did know that you needed a box to put them in
And that this was something, yes, that I could do for you,
Because in my mind I saw it.
Squared, shallow, soft dove grey cardboard
But strong, perfect in its symmetry, its close fitting lid, its worthiness.
And imagined this way, so it became and  it was here.

We must have spoken. At least, I recall some words
Your mouth, your lips moving,
Your lips. That crumpled shirt.
The hairs on your bare arm standing, backlit,
You seemed all golden and stillness and I spoke your name.
Oh cherished remembrance of the warmth of us,
The grass scented, rich and fertile air, a sudden singing bird,
The drifting of a spent dandelion's clock..
What was the time, when we sat
Gazing, side by side, into the box between us?
I wonder still.

And I wonder still, what was it that we saw?

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Herbal Highku

Rosemary fresh picked;
Pungent, vital, vigorous.
Scent punching the air.

Hands plunged amongst leaves,
Such freshmint memories burst forth
Upon my open palms.

Parsley, bruised and crushed.
A violent sacrifice
On the tongues'altar.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Spring and Zen

All winter
These buds have been fiercely closed.
Armoured, carapaced, primordial.
It's almost incomprehensible to me,
This sudden bursting forth.
The fragile living filigree
Of leaf and flower.
Witnessing the magic
Of this timeless mystery,
Unchangeable and unchanging, perpetual,
Without beginning, without end,
I begin to understand my nothingness.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Silver Linings

If it hadn't been for the hanging grey sky,
Those strange tree leaf blossoms would have passed me by.
If it hadn't been for the fading light,
That creamy retro Vespa wouldn't have seemed so bright.
If it hadn't been for the suddenly cool air
I wouldn't have rushed home and found my coffee waiting there.

A Most Beautiful Blogsplash

On the 24th April,  I'm taking part in the My Most Beautiful Thing Blogsplash to celebrate beautiful things - inspired by Fiona Robyn's new novel, The Most Beautiful Thing. Bloggers from all over the world are taking part and writing or posting pictures of their most beautiful things today. Find out more here and on the day you  can see everyone else's blog posts here.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Another Place; Lilac Wine

I will take refuge in you here
And we will be quiet together.
There will be a gently ticking clock,
The breathy sigh of pages turning
And the tinkling ring of spoons
Against lustrous roseate china.
We will be held in the loving embrace
Of the old chintzed and shabby sofa
With its secret nesting corners
And its glorious overblown cushions.

And through the open windows
French , wooden, eau de nil,
A drifting sky will ruffle curtains
And gift the aching heady scent of lilacs.

We will not speak, we need no words
But when at last the end of day
Sees light slip stealthily to another place
You will catch the book as it closes and falls,
Press your cool fingers against my flushed and beating brow, my wearied eyes.

And I will cast myself adrift
On your strength, your life, your youth,
Rapt to the end with the aching heady scent of lilacs.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

remembrance of things past

I like these warm dampish days that usher in the spring
The sea hanging heavy in the misting air, the breeze full of the soft promise.
And even if they are long distant,
The mystery and the magic of them
Those bluebells and primroses of my childhood,
Is forever present.
Enough to conjure up
That soft blue haze under the deep green,
Shot through with sunlight,
Which finds the secret smiling yellow faces
And the irridescence of half glimpsed fairies wings
And the perfume
Oh that perfume..
The sudden and beautiful keening pain of remembrance.

Thursday, 23 February 2012


A pickled onion
crunchy, sharp,pungent and hot.
Now, come and kiss me.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Sunday blessing

The cat George
catching flies
so I don't have to

Perky eared
and frisky tailed
whiskers a go-go.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Monday, 13 February 2012

heaven's a poppin'

 I spent the morning helping out in a local library on a voluntary basis. At one point I tidied up a tiny bookshelf of childrens pop up books, remembering the pop up edition of Peter Pan I had over 50 years ago, so beautifully made and illustrated. It's somehow comforting and hopeful to think children today can still experience that same excitement that I felt  all those years ago. This is what I always hope for, that no matter what technology can do for us, people will still always discover and love the special magic that only books can create.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

let it snow

 7.00am and the excitement of seeing settled snow and then the large soft silent flakes, I rush to put the moka on, then the milk, grab the camera, open the door, take some photos. It's good to be 8 again.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

the bumpy middle way

There are days when I do nothing but compromise it seems,
Days when I have to give in.
Moments of thinking 'Oh have it your own way'
And feeling I never can win.


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

dharma rain

We sit inside, the cats and myself, staring glumly at the sheeting rain. There are days like this, when you can do nothing except accept that you can do nothing and enjoy the pause, the silence, the mindrest, the dharma rain.

Saturday, 4 February 2012


I'm looking at the bike that I've just bought and the two men are telling me to try it out, I'm terrified and that makes me angry and now we are snapping at each other and I feel rather stupid and a bit ashamed so...I put one foot on the pedal, take a deep breath and... oh... yes... I'm cycling up the road and turning round and coming back and the cold is stinging my eyes and I brush my hair off my forehead, one hand already! It's true, you know, you never forget.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

first of the month

As one journey draws to a conclusion, so another road beckons. I find myself on the brink of something high and unknown, balanced between falling and flying and I know in my soul that only letting go of fear will decide the outcome.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Corner Stone

Today I see a horizon slashed by great swathes of black rain and think aha my stone for today and then I think  oh but it's the last day and then I know that no it isn't really because these stones make ripples and then bigger ripples and then waves and there are no beginnings and no ends...............

Monday, 30 January 2012

Hello Kitty Stone

I put my face against her fur and smell woodsmoke, that evocation of an English autumn with its bonfires, potatoes in their jackets, wet red leaves and chimneys smoking against a rusty sky. Knowing nothing of these things my Italian cat brings me this precious gift, this moment of memories, another life and another country.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Shoah Stone

I place my stone on history's memorial. It reminds me to remember never to forget what we, at our worst, are capable of.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

fastfood stone

Six tiny fat little birds fussing and fluttering in the bush overhanging the balcony, one cat looking at them as I might look, luxuriously, at the contents of a box of chocolates.

Monday, 23 January 2012

ready salted stone

 We sit in the sun at our favourite bar. We order aperitivi. With ice. For the first time ever we eat the entire bowl of potato crisps  - another thing that not smoking does for us. I feel slightly reckless as if even being here is not wholly appropriate for a Monday lunchtime in January.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Proustian Stone

Reading the overture to Swann's way it strikes me that this is a veritable tsunami of stones..

Friday, 20 January 2012

molten stone

Yesterday I glanced at the sea in passing; occupying its space at the bottom of the road it looked like a big bowl of molten lead about to tip over on top of us all.
Today I glanced at the sea in passing and saw that it was busily rushing by us; we had been spared.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Sneaky stone

I'm supposed to be rushing around the market, feeling up the aubergines and sniffin out the oranges while he goes off on other business but instead I go into a bar, get an espresso to go and stand in the sun and drink it. Hee hee, how delicious this sneaky little moment is, just  me and my ego playing hookey.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Tea Ceremony Stone

Keys on table
Bag on chair
Kiss kiss everything ok?
Kiss kiss fine
Kettle on
Washing machine on
Ok? You just asked! Oh ok
Hot water into teapot hot water from teapot into mug empty teapot two pinches of green leaves in pot, wait, ok hot water from mug back into teapot and...

Now. Here. Finally. Three minutes and the world slows, and I'm  looking at the turquoise glaze of the pot lid,  and I'm breathing slowly and looking at the reflected lights winking and twinkling on the surface of the creamy worktop and I'm thinking tea.

Monday, 16 January 2012

monday's sunday stone

Looking out to sea as if from the deck of a liner, the view was so enchantingly perfect that I couldn't convince myself that it was really real until I took my sunglasses off.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

heavy stone

Reading comments on the BBC website I feel such a dark dull ache building inside me. I simply don't understand how people can hate without cause, reason or fear and with such pleasure. I despair.

Friday, 13 January 2012

one bird, two stones

Sometimes it's more fun to be skipping stones on the beach than staying at home writing them.

I opened the window briefly to the sound of a neighbour cutting their grass and suddenly it was early summer 1965 in the school grounds under the cherry trees and the sound of tennis, the summer dresses, the sun, shade, regulation shoes and forbidden pleasures.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

edible stone

That crazy sea air, so wild and free and sharp that I want to consume huge mouthfuls and be consumed in turn.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Monday, 9 January 2012

not stoned....

Quite suddenly, in the middle of the afternoon, I decided to make pastry. This is what not smoking can do.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Sunday Stone

This morning I took a different turning and  rediscovered how thrillingly liberating it can feel to be vaguely lost.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Stepping Stone

 Sitting at the kitchen table with Liliana and Carmela; we are more or less the same age but I am suddenly aware that  I no longer find it strange or agitating that they call me aunt. Conscious acceptance brings me such peace.