Just one more drink.

As a child I grew up with an alcoholic abusive father.

I grew up hating the way he treated us. Embarrassed that he would fall or fight in the street.

He constantly smelled of booze or vomit.

It was always just one more drink.

There was a tiny piece of him that I adored.

The sober piece .

The man that taught me to love animals, whispered to horses, taught me to write poetry.

But as I grew up that piece all but disappeared I’d pray for a miracle it never came.

My mother wouldn’t leave so eventually I ran away from home and never went back.

Last night made me think of the things that the universe gives us as part of our journey and learning.

I studied psychology as a mature student and eventually went into mental health alot of the patients I’ve worked with over the years have drug and alcohol addiction.

Some to class As or prescription drugs

Some to just alcohol.

Some to both.

All self medicating for one reason or another

I have tried not to take them onto my case load.

Let someone else take them

Not because I wouldn’t work well with them.

I would.

Just because some situations are so near the bone for me.

No one knows my past.

So the challenging patients they always work their way to me.

I support them with medication.

Getting to appointments.

Self help groups and working towards counseling then detox it that’s what they want.

It’s emotionally challenging in many ways.

Many (not all) are following patterned behaviour.

Or are self medicating due to physical, sexual or emotional abuse in their lives.

I see them in different moods drunk, high, sober.

But always at some point I see that spark that is really them .

The piece when the guard is down.

That’s the piece we nurture and nurse.

When they move on and are discharged or more to another service it’s so good to know you’ve played a small part.

Sometimes nothing works and it’s just not the right time for them to make a change

That really can be tough.

So for a year or so i haven’t dealt with drug or alcohol issues .

Being Christmas my dad has popped into my head it was never a great time of year as a kid just a excuse to drink even more.

Anyway last night I went over to my son’s to babysit my grand daughter.

She’s eighteen months old a fabulous age filled with curiosity and wonder.

My son was working and my daughter in law had a Christmas night out so off I went and had an evening of spoiling Emilia.

I drove home at 11pm and as you know I look be on a canal tow path so the road town past the cottages is poorly lit and full of pit holes and it’s pouring with rain.

Visibility is poor.

My car is bumping along up and down the pit holes I’m half way along and thes a small flash of white in the road.

Im going real slow there it is again I stop.

Put my lights on main beam and gasp.

There lying face down in the road is Peter the man from no 14.

He’s around 69 an alcoholic he’s lying in a water filled pot hole the white had been a reflective strip on his trainers

Thank the goddess I stopped I’d have run him over.

I jump out the car it’s lashing down.

Peter I shake him

He opens his eyes.

He’s so cold.

“Freezing” he says.

Can you get up?

Are you hurt? He smells of brandy.

I’m kneeling in the rain and I feel ten years old.

His face is bruised I’m okay he says .

I manage to sit him up lean him on the wire fence.

His sister lives six doors up I’ve passed her house .

I run and bang the door

No answer

I bang harder

For f@@ks sake I think we live in a tiny street and no one is about.

I’m running back and phoning my hubby Jeff.

He’s asleep but within minutes hes with me helping Peter to his feet.

Then banging in his sister door until her husband and her come our to see what all the fuss is about.

He’s freezing I say and hurt I think you should take him to the hospital.

Jesus says Colin he left the pub at 9.15 he’s been there hours .

They get him into his house.

Thank you says Colin and and we leave.

I deal with all sorts of situations in work but this has shaken me.

Jeff makes me tea.

I’m shaking.

If you hadn’t have been home late he would have been there all night he says.

He would have died from cold.

I nod.

I know .

This morning he’s still on my mind I see Colin as I drive out of the street.

Is Peter okay I ask.

Yes he says shaking his head .

I can’t believe he lay there in the rain for more than two hours

I’m glad he’s okay I say and drive off.

Tonight Jeff got home from work.

I just seen Peter he says.

He’s limping face all bruised looks terrible.

I cringe .

He was on his way up to the pub.

Said he needed a brandy.

Universe give me a break I’m failing to see what it is that your showing me.

Age of Aquarius

I have some amazing women around me. This poem is for you. For us.

You are my circle.

Warriors,

My sister’s

Like moths to a flame we have found each other.

We are strong women
Independent women.
Wild women, funny. Clever sensitive. Passionate.
inspirational we are free.

We are poets, tellers of stories. Lovers. mothers, daughter’s, Sisters.

We have each others backs.
We are fortress like protectors.

Divine feminine energy
We are goddesses.

Star dust we are spirit.

I feel you for we are connected.

Strands of the same astral web.

We are sparks from the same bright flame

We are source.

Reach out know that I am always here for you

For I am you,

You are me

We are tribe.

Universe.

Have a cup of tea.

No I don’t want a cup of tea.
There is an acrid taste of vomit in my mouth.
Questions asked and I hear them.
I hear them like I’m underwater or in a bubble?
It’s this real or is it a dream.

My head hurts if I move it.
The tea the police man has given me is stone cold.
My tears are warm as they run down my cheeks and splash into the tea cup.

I wonder how many tea cups of tears I will cry.

Enough to fill an ocean?
Rushing now that loud noise in my head.

Technicolour scenes I cannot pause or mute.
Play over and over.
Although my eyes are closed I still see it play.

I press my fingers hard into my temples as if they are stop buttons on a memory remote control
but batteries are dead nothing can stop it.

I’m not wearing any shoes.
My feet are dirty there is a scratch on my left ankle.

Dirt from my front garden I’d been out there all day pulling up privit hedges.

That’s where I was when my world changed standing barefoot grounded.in the April sunshine.
Surrounded by my children in the late afternoon I’ll just finish clearing up this mess then we will go down to pick up your Nan I told them.
A car pulled up in front of my house.
Suddenly I knew, that gut feeling. I felt it physical pain.
I caught my breath and I knew he had killed her.

My Mam. The only one I’d ever known my alcoholic father had finally done it.

The button was pressed the flashbacks began
The chaos was real.

I sorted out my children and got in the car stood in the door way of her flat.

Dark cloud of blood on her carpet marking where she had fallen hitting her head.

Her china cup, Mam inscribed in gold letters half full of cold tea on the window ledge.
Photos of my children on the walls I can smell olobis oil on a tissue she had used.
I hear a shrill scream then a gutteral howl. The cine film of memories in my head plays on.

The scream is mine. No I don’t want tea I want my Mam back.

In the beginning.

People ask where the name of my retreat here in Wales came from

Ravens Retreat.

Here is my story

Little black bird.

She was small tiny in fact.

Not one of them, not part of this tribe and so she didn’t belong.

Saul the king of the crows had said her mother had been a visitor a maverick laying her egg in a nest here in the woods then leaving it to be hatched by one of the king sauls female mates.

Little bird had emerged small scrawny and different she didn’t fit.

The only thing about her that was like the murder of crows she lived with was her colour. She was blacker than the night.

Every day she was reminded that she wasn’t like them smaller not good enough she lived there but she didn’t belong there.

Saul the king was big and mean she had learned not to upset him dodge the sharp elbow of his mighty wing his shrill caw and she had many scars from his sharp beak.

She would wait until everyone had eaten before she dared to look for what scraps were left she survived by living and blending into the shadows.

She lived roosted and nested on the edge of the woods in an old oak tree in a small hollow of a branch near to where she had been hatched.

She knew there was no room for weakness in the woods where she lived the fittest survived the weakest didn’t

The seasons changed the wheel of the year turned new eggs hatched young were born and raised their gathering grew but she was not to see her young born.
Saul would fly into a rage smash her eggs killing her young before her eyes they didn’t stand a chance.

She wondered what was beyond this place her oak tree these woods the stream she dreamed of another place where she could fly and be free.

Then one warm summers evening as she glided alone on a warm summer breeze she was startled by a whoosh of wind as a beautiful huge black bird flew past her.

She watched as he darted and glided this way and that his call was different louder deeper and his feathers though black like hers were darker she followed him as he landed stealthy on an old oak tree on the otherside of the woods.

‘Where do you come from?’ asked the little black bird across the ocean far from here he said preening himself

The sun shone as they spoke of other worlds green valleys and oceans and the little crows heart fluttered.
Could I go to this place she asked?

The beautiful Raven cawed ruffled his feathers and laughed. He tilted his head his eyes were brown and in them she saw a reflection looking back at her.

She let out a caw,

Yes he said seeing the surprise on her face.

You can go anywhere, you too are a Raven.

‘Me a Raven?’ ‘Yes you.’

Why are you nesting with the crows their king is not a good being. His heart is blacker than his feathers,

Fly from here fly south look for the purple topped mountains and green valley’s there are others like us.

Do not be afraid any longer you are brave and stronger than you think you are a warrior little Raven. You can live anywhere you choose.

She flew back to the woods cawing out thanks to the Black Raven.

The king crow was getting old now his eyes were failing and suddenly she realised he wasn’t bigger or stronger and the fear she had felt for all those years roosting in the woods began to leave her.

She puffed up her chest and cawed loudly as she flew down to the place by the river where her smashed eggs and young were buried.

Her heart banged in her Raven chest she was afraid to go but more afraid to stay.

Head tucked under her wing she slept knowing this was the last night in her oak tree in this small woodland that had been her home since she had hatched in the wrong nest.

Tomorrow she would fly

She wished only for good weather and then she slept.

The next morning the sun came up she drank from the stream and caught sight of her reflection again in the water a raven there was new determined look in her eye.

She was no longer the tiny bird the outcast who had taken so many beatings.

A proud strong Raven stared back at her.

She cawed loudly. ‘Goodbye woodland of my youth.’

Gentle winding stream and old oak tree thank you for my shelter and quenching my thirst.

She heard King Saul caw a cruel laugh behind her.

‘Little bird’ he jeered. ‘Who do you think you are?’ ‘Where do you think you are going?’

I am not little bird I am Raven Storm. I am mighty brave and strong a warrior that is who I truly am. Today I shall fly and find my own path far from here.

King sauls eyes flashed anger ‘you dare speak back to your king you defy my orders?’

‘You would choose solitude and loneliness this is your place.’

The other crows waited for her to answer no one ever left this gathering no one ever left this gathering.

Raven puffed out her chest and spread out her wings ‘I am not your little bird. I choose freedom’
Lonleyness and solitude are yours

There was a gasp from all who gathered as Raven circled for the last time above the small woodland that had been her roost.
As all the crows begin to caw loudly a last goodbye.

The warm winds carried her south. Warm sun shone on her feathers and hope beat a drum inside her brave Raven heart.

She was free.

http://www.ravensretreat.wales

Be the present you give.

It’s almost that time of year again.

I work in community nursing and I see families on low incomes struggling to buy kids the latest I phone, lap top, scooter or whatever the latest craze is.

I’ve always struggled this time of year.

As a child it was the time my alcoholic farther would get more drunk than normal.

Fight in street more.

Well you get the picture everything he did

He managed more.

The thing I found hardest to understand was he would wish anyone who would listen HAPPY CHRISTMAS.

ALL THE BEST.

I’d walk beside him cringing more than normal.

I hadn’t quite got understanding hypocrisy yet.

The people he fought with all year, or didn’t like for a week or two he would be civil too.

I remembered asking my mam she shook her head shrugged her shoulders what do you mean?

She asked puzzled.

It’s Christmas .

So I suppose even somewhere at the bottom of dads home brew bottle it said good will to all at Christmas.

I didn’t understand.

I’d go over to my nans Christmas day.

My cousin’s Gary and Phil would be there same age as me.

Whist dad mam auntie aggie and uncle Peter would go over to the labour club to “celebrate”

We would play cards with Nan, look at old photographs as I think back I realize everything about her was about spending time with us.

Not distracting us with something to do.

She would be doing “it”

With us.

Her house was sparse she had minimal furniture old vinal sofa table and chairs yet she had everything.

She gave everything.

She was although I didn’t realize it until much later in life my greatest teacher the best example on how to live.

Simply

Don’t get me wrong she said things as they were.

She would tell you streight if you were wrong.

But she was loving and she was fair.

When eventually dad would roll up falling drunk being sick in the garden laughing and smelling of nothing but beer and whiskey.

She would always smile at me with sadness in her eyes

“It will be alright ” she would say.

It was early 1970s

Women didn’t argue with men.

Kids did as they were told.

When I think back she must have been heart broken these were her son’s.

The only thing she could do was let us know she was always there .

That was her greatest gift.

One of the lesson I learned was don’t just be nice smile and wish good will to all at Christmas

Get up everyday and resolve to be kind.

If you can’t say something nice.

Say nothing.
So at this time of year my advice would be to anyone who asked.

Don’t spend money that you haven’t got on things that you don’t really need.

Spend time with those you love.

Spend time with a stranger a homeless person. Stop and chat ask if there is something you can do?

Ask the elderly in your community is there anything that they need?

Step away from your hypnotic phone.

Look into the eyes of real people.

Don’t buy expensive presents

Be present be here now.

Give your time. Yourself

How will you make a difference?

Who knew. Birthday & Christmas without you.

So today is the second birthday you’ve been gone.

I miss you Donna.

Everyday there is some thing new to miss.

Last night I drempt of you.

We were in your old house in bay street.

Decorating the Christmas tree.

Well you were it had to be perfect.

Symmetrical 😂🌲

You were dancing to Pink

Who knew.

Glass of vodka and lemonade in your hand laughing long black hair shining

Happy eyes.

We sat together on your huge sofa

Guess what I’ve bought you.

I sigh roll my eyes.

Shall I give you a clue?

Tell you what it begins with?

Nooooo I laugh I’ll wait.

You loved Christmas.

Everything about it.

I woke up I could still.smell your perfume.

The rain battered at the window.

I heard your voice “raining on my birthday!”

Happy birthday I whisper.

I miss you.

Im working but plan to go to the cemetery on way .

I’ve bought you a happy feet penguin it’s so heavy

Concrete it’s a garden ornament.

I know you’ll love it.

I ring your daughter tell her I’ll meet her by the cemetery gates at 11.30 after I pick up flowers

Drive over to supermarket to pick up sun flowers for you.

As I’m driving pink comes on the radio.

Who knew.

I smile your everywhere I know your by my side.

There are no sunflower left I stand there and something catches my eye.

A Christmas tree a potted one with roots.

I think of my dream

Pick up the tree and a pack of baubles

Ten mins later I meet Sarah and Chloe and after I decorate the tree as symmetrically I can whist sat in a car in the rain

I take it to you.

Happy birthday love I say as we all get out of the car .

Sarah puts the star on top

Chloe ties a balloon to the little fence we put up in summer .

The dancing penguin and tree are just you Donna.

The rain has stopped .

Hope you like the tree I say

She would love it Sarah says

I know you do.

If someone said three years from now
You’d be long gone
I’d stand up and punch them out
‘Cause they’re all wrong
I know better
‘Cause you said forever
And ever
Who knew

Happy birthday Donna ❤️

.

The blue bird promise

This poem was inspired by a blogger friend here on word press you know who you are.

You have got this.

I’m waiting for you in the place of new beginnings.

Nan you were 4ft 5 made of dynamite.

Orange lipstick to match your orange head scarf.

Long grey hair I loved to brush.

I’d open your letter box and shout.

Nanny!!!

Jesus Mary and bloody Joseph you’d reply

As you hurried down the hall.

Pretending to be angry

Yet again I wasn’t at school.

Thick cut bread and thick pea soup

Old biscuit tins with buttons in one photos in another.

Stories told of my grandfather

You never loved another.

Giving me a big jug and sending me off to the ‘out door’

At the flying horse pub

Filling it with stout was the score.

Cover it with a tea towel

And slowly walking carefully back.

Little sips of stout and a bag of crisps

Before we hit the sack

Get up them apples and pears you’d shout

As the stone hot water bottle was carried up

Id snuggle into bed beside you

A torch to read my book

Shadows on bare plaster walls

Shining lamp post outside your house

Morning woken by the kettles whistle

Smell of hot buttered toast

Radio on kitchen window

Milk left at the door

Life so simple at your house Nan

There will be blue birds over the White cliffs of Dover you’d sing with Vera Lynne. Smiling at me.

I really hope so I’d think.

Sunday afternoon a loud rattle and clang as my dad fell drunkenly over the rubbish bin.

I was shook back into reality from my night away.

From the madness of my parents

Nan would hug me tell me it would be okay.

There were no blue birds over our house

Only monsters in shadows that would lurk about.

No hot water bottle or hugs in nans bed.

As dad lay on the floor and vomited or fought in the street

I’d run and hide in the old garden shed

Living in our house was existing in a night mare

Selfish drunken narcesists who are incapable of care

The only glimmer of hope would be a afternoon with nan

I’d run across town to see her as often as I can

Escaping drunken monsters was life’s childhood game

Planning my escape from this hell to find shelter from the rain

But living in a different world isn’t as easy as it may seem

You have learnt all you know from your disfunctional tag team.

Your family life is engrained into your very soul.

The journey to unwind all the abuse damage is a long long walk alone.

A pilgrimage a baptism of more learning to begin to make you whole.

There were so many parts missing from the jigsaw puzzle of life I couldn’t see.

I’d filled the missing pieces with sadness, fear and anger

A new journey of self descovery

Battle armour was the only thing to wear

I’d encounter memories and demons as I walked from here to there.

I had a choice to make a victim or survivor would I be?

Sounds a simple choice but what I didn’t see.

Was self care and self love weren’t something I knew how to do.

If you don’t love yourself how is anyone else expected to?

Like being a child there were times I’d still run away.

Like a moth flying hypnotically to a flame my self distruct would come into play.

Gradually learning to love the spark inside that was me..

Learning to trust

Finding my voice

Accepting I was now free.

For I am a warrior I am a mother I am a friend.

I have put down roots I see the beauty in life

So is this the end.

Of my journey it’s just the beginning a place of wonder of learning of love and magic this place was visualised by me.

If you are on the same journey know im patiently waiting here for you

If I can get here I promise that you can too.

I hear you nan in the distance the words of your song were part of my key.

There will be blue birds over the White cliffs of Dover

My darling just you wait and see.