Leaving 2

Choose joy.
Stop choosing pain
and start choosing joy.

There’s a wind in our souls,
an icy blast that pins us to the rock
and empties us of all but survival.
But also sheltered nooks,
trees, mossy banks,
and gentle rain.
Step out of the wind
and walk in those quiet groves.
We might find each other there.


Missing 6

An empty chair,
the lamp still lit,
a coffee cup,
still warm.
A scent on my skin,
a hair on my pillow.
The air still vibrates with your voice,
and my heart beats in time with yours.

Leaving 1

I love you more than I love death.
When I want everything to stop
and nothing is better than anything
all you need say is “don’t go”.
And for no other reason,
with no other promise and no other offer,
and no cease to the pain,
just because you asked it
I’ll stay.

Knowing 9

I see you in darkness
your body under my hands
and the imprint of your soul under my heart.
My eyes open in the darkness
your cheek pressed to mine
and the wings of your wide-open soul wrapped around me.

Missing 5

There’s an empty space between my arms,
an empty place on my shoulder.
My skin is cool where it should be warm,
and there’s a scent missing from the air.
My hands are as empty as my bed,
and the silence reaches all the way into me.

Knowing 8

Pain is not pain,
our wounds are just texture,
a salt flavour,
a roughness under the tongue.

Blood flows, wells and clots,
life meanders,
love is squandered and reclaimed,
we join and part.

Loss is not loss,
love is pain and joy together.
We tear and heal again,
pain turns to pleasure.


I started therapy out of desperation.

I was being ambushed by sorrow that felled me like a cow in an abattoir.  Brought me stunned to my knees where ever I was: at home in the kitchen, at work, walking down the street.

All I wanted from therapy was: make it stop.

And: give me my old life back.

It hasn’t stopped, and my old life is gone, gone.

Sorrow is no longer a hammer blow between the eyes.  It’s a tidal wave, an ocean.  It drowns me, spits me up coughing and dazed on the shore of my weekly session.

Every week I crawl into that room utterly without words, beaten speechless by the storms that rage across my ocean, all  my words shouted into the wind and snatched away without reaching even my own ears.  And every week I fall into the tidepool of my therapist’s commitment, sink to the still bottom, and talk without cease, words from a stranger, pages from a story I’ve never heard.

The story talks about the fabulous creatures that live in the deep, some grotesque, some beautiful.  It talks about sunlit days in the shallow lagoons.  Building sandcastles on the shore.  Swimming naked alone, or with a beautiful friend.  The majesty and eternity of the big surf breaking against the cliffs.  The beauty and terror of the tempest.  And the cold and the dark that’s waiting right at the bottom.

I’m learning to live in my ocean.  I’m learning to float.  And then to swim, and then to fish.  One day I’ll build a boat, and visit some of the other islands.  One day soon.


I wake up crying every morning, and my days are tinted with a watercolour wash of longing.   I write and I dream, I’m selfish with friends and generous with strangers.  I have a note in my pocket giving me permission to laugh.  I am stunned by the beauty of the skies as often as I am by sorrow.  I don’t want my old life back anymore.  Nothing has stopped, but many things have started.