a thing of beauty

This collection of poems was published to mark 20 years working overseas, and features poems written over the last two decades, by both me and my husband

The poems represent different parts of our journey: the highs and lows of a number of cross-cultural transitions, the very real joys and challenges of becoming a mother and parenting two girls, and the winding path of spiritual formation framed by these experiences. The poems are at times funny, at times poignant, and offer authentic glimpses of our life of learning and growing together.

The two time-themed poems below feature in the collection.

You can order the book here.

Time Travel

The places I've lived

Live inside me

Like so many Russian dolls.

Their different faces

Appear, with a certain scent,

A particular quality of light

And air.

The smell of freshly cut grass

Brings England out to greet me.

Tennis on a hot afternoon;

Cold beer beside a canal;

School uniforms; the BBC news;

Christmas carols with the smell of

Hot cloves.

Crashing waves on a wintry beach

And Cape Town grabs my hand.

The smell of ozone on damp air;

A certain vibe, somewhere

Between vintage and cool;

Sundowners on the stoop, and

I'm there.

Fresh fish roasting on open coals,

Mozambique makes an appearance.

A drumbeat heard outdoors;

The smell of candle wax

Or kerosene; bumping over a pothole;

Sleeping under a mosquito net; still

Getting bitten.

All these places are inside me.

Not part of history but

Part of my soul.

Time is not a straight line of

Consecutive events

So much as a kaleidoscope,

Concertinaed within.

And I am all these places,

They never leave me, you see.

They exist outside of time

And, in a moment, I am there again.

This time travel pulls on my heart,

Dragging me through space and back again

And leaves me here.

It Takes Time

The sauce on the stove

The tree in full-leafed glory

The healing of a wound

The building of a marriage that flows

It all takes time.

The tanning of summer skin

The choosing of the perfect gift

The relationships that form community

The strengthening of weakened limbs

It all takes time.

The learning of a new skill

The painting of a masterpiece

The journey through a foreign land

The creation of a home from a house

It all takes time.

So take your time, my love

Take time to listen to your soul

Take time to let things grow

The flowers may come later

It all takes time.