Poems from ‘All About Our Mothers’ Anthology

It’s Thursday and I should be doing prep for my upcoming assessments but instead I’m waist-deep in poetry and wouldn’t have it any other way!

Tonight I’m going to share a selection of poems featured in anthologies published by Nine Pens Press this year. Each anthology features work by three poets, so I will share a poem from each poet from each anthology – does any of that make sense? I hope so!

The first anthology is All About Our Mothers and features poetry from Vasiliki Albedo, Mary Mulholland and Simon Maddrell. “All About Our Mothers is the collaboration of three poets exploring their relationships with their mothers, and the complex feelings around forgiveness, grief and love” (Nine Pens 2022). I hope you enjoy the poems I have selected and you can purchase a copy of the anthology here.

‘Therapy Cat’ by Vasiliki Albedo

The lame cub a lioness left to the eagles took me
back to my eighth birthday and the analyst’s gift
of a piebald kitten. She called it a therapy cat but
my mum confined it to the second-floor balcony:
Each night when I slept she’d toss it out, and each morning
I’d pick it out of a pot in the garden, limping and frightened:

At thirteen, I came home from school to find
my room arranged into my brother’s:
For years I dreamed therapy cat had morphed
into a winged lioness, her limbs whole and inviolate.
We’d meet in my room and ride into a fictive sunburst.
And in that light, there was nowhere that wasn’t home.

‘Mother’s Child’ by Mary Mulholland

Mother is a sea-fish, goes deep without knowing
how deep, to her it is natural, it is home.
In her dark places Mother dreams in colour.
When I ask how she swims through deep dark waters,
she says, My! what difficult questions you ask, Child.

Mother doesn’t know she’s a fish.
She is born of people who swam the Atlantic,
braved high seas, carried on currents and tides,
ended up on foreign silt, greeted
by blue butterflies the size of a hand,
cornflower ribbons in the air.
Mother likes ribbons and bows.
Once she gave me a ribboned dress
and I refused to wear it.
Oh my! You’re not like me, Child.

Mother knows some fish fly. She fears flying,
has no wish to try lest a pelican scoops her,
swallows her whole; she keeps deep out of sight.
When I tell her the dilution of salt
in the sea is four times the strength of tears,
she says, Child, the things you think of!

When Mother is still, the century palms
look more vivid on water than on land.
She lives in a heat-haze where nothing is clear or dry.
When I tell her this she says,
My! what nonsense you talk, Child.
And when I ask her why she never calls me
by the name she gave me, she looks puzzled,
Child, is what you’ll always be.

‘Rabbit-shocked’ by Simon Maddrell

Leaving at midnight with Penny (the Lurcher, not the
Mother) with headlamp, car battery & bailing string
spotting rabbits until one freezes the lamp’s gaze.

Nearly 3am and six startled eyes run around the field,
the rabbit escapes.

Penny wanted to sleep, as nothing was going to die soon
the Mother’s nurse advised him to leave the green floors
& curtains and to grab a torch & batteries for his flight.

At 3am along a remote Manx road
Death hits a rabbit with its offside headlight.

Back home, he slits the unlucky rabbit pit to throat,
an errant knife spills bile over a life not yet ready,
its innards grasped and dropped to the side.

At 3am along a remote Kenyan road
News hits a man with the death of his Mother.

Back home, he peels the gutted rabbit, rolls it in flakes
of salt, its head now enclosed, skin hanging, like
a Mother’s fur coat, its warmth for someone else.

At 3am the death of the Mother was nothing natural
like being hunted by a cancerous lamp.

Back in the ward, a doctor, too tired even to drive,
pushed more relief than her pain could take.

Back in a room, the man kissed her red lipstick,
a familiar taste laid out in heroin chic.



Albedo, V., Mulholland, M. & Maddrell, S. (2022) All About Our Mothers. North Pennines: Nine Pens Press

Nine Pens (2022) All About Our Mothers [online]. Available from https://ninepens.co.uk/aaom [14 April 2022]

It’s not what you say, it’s the way that you say it… (with audio)

I’m like cracked vinyl, apparently
broken repetition at high volume
yet never heard, allegedly
or so I’m told, so they say.

I’d love nothing more than to be a continuous symphony played digitally, never skipping, never repeating, only ever bringing enjoyment and satisfaction to all who listen

but nobody listens,
my needle-scratched surface
catches on everyone’s last nerve
including my own.

I’m considering a vow
of silence: no instruction,
no reminder, no words
of encouragement

just endless, soundless,
mindless, silence like one
of those tracks you get
at the end of albums

I’ll wait until they reach
peak comfort before blasting
them with my final swan song,
Who left the dirty clothes in the bathroom!?!

~The H Word~



No-one tells you how it is.
How it truly is. This
motherhood business.
It’s all sleepless nights,
terrible twos, teenage angst
and empty nest, they warn
you of. No-one mentions
the guilt. The constant
worry. The searching
of faces for signs they
are happy, or not. I do
this last one, a lot.
They think I’m annoying.
Sigh in frustration
at my maternal questioning
‘Is everything alright?’
But I cant help myself.
Petrified I’ll miss
something important,
some crestfallen moment,
some revealing expression.
How could I forgive myself?
No-one warned me of this.
So, now I warn you.

~The H Word~

I am mother

I am supposed to be an inspiration
Lead the way and always do right
Be the guide towards the light
But I am not a guide, a leader, or an inspiration
I am a failure, a worrier, a fumble-around-in-the-dark follower
I am anxious and nervous
I hesitate and make mistakes
Yet, I am mother, still
One magically grown despite all of my failings
And another still blooming as she looks up to me
With those absorbent eyes like he used to
Waiting for the next instruction
I oblige, never knowing if I am doing right or wrong
And she does not seem to mind
As we fumble on together.

~The H Word~

A WordPress.com Website.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: