About sarahsouthwest

I'm now in my early 50s. I started writing again as a way of exploring the world, and feel that over the last 2 years I have really grown as a writer. By day I work with children and young people with mental health difficulties. I juggle my own two children, my work, my writing practice, generally managing to keep all the balls up in the air.

Sometimes thinking hurts your head

Turns out a cloud’s a verb –
constantly coming into being,
and where does your skin end?
What’s the edge of anything?
Birds moult.
All these things – straight lines –
turns out they’re spirals –
things are twistier than you thought –
everything’s part of everything,
the air’s opaque,
the earth moves,
the leaves are starting to turn –
to change their colour-
time sweeps on.
There are stones in the river
sudden humps and hollows,
but we can’t see them,
and the air’s a landscape,
hills and valleys,
everything’s going all the time,
everything’s coming,
there’s no place to just stand.

A stream of consciousness for Grace at dVerse.

My midnight garden

My midnight garden
has a lavender shimmer
jasmine-flower stars –
and candles that glimmer –

see fluttering bats
and moths agleam
as the scent of roses
inspires sweet dreams –

the moon swings low
and the moon swings high
in a silver swing
made from lullabies

Victoria is back! Guest hosting at dVerse,where it’s quadrille night. Tonight we’re quadrilling about gardens.

Climbing a beech tree in your parents’ garden

You will come to a place
where you can stop,
back pressed against the trunk –
a place where you can feel
your soft limbs branch and stiffen,
and the sap pulsing under
your skin, and all your thoughts
are nests and breezes,
and the taste of sunlight,
and the tree holds you here,
like a father holds a child –

Or maybe
your father hoists you up
onto his strong shoulders,
so you can peer through
the green leaves of his hair,
over the fence to where
next-door’s cat lolls in the sunshine
and the old lady jabs
at her flowerbed

and now two butterflies
spiral up towards you
and a bird swoops in
to land upon a twig

and no-one else can see
the tree-ness of you.

I’m hosting at earthweal this week, and asking you to think about how children connect with nature. Or adults, I guess. Beech is one of the Lost Words. There was a big old copper beech tree in my childhood garden – a person in its own right.

Look out of the window

August is a dull month in this garden,
just marking time – the fade
between the flowers and the fruit

but that one corner’s still alight –
West Cork – the fuchsia and montbretia,
the red and orange, sudden shocks of fire

bright in the soft, sea-light,
rain coming in from the south-west
and the grass drabbed by summer

Peter Frankis is our host at dVerse tonight. This is the view from my window, and a poem to go with it. 

Birthday haibun

I had a lockdown birthday – like, what, a quarter of the population? More, now. I had a birthday of supermarket chocolates and flowers, of home-made cards and second-hand candles, of Zoomed-in love. It wasn’t the birthday I planned, but it was OK. It was more than OK. It was wonderful.

roses fade
green chrysanthemum
lives on

A birthday haibun for Kim at dVerse. Cake by my daughter!

I’m driving to stand outside my mother’s house

and the radio’s talking
about locusts
blunt heads, big eyes

clouds of hunger,
blizzards

swarms plagues storms

and I wonder,
how heavy is a locust?
a single locust?
skin crisp and shiny
emerging from itself

yellow is such an ugly colour

and the rattle of wings –
how does that sound?
billions of wings, beating
and billions of mouths,
too much,
and all those thin legs,
scratching.

For Brendan at earthweal, who has given us the theme of “Strange World”. It does seem like we are getting down to some pretty fundamental stuff at the moment. Fire and flood and plague and locusts eating East Africa. Things are off kilter, to say the least.

Cliff walk – haiku sequence for dVerse

green shade
with one step forward
white sunlight

laughing child
small dog running
ears bouncing

“surf’s up, dad!”
this bench remembers
ocean view

small island
between golden beach
and blue horizon

white bird
waves rolling in
ocean’s pulse

I’m never sure if haiku are the easiest thing in the world, or the hardest. Frank at dVerse has asked for a sequence of them. We can count syllables, or write haiku that can be read aloud in a breath, using a short-long-short format, without a syllable count.