No.25 Poems for International Women’s Day 2015


 The Temptress                                                                                   3 mermaid 

The Soap Maker of The Isles breathed in

her chest rising like a mountain

coming out of the sea

and softly exhaled the essence of cinnamon

into her husband’s ear

as he stood by the door and she whispered,


Rub into my skin oils from the mainland

and plump me to the full

with slippery bairns

and I will massage you with a mermaid’s spell

and take you deeper under your boat

which lays in its noust

down by Swan Selkie Bay.


While you’re out of my sight

I’ll float in my housecoat

and twisted hair foams

and feather-dust the mantel clock

until she winks at me and gives me a chime                                 for CBH 11dec 2013

I’ll mould and caress the soaps on the burner

add juice from marsh marigolds and dead man’s liver

and saffron crocus dipped in spring water

blessed by the Mother of Virgins

burn incense oils in trays by the sill

dye tissues in earthsweet smell of beetroot maroon

and waft nose-treat lavender by

newly landed aromatic spices from the South

still wrapped in Brick Lane writing and golden ties.

auntie Joan


And I will do all this  and bake fattie cutties too

then lay a fill on the table

spread with bannocks griddled by your mother

and Polish bakery French batons

topped with Maggo’s byre-stinking

Jersey cow curd

Bless this house.


Husband when you return from the winding ropes

and the winching in the seas

use thumbs on my flesh and rub on them

my oils of Seal Bay packaged to reflect

the turquoise tranquillity and nature of our waters

and the swirl of rock-tides.


I am The Soap maker of The Isles

I am the aromatherapist, the soother of the whole

Make my feel-good factor rise in self-esteem

as we curl together wrapped in our wheat germ warming bed

drawing on inhales of minted cigarettes

while the reek spirals up and away

to mingle, to disappear in the wild winds of Westerly.IMAG00602



bairns                 children

noust                  boat resting place

selkie                   seal

bannock             flattened and griddled yeastless bread

fattie cutties      currant biscuits full of butter

byre                     cow barn

reek                      smoke