I have learned nothing of love

I have learned nothing of love.

Only perhaps that it glows brighter in the dark
That neither sharp-toothed malice
Nor the slow strong push towards the edge
Can ever plunge it to its death

I have learned nothing of love.

Only that neither open skies and whipping wind
Nor the driving rain nor desperate tug,
Nor snatching thorns or twining wood,
Can ever whisk it from your gentle hold.

I have learned nothing of love.

I still find it crumpled, torn, shoved in draughty cracks
Used as kindling, lining bins, grease-stained
Smudged, mouldy, sifted, drained, congealed –
In all my years, I have learned nothing of love.

 Only that when night falls and day will never wake
And you are ground and rotting in the ground,
When promises and lies bleed and blend –

 Then still it will be forever bright.


It’s good to try new things

family pool (2)

It’s good to try new things, just

don’t let
don’t let those shoulders touch the water.

The aim is clearly stay
afloat and stay alive –
so why dive?

Like seals the other boys splash by
and calmly I
submerge my lips
but keep my brand new goggles up
so I can see.

You tell me to sink down but why?

This is not fear
just common sense.

Swimming is immense
as long as your feet touch the bottom
and your hair stays dry.



83: arrival

Serious little gentleman walks in checks in
Sits patiently through hurry hurry masks and wires


94: mask on

A comfortable in and out while we do puzzles,
put mouths where Mr Potato’s nose would like to be.


96: mask on

Pointing out the target reached and Mummy mask off
And finally some food now please and sips of drink


90: mask off

Eat and greedily eat and chat and gulp down drink while
Beep beep beep beep beep


88: mask off



86: mask off

Too long ignored, your ribcage heaves
and you talk. in bursts. of two.


97: mask on

Mask on watch TV and mask on do some sums and
mask on colour Peppa Pig in bold and violent red.


93: mask on

In sleep your peaceful resting face with green elastic tight
then sleep disturbed with slipping mask and slipping numbers


98: mask off

Unplug yourself for toilet trip slow slow wash hands
and amble back then show off your amazing score


95: mask off

The baseline and the path to home, the chart is ticked
and meds in hand you skip delighted to the door
A buzz a click and out you run to freedom and fresh air

View from the Centre


(c) P.M. Kroonenberg

Gliding on a windy summer’s day
ducking for low bridges
we sail past floating homes.
Shameless sheets of glass
look out over reeds and lily pads;
a grand piano fills most of
a bobbing living room.
Back doors on the water,
flower creeper gardens spill
from wooden jetties.
Nothing on the shore
but a post box
behind a hedge.
Here they sit in afternoon light
wave benignly as we chug
slowly by.
Fine ridged waves tease
back and forth, boat to boat,
passing rumours from house
to travellers and back.
Beyond this quiet green-black world
the city still stands firm
and solid feet move cobbles
and cathedrals are fixed
through solemn ages,
thundering important thoughts
in crashing harmonies.

Love for Intellectuals

(c) P.M. Kroonenberg

(c) P.M. Kroonenberg

We speak in code. We generalise, but we are talking about ourselves. Men means ‘our men’. People means ‘me in particular’. Our wishes for our future and the way we see our lives now are encoded in the latest book that seemed so true, or our new theory on love. That is how we talk.

“All relationships have problems that can’t be solved,” you say. “You just need to find a way of living with them.”

“I think people are always searching for grace,” I say.

We sip our peppermint tea, which makes you feel so healthy, our cranberry juice to ward off cystitis.

In the coffee bar where you spent every afternoon of your youth – or was it beside that fruit stall selling nothing but lychees? – the curtain is rent and your eyes wide with fear tell me about you and him. I have seen you speechless with love and helpless with misery. I put an awkward arm through yours. I have theories, lots of theories. But they are really about me.

I want to write your life in curves and flourishes and give it a happy ending. Instead, I buy you a chocolate croissant and we hope for the best.

For Ellie

Off site: publication news

2009_08_11_4601OzMRBlackKiteTwo of my poems, one of which has previously appeared on my blog and a Previously Unseen Poem about wings, have been published in the 4th Paper Swans iPamphlet, out today! You can download this excellent magazine for free here. Issue 4 is at the bottom – but why limit yourself? The back issues are full of interesting and inspiring poetry and flash fiction too.

While I’m being a Paper Swans fan girl, one of my poems also appears in their National Poetry Day slide show.

Birth Nostalgia

My son was in hospital for a few nights recently. It was the same hospital where I had both the kids and I found myself feeling curiously nostalgic, especially as my daughter’s 2nd birthday was imminent.

Fond Memories of Pain

It was horrendous
And the pain overwhelming
And I thought many times:
Does the gain really weigh up
Against this agony?

Then why do I feel nostalgia
As I squeak along the floor of this corridor?
This corner, this lift,
Where I was doubled over lowing
Like a cow as you pushed lower
To make a swift entrance into the here and now.

The sign that says “Delivery Suite”
Fills me with a warm sweet glow
Of love and remembered love:
This is where you meet a whole new person
Who is you and him but not you or him at all.

Who cares about pain when after all
That straining and pushing and the swearing,
The blame: “Never touch me again!”
You get to hold that feather-weight
And watch a soul unfold?