Just as they are.
These poems are laid out from first to most recent, in order they were written.
Find newest poems at the bottom…
Each written by Kate Fox Robinson and featured on FootnotesOnLife blog posts (follow the links if you wish).
different kinds of light
There is the candle with its soft ethereal glow Flickering, gentle, holding safe a sacred space. There is the moon, a great big rock with no light of its own Beaming in the darkness, reflecting the sun, the source of all light There is the dawn, hopeful, brightening light The bearer of new possibility and warmth There is the lighthouse, shining bright to the vastness of the sea Guiding lost boats to a safe shore There is the strip light. Stark, necessary Glaring at all hours, relentlessly working There is the twilight, the perpetual half light Where it is hard to see, and all is vague and dim. There is the quiet lengthening light of the late afternoon sun That tells of a life well done, of a settling down to what lies beyond. And there is all the light we cannot see…
It is not that we do not trust the weather man. It is not that we are unfamiliar with rain. We have seen rain before. We have seen storms even, We were just not ready or prepared for it to start raining indoors. All the usual tools and strategies for dealing with an unwelcome weather front have been locked in the shed and the key cannot be found. Our wet weather gear was left outside and has blown away in a gale. This same gale kicked the front door in and is raging through the corridors and rooms of our lives. I am inclined to hide under the kitchen table I will take snacks and a blanket Please let me know when it is over Even then, I may not believe you. It may take me some time to trust That this storm will really pass.
You will find us on the periphery In the land of the mapless unknown You will find us at the edges Where the wild things grow You will find us in the liminal space Where no one knows what to expect You will find us where the sea meets the shore And no one knows what will wash up next You will find us among the hedgerows Gathering what delights are growing there You will find us with the bees and butterflies Connecting over here with over with there You will find us on ours knees With the beetles and the ants Living all together Without a lot of thanks For our humble jumbled life And our muddy handed style But we would invite you To come a stay a while In the land where the wild things are And the place where the periphery reigns You may learn things here that serve you When you return to your pathed way.
Give me some unhurried time Let me to the wild place Give me one unscheduled day Let me find the spacious space Where expectations have no place And to do lists take up too much space So give me open-ended time, to plant some trees, To flourish, to breathe Give me vastness and plenty Let me play and my diary be empty This is all too built up and structured and planned Take me to an undiscovered land Take me to freedom and wide open skies Take me to rivers and mountains high Take me to waters cool and deep And to dappled shade to rest and sleep Let the wild things grow and creation bloom Let it be messy Give it room.
more like a bird
In these days I would like to be less like a robot and more like a bird Less programmed and preset And more like a bird Less predictable and engineered And more like a bird Less manmade and manufactured And more like a bird Less rigid and inflexible And more like a bird For birds are intuitive and birds rise and rest With the sun and the stars and their homely nest And they plan very little and change course as they please Birds are nature-born, gentle fluid and free And they flock together and take flight on the wind They soar and they settle with spell binding ease And they sing over and over Come with me, come with me, to dance in the breeze.
Tiny nostrils breathing in sweet sweat Bound tightly by bright colours to a warm, capable back Hearing her melodic hum calming anxious cries Held and cradled in a place both soft and strong Perfectly safe in her cocoon of care
The Rage burns It may be able to turn Something deep within A stuck something A presumed something A complacent something. The Rage is full Of grief and anger and wild hope and desperate longing The Rage is here Is to be welcomed Is just as valid and valuable as sadness or joy or peace The Rage belongs here at this time In the world In our lives In our hearts. If it ever visits you do not be afraid of it It may be here to break open something which cannot go unspoken.
They say that we are all just walking each other home They say that home is where the heart is But, what if you have a broken home Or a broken heart? Then we will have to try to get home by another way That may mean walking you home in the dead of night In the dark If so, All you need to do is take the hand that’s offered And hold on tight to the one who has dared to bring the comfort of the home of their hearts, to those who find themselves far from home. Blog Post https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2020/04/26/we-need-to-talk-about-home/
The silence that dwells within may be the loudest silence of them all. The tummy, the chest, the heart always engaging in their necessary rhythms, energising, breathing, beating. That space next to me, Just outside of me But that is kind of still, me, Because to for you to be in it I have to have welcomed you in. That safety zone Where, if we wish to connect with another we need to cross this quietly held extension of ourselves. The global hush The temperate skies The empty roads And green traffic lights. The machines have ceased And so our global quiet grows Turns out it was there all along A little stifled in places, In others it has been ever thus. This silence has always been, It was at the beginning, It is here now, holding us from beneath, like arms And it will be there too, waiting at the end of all things. Blog Post https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2020/05/03/different-kinds-of-quiet/
as yet untrod
There is a path that lies as yet untrod And it calls me. There is a path which is only made by walking And no one knows how far it goes There is a path with no dead ends And I am safely surrounded on every side There is a road less travelled And a voice saying ‘this is the way, walk in it’ There are mountains, valleys, deserts and oceans And it is deep but I never fell and it is high but the view is better up here There is a door where no ones’ been before And it feels like home There is a tightrope to the great unknown And it comes with a breathtaking view There is the path of unlikeliness And I will see rare beasts and have unique adventures And I am unashamedly myself. On this path.
The shapes we thought we knew cannot hold us anymore The lines too straight angles too pointy squares too boxy We must draw circles instead spheres of endless possibility
canopy of kindness
Let me dwell under a canopy of kindness haunches on hay bales of straw and compacted comfort Music strumming the anticipation of dancing light flickering feet tapping on the criss-crossed mat While drinks are poured and glasses raised to evenings like these Which come like a cool gentle breeze blowing away the stifled air of my over - constricted life.
Tomorrow we will begin again, New dew will form at the break of dawn on grass that is ever so slightly taller The first light will waken anew, lifting open an awestruck eye to the beauty it beholds And the earth will be new, again
Our bodies being healed and restored as we slept, will stir us into wakefulness We will breathe our first breath into the opening of the day And we will be new, again
Our souls will remember that we are damaged, precious and not alone We may come to accept that wholeness arrives not with resolution and fanfare But with hearts humble enough to forever begin And all will be new again, tomorrow.
to the kid astronaut
You may get to drive a rocket to reach the moon, or You may collect broken fragments of dreams, like stardust. You may get to travel great distances, or You may be drawn to travel the most important journey of all, inwards, to the inception of dreams that reside in your heart.
Notice the snail, her patterned back, her identity which grows with her. That she cannot take off for wherever she goes there she is. Her home, her shell is her. All swirls and colours. Little by little she travels far. Feeling her way, unable to see much at all. Retreating into herself at the threat of danger. Then inching onwards, carrying all she has become, unquestionably, unashamedly, wherever she may go. And in the end we remember her, by her shiny, meandering trails and the legacy of her patterned, beautiful, now uninhabited, shell.
THis and that
Life is made up of this and that Give a bit of this Take a bit of that In out in out Shake it all about You can’t have this Without some of that I love this Not so sure about that Life is made up of this and that Give a bit of this Take a bit of that In out in out Shake it all about You do this I’ll do that. Swap. I’ll do this You do that Life is made up of this and that Give a bit of this Take a bit of that In out in out Shake it all about I’m very good at this And not so good at that I’m drawn to this I’d rather leave that Life is made up of this and that Give a bit of this Take a bit of that In out in out Shake it all about You love your this Which might be my that I’ll bring my this You drag along your that That and this This and that In out in out Shake it all about
has the tide heard of the moon?
Is the tide aware of its' own movement in and out? Does it remember every shore it has covered before? Or does it always discover the shore anew? Does the tide know, as it crashes and furls That it follows a pattern greater than its' own ebb and flow? Has the tide heard of the moon? This far away pull that daily shifts the time and reach Of the otherwise dependable, predictable tide? Has the tide ever noticed in the dark of the night a shimmering silver light casting a path over its' waves The reflection of the face of her distant cousin on which so much depends, though the tide is unaware.
Life is dappled
Life is dappled don't you know Not all bright field Not all pitch black Not all twilight Not all dawn Life is dappled don't you know Not all sunset Not all dusk Not all half light Not all starlight Life is dappled don't you know More like puddles of sunbeams strewn across the path More like mottled patches of shade upon the earth More like shadows cast, that lengthen towards the night More like shafts of golden rays that quicken the heart Life is dappled don't you know Blog post: https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2020/07/26/life-is-dappled/
Toast and tea
The scattered breadcrumbs speckle the chipped blue plate like art Cold dredges of tea lurk forming a ring around the bottom of my favourite cup (purchased in better times, in a bustling market square on some sunny Saturday). Folded banana skin sits too by the sink waiting till the door closes on her visit. Reminders that even when there is not much, there is still something. She showed me how, with a little acceptance, bread and water can become toast and tea. As my hands sink into soapy suds I know this to be true Because she came and sat with me.
this bit of earth and sky
This sky above This earth below The close shadow of the morning who dares not venture too far from its source, learns by early evening to spread and stretch as far as it possibly can. To allow itself to take up more room. The flowers sitting just an inch above land, peering between the multitude of blades of grass, know exactly when the dark is due. They fold themselves in, tuck in safe. They say 'Now is the time to hunker down, , to live quietly, gently, the whole night through. Trust that light and warmth will come with the dawn and dew When our faces, and yours, will open gently again, toward the sun'. https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2020/10/03/this-bit-of-earth-and-sky/
This simple thing
This Christmas time it may be,
that this simple thing,
may be someone else’s,
The early morning
The torn wrapping
The late lunch
The warm home
Food to share
None is there
No gifts of care
A silent home
So let the potatoes burn and gravy be lumpy
Let eyes roll but hearts be happy
Those divine hands that forged the earth are now
Tiny fingers round a thumb
This simple thing that was to become the earths,
Let our eyes see, ears hear, hearts be open
To the tiny moment, a gift from heaven
For our simple thing,
may be someone else’s,
The losses came thick and fast,
death by a thousand tiny cuts.
Or if by not this,
then by the relentless sorrow
manifest in the lives of our friends.
Sudden death leaving
families reeling in its wake.
The odds stacking up against us
seared as we are by separation
Losses, almost such that they
defined us completely.
Save, in the end they did not
They could not.
For silently, out of a banished corner
crawls kindness, on her knees
inching forward into the light
and in her shadow,
holding tightly onto her hand for safety
emerges a tiny but fierce creature
To the women who were objected to because they were too soft, and cared too much. To the same women who were told they were too fierce and too strong. Soft and strong in all the wrong places, like some grotesque part lion, part lamb, so they could not decide which kind of cage would suit you best, even though they could not bear to look at you in any case, even if they would not see you. To the women who have refused to nip and tuck who they are, who have ceased trying and rightly failing to contort themselves into very specific shapes. To the women who have kept their whole selves, not left pieces behind in their wake, but gathered up instead, insults and all. To the women who have put two fingers up to the many things they could change so slightly, told these voices to jog on. Refused to succumb to something so unlike them, Refused to change the orientation of their heart, Refused to re-train their mind to think in ways more conventional. Refused to cover up their face and body to be deemed more acceptable. Refused to pretend, and so find themselves always at home. Always with a bottom line to stand on. A fidelity to a way of being. The way of soft and strong. https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2021/02/06/curved/
These words come out imperfect
these words come out imperfect this life does too i edit what i can what is left will have to do i wish i could repeat things go over, start anew but these words come out imperfect this life does too i imagine the finished product all glossy and ready to review but these words come out imperfect this life does too these words are muddled and mispronounced i sometimes miss a few these words come out imperfect this life does too this life is more than highlights a life ordinary, but true these words come out imperfect this life does too https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2021/03/24/these-words-come-out-imperfect/
kisses on the verge
They gave me a nod bundles of flailing bright catching me off guard from my head clouded from hours of kissing sorrows cheek someone planted these bundles of light on the verge unaware of their distant cousins on hillsides of white clean air these ones are witness to the trundling lorries commuters, travellers ministers to the heavy hearts that drive by comfort comes in the absolute certainty that these heads of joy will be here again year on year springing up to kiss our cheeks https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2021/04/03/kisses-on-the-verge/
Valentines day 2021 a 6 year old sits at his small wooden table plucks out a felt tip pen What does his hand choose to draw this day? He scribbles what his heart tells him to, what love would be. Love would be a 2 metre climbing frame, a 2 metre climbing frame so he can play at a safe distance at the park with his friends. What matters is not the distance but the park and his friends and thier playful hearts. Its been a long year for us all, its been a longer year for our small ones, one sixth of his whole life in fact. That's too much time, not enough climbing frames. Too much, 'stay still, quiet now, calm down, keep away' and not enough, 'go, run, shout, be free, play' The year that did its best to steal the play away, except it is kids we are dealing with, and they will find a way. It is time to re-wild the hearts of our small ones, the tiny hearts which have broken, and it has gone unspoken. They have not the words to frame their loss rather a deep sense that all has not been right with the world. It has become clear to them that their parents are great at being parents, but they are really not great substitutes for their half-pint-sized friends. Turns out adults are not as funny as they like to think Kids know this now. Kids seek one another. they have been hiding for too long. They are coming...ready or not. It is time to bring back the sticky, sweaty hands poking out from miniature high viz jackets. The walking bus of endless meaningless chatter, that means so much in the end. Time to bring back tag playing, secret keeping, joke telling nonsense, which is all that is needed to make sense of the world. It is time to dangle upside down on the swing, fall off the slide, and get grazed knees, reclaim the playground, re-wild our young ones, to be free. Blog post https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2021/02/27/re-wilding/
When you turn around and find yourself lost Somehow wandered too far outward or too far inward to places dark and tangled having roamed so far out or been stuck, curled up, frightened in one of the many corners of the world. When things have turned sour and you find yourself in toxic space and all this is somehow seeping into you suffocating you and then someone who you know a lot, or may be just a little opens a window and this allows air and light in reaching and filling all the spaces you thought were lost for good calling you back to yourself telling you terrible jokes so you remember these eyes can roll as well as cry and this belly which felt like it had been scooped out could also be overcome with laughter, so much that it aches. And you hear the scrape of chairs upon the floor as one is pulled out for you, at the long table where you find yourself in the good company of gathered lost souls who were found again somehow. And within you remember too that your heart is still there, not because it aches, but this time, because you were called back. https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2021/04/16/calling-back/
We are earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. We are made of stars Star dust that is as ancient as time That starlight which shines on us now is 250 years old, and reaches us still and guides the way, giving us ways to remember those we love who are now long gone we sing, ‘look at the stars, and how they shine for you, And all the things you do’. The stars that began shining for you, long before you came to be. We are earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The nutrients that run through our veins Are like that of the sea We are mostly water, fluid, so not much distinguishes you from me, We are earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The fire behind the eyes of passion and love that burns as fierce as the flame that warms our hearts and homes and feeds our bellies and stokes our celebrations. We are earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The breath, where the spirit resides Living as we do with breaths necessarily stifled, behind masks. Nowadays even our breaths have become weaponised This is why it has been so scary - the very idea - Like we could harm each other with our spirits. We are earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. We see, we hear, all the ways we have set the elements against ourselves And this last one, restricting the air we breath, has shown us just how terrible it all is. How inhumane it is to be kept apart How there can never be justice while we are not able to share the same air Let alone land, Or to sit round common fire Or allow rivers to run free Upon this earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2021/04/24/elements/
borders and branches
I carry within me two olive branches
one to keep and one to give away
both growing towards the light
that is forgiveness
If I were to map my footprints they would be in lines drawn thick with repetition my commute to and fro the direction of travel always up down left right straight along back again Daily paths predictable rigid angular I see kids and how they map their day how they travel the world as they run, walk, skip, spangle, jump, hop, throw themselves around with gusto and abandon. Greeting any space without map, without plan no preconceived ideas of 'here first, then there' no list Seeing just trees to dart round boulders to ascend bushes to ambush Their daily lines all smudgy and zigzagged snaking and twirly wildly arranged no pattern except light-hearted dots and dashes demarking their criss-crossed freedom paths. https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2021/09/18/mapping/
The view from two inches off the earths’ surface Eye level now with the determined grass It’s sweet smell like life eternal I lay face down Even as the dusk comes And the earth grows damp I let it soak in The ground is softer than I remember The blades more gentle As I rest my face Against her sweet caress And listen My own heart beat Against her chest https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2021/09/23/eye-level/
We got matching yellow hats that day. From Wilko’s I think, plus a hand towel each. Oh, and we dropped by a charity shop, rummaged hastily... ‘There must be a couple here somewhere?’ - emerging exuberant with our finds! One over-sized, simply enormous, fluffy jumper that will swamp her perfectly. A dreadful pink towelled dressing gown for me. No one has been more thrilled with an ad hoc purchase - because now we were ready. We had swimsuits already destined for a chlorine pool. But we had stopped by the sea. That was our only mistake... Because once feet are on sand, once eyes lock on that expanse, once two hearts collude to go in… And yes, it was November. And yes, it was the North Sea. And yes, just over the harbour wall the sea was tumultuous, a giant storm just 24hrs away. The wind whipped up waves and brought them crashing in crescendo, heaving all the way along the harbour wall. Sending waterfalls cascading into our safe harbour - great tears of letting go. Our harbour: for those stolen minutes, That wall: holding the raging water; and our raging tyrants at bay. Two yellow hats, striding purposefully into the deep. hands held, bottoms clenched, while water ascends, biting cold rides up to our beating hearts. Where we are brilliantly alive, bright, and good. Before the rub down and the tea, before the frozen toes and shivers, before the bacon sandwich and dirty chips. But after… After the surging, after the break, after the froth... Hung sea mist, suspended in the wind like dust, hanging on the light already there, casting our own streak of rainbow. Making a private promise, on this side of the tumultuous sea - that we are safe within our friendship walls. https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2022/01/16/towards-healing-part-two-yellow-hats/