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, 
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…

Blog Post https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2020/03/21/different-kinds-of-light/

raining indoors

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.

Blog Post https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2020/03/25/raining-indoors/


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.

Blog Post https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2020/03/28/edges/

undiscovered land

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.

Blog Post https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2020/03/31/undiscovered-land/

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, 
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.

Blog Post https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2020/04/07/air/


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 

Blog Post https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2020/06/02/cocoons-of-safety/

the rage

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.

Blog Post https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2020/04/22/the-rage/


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,

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, 
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.

Blog Post https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2020/04/19/as-yet-untrod/


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

Blog Post https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2020/05/13/the-shapes-we-thought-we-knew/

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. 

Blog Post https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2020/05/19/canopy-of-kindness/

begin again

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,
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.

Blog Post https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2020/05/24/begin-again/

to the kid astronaut

You may get to drive a rocket to reach the moon, 
You may collect broken fragments of dreams,
like stardust.

You may get to travel great distances,
You may be drawn to travel 
the most important journey of all,
to the inception of dreams
that reside in your heart.

Blog Post https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2020/06/21/dream-a-little-dream/

The snail

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, 
wherever she may go. 

And in the end 
we remember her, 
by her shiny, meandering trails 
and the legacy of her patterned,
now uninhabited, shell. 

Blog Post https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2020/07/04/there-she-goes/

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.
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

Blog Post https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2020/07/10/this-and-that/

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. 

Blog Post https://footnotesonlife.co.uk/2020/07/18/walk-out-of-the-photograph/

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'.


Holiday poems

This simple thing

This Christmas time it may be, 
that this simple thing,
may be someone else’s,
missing, everything.
The early morning
The torn wrapping
The late lunch
Grandma’s hunch
The warm home
One another
Food to share
Walks together
For some
None is there
No gifts of care
Food alone
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,
missing, everything.
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,
missing, everything.


Rolling tide

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.

Life-changing accidents.
Sudden death leaving
families reeling in its wake.
IVF again.
Cancer again.
Addiction again.
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
we recognise
as Hope.



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.


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 


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 



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/

calling back

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. 



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. 


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 
left                                                                              right 

straight                                                                     along 
back                                                                          again

Daily paths predictable 

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 
dots and dashes 
demarking their criss-crossed 
freedom paths. 


eye level

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 

yellow hats

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 
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.