Daddy’s Girl

I remember the first time
I laid eyes on you,
mo leanbh,
your face crimson with rage
as you screwed your eyes tight
and screamed the place down,
your anger a cluttered cacophony
of shrill sounds
laden with accusations.
‘What a powerful set of lungs,’
I thought, deafened by adoration.

I remember the first time
I held you,
mo leanbh,
your little body
deposited carefully into
the cradle of my arms.
I remember my surprise
at your sturdiness,
your strength when your tiny
sausage fingers
gripped my own like a vice.
‘A tough little nut,’
I smiled, imagining Saturday
mornings on wind-swept pitches.

I remember the first time
I took you to school,
mo leanbh,
as you trotted alongside
me, three skips to each of my strides,
so smart in your newly pressed uniform,
full of chatter and excitement,
not looking back as you danced
across the playground,
leaving me a sobbing mess
at the gates.
‘It’ll get easier,’ a fellow parent
soothed with a wry grin.

I remember the first time
you spent the night away from home,
mo leanbh,
your bag filled to the brim
with favourite cuddly toys
and your princess pyjamas
as your mother and I
sat alone on the couch
in a state of agitation,
the house filled with the
emptiness of your absence.
‘She’ll be having a ball with her friends,’
we reassured each other,
adrift in our loneliness.

I remember the first time
you brought a boyfriend home,
mo leanbh,
and your embarrassment at
the dinner table as
your two worlds collided,
your mother and I
trying to ease the tension
with our best small talk
and worst jokes.
‘He seems nice’, we probed,
as your barriers grew higher,
locking us out.

I remember the first time
you staggered in drunk,
mo leanbh,
the sound of the key
scratching against the lock
and the clatter as you
fumbled your way upstairs,
trying to avoid us
and our accusations.
‘It’s for your own good,’ I tried to explain,
my remonstrations falling
on deaf, defiant ears.

I remember the first time
the police brought you home,
mo leanbh,
the beam of the police car
illuminating up the street
like a lighthouse beacon
as you stood on the porch,
your blue-lit face full of angst
and defiance
as you shouldered past me,
leaving the policeman to explain.
‘This won’t happen again, officer,’ I apologised,
the words hollow in my throat.

I remember the first time
the hospital called us,
mo leanbh,
notifying us we could visit you
as you lay helpless,
the bed swamping your emaciated frame,
your eyes drowning in apathy
as we clutched you,
urging you to cling on.
‘We’ll fight it together,’ we promised,
sheltering you in our arms.

I remember the last time
we saw each other,
mo leanbh,
your face crimson with rage,
your anger a cluttered cacophony
of shrill sounds
laden with accusations.
‘This time you’re on your own!’ I threatened,
my heart filled with empty rage
that dissolved as the door closed
behind you.

I try to imagine the next time
we will see each other,
mo leanbh,
your arms soft, white,
unspoilt by needles,
your cheeks ruddy and dimpled
by the smile
crinkling your eyes.
You have gone on without us,
But we won’t be long behind you.

Lost Property

Your coat, heavy with your scent
still hangs on a hook in the hall.
Like Cerberus, it guards my door
so that every time I cross the threshold,
There you are. You linger on,
Your presence undiminished after all these months,
Occasionally stopping me in my tracks,
Propelling me back in time
as I stand, frozen, wrapped in your smell.

Sometimes, I consider bundling it into
the washing machine, eradicating any trace of you
but something always stops me.
The reddish stain on the left breast pocket
of the ketchup you spilled when we careered out of the chippy
after our first gig together, drunk on love and beer.
Or the green mark on the right elbow—
A permanent reminder of the picnic we had
where you first told me you loved me.
Not to mention the frayed hole in the zip
caused by a passionate clinch in an alleyway
when home seemed too far to wait.

I’ve thought about giving it back to you.
I know it was your favourite.
Do you miss it? Do you ever think about me?
But I don’t think it’ll suit your new look.
Now, you have someone else to dress you.
What if it follows you over the threshold
and neither of you return?
I think I’ll look after it just a bit longer.
You may want it back some day.


January Challenge


I’ve never understood why January seems to be so universally hated. Surely it’s a good thing to ponder your past misdeeds and mistakes to inform your future actions? With the advent of ‘Dry January’ and all the other punishments people like to serve upon themselves, the world seems intent on making January as miserable as possible. So I decided to make myself a much more fun challenge – a Poem a Day based on a photograph a day. The only rule was that they were not allowed to be edited. Some are ok but some are woeful. But the challenge was met.

Surplus to Requirements










Marius stands impotent.
His delicate neck
cranes high into the sky.
Behind, his family wait
in regimented lines.
Motionless; conditioned –

Beneath them all, the world
carries on
as Marius
his fate.

Some will stop and gaze,
watching the spectacle
so they can say
“I was there,”
machines held aloft
as they film.

Others turn their heads
in disgust –
How did it come to this?
A finely crafted creature
reduced to decoration.
Merely a surplus on the ledger.

The beating heart
to a halt
as Marius falls
crashing to the ground.


Wood Bee Poet

Poems, thoughts...etc.

The Pledge

Fired! Irish Women Poets and the Canon

Nicola Heaney

Writer & Poet


'She would say to discover / the true depth of a well, / drop a stone, / start counting.' - Andrew Greig