An early villanelle

My art

I have walked the silent paths of grief
Despite it was my choice to care for him
I have slept on beds of cold dead leaves.

I do not want claim that death’s thief
Although my heart’s dear light and joy have gone
.I have never felt I was deceived.

I have learned that human life’s too brief.
I have learned by sorrow we’re undone.
I have sifted earth and what’s beneath

.I too felt my dark emotions seethe
While I have been mocked by brilliant sun.
I have learned the geography of grief.

I wait on earth for senseless life to cease
Or will a fluttering wing make chaos come,
Change my heart and give me a fresh lease?

Catastrophic grief will make us dumb
Into our hearts we drag the ice that numbs
I have walked the silent paths of grief
I have lain on beds of cold dark leaves

In love again

I saw  the sun rise over the North Sea
Accentuating coloured fishing boats.
The beauty of the dawn gave hope to me
A restful pleasure made my  soft eyes  dote.

The peace of this small town has caught my heart.
Scenes from ancient times  come close again
The gulls swoop down and  sketch their flying charts
Remote as ever from the realm of man

The shingle beach,the  Church  where Britten lies
The in and out of tides  of salty sea;
An exact match of houses,hill and skies
The   amber shop, the bookshop,the oak tree,

In my mind I walk in love again;
Though of the two, a single one remains

Nature says to rest

Katherine poetry  October 20, 2015 


We think we own our bodies and our minds

Not knowing  when we have the gift of health

We use them without thought ,.with vision blind

Yet nature creeps up with her sylvan stealth.

When to work  or when to take our ease,

The signals sent may never reach our brains.

But later, they will turn to constant pleas

For help to stop  imposing  far more strain.

Days we work and never take a rest

Except to slump  by  TV, tablet,screen.

It takes much time to learn what is the best

If not, what is will soon be ” what has been”

Let us learn our body’s  signals clear

For then on earth our life will long en

Mend and make

In today’s society, many of us go through our whole lives without ever working with our hands; we live, we work, we eat, we buy, we repeat. Everything is made and delivered at a blistering rate, from fast food to fast fashion and, although this may keep the economy buoyant, it’s not necessarily good for our mental health, or for our planet.

But during the past year of lockdown, we have been forced to stay still. The hamster wheel has stopped, and for some of us – without young children to keep entertained – this has provided a unique moment of quiet contemplation. We have suddenly found ourselves with time to spare; time to tackle those half-finished projects and abandoned hobbies – and an increasing desire to be creative, and make things with our hands.

There has been a wealth of online craft workshops popping up on everything from crochet, collage, charcoal drawing and flower-arranging to spoon-carving. On TV, programmes such as Grayson’s Art Club have encouraged everyone to paint, draw or sculpt their view from a window with whatever materials they have at han

In the safety of our own homes, we have been able to try knitting for the first time, to have a go at oil pastels or attempt a pinch pot – without a teacher but also without the judgment of a teacher. The possibility of experimentation in the solitary environment of our own homes has spawned a new confidence in “having a go”, the prerequisite for learning. Mastery, after all, starts with dabbling. The freedom to create on our own has offered an effective therapy for uncertain times.

Like many of us during lockdown, my work was forced to go virtual. I am both an illustrator and textile repairer, specialising in delicate fabrics and traditional hand-sewing techniques. For the past few years, I have worked in collaboration with Toast, teaching customers how to care for and mend their garments, so that they might keep for longer. Normally, I would travel to their various stores around the country with a bag of cloth, needles and thread, to host workshops: four to five customers around a table practising their stitchwork over tea and conversation. It’s an intimate affair. So, when I began teaching online via Zoom, I was unsure if this new set-up would work, but I was happily surprised to find a surge of interest from all corners of the world – from Italy, Iceland, Portugal, Lithuania, India and the USA.

During the workshops everyone is given the chance to work on a stitch sampler, before tackling a repair. Taking inspiration from traditional techniques, such as Japanese sashiko and Indian kantha, tears are backed from the underside with a patch of cloth; then small rows of stabbing stitches form a rectangle of closely stacked rows of stitchwork, securing the tear and reinforcing the surrounding cloth, creating a pleasing mend that can be either visible or invisible, depending on the colour match.