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Mum was diagnosed with cancer in the early summer of 1998, she died the following March 1999; I couldn’t get up to London to see her regularly so I started a correspondence; sixteen years later I realise that our correspondence didn’t just stop with her death, the same as our life together didn’t: our life together was always the response between the words and events …




                                Dear Mum

                                been feeling the need for a walk
                                and talk down to Woolwich and
                                around, through the history and
                                possibility of a Saturday morning,
                                arm in arm again, for many decades

                                now, but now there are only seconds
                                between all the thoughts and dramas
                                since you died (even, while you were
                                alive) where so much time has passed;
                                and Woolwich fades into building site

                                and cranes; all I could do then was listen
                                through letter, my life was too ‘detailed’
                                and 40 miles away, I said I could be there
                                in paper … now you are no miles away
                                and lost to all effect like cotton walls

                                we always had so much to talk about,
                                so many miles to cover – new routes
                                and ruins; new words and pasts – all
                                throughout the seventies, that the
                                eighties and nineties yawned us apart

                                in all our observation and resolve
                                until your illness made us embarrassed;
                                I had thought to shoulder my part of it
                                but the decades were against us and I
                                grew into the father I never had

                                I had paused to hear your resolve to fight
                                ‘the Fighter was back!’ brave-facing things
                                down to their shame and dissipation, again
                                and again, through all the crush and
                                nullity, giving your sons their childhood,

                                giving Nan her family, the silent duty
                                offered matter over fact, ‘just one of
                                those things’, until you were fighting
                                for retirement, fighting to allow for
                                all of people in all of their array

                                fighting to walk around London, to
                                read and study each new stretch of reborn
                                morning; I include you in my thoughts
                                these days in the quiet moments between
                                successive acts of my plays and rites and

                                whether the religion is suspect or not
                                the prayers are from your son’s heart
                                we have lost all the time of a world
                                but there are still so many miles to cover
                                still now, much love, mark





part of the ongoing life and page of … Mum
childhood & speech & time wormhole: ‘“ruddy crows!” / said my Dad …’
crane wormhole: tag cloud poem IV – C
death wormhole: on sitting / in front of / a hedge
family wormhole: “I think I’ll have a nice sandwich”
father wormhole: Sylvia
history wormhole: clouds
identity wormhole: I will eventually drift tectonic
life & love wormhole: the Buddha head in an antique shop
living wormhole: ‘I come from the brow …’
London wormhole: my life is not your market
morning wormhole: the poppies / of van Gogh
Mum wormhole: someone called Frank
Nan wormhole: dream / 130207
reading wormhole: first a mishap then clear vision
Saturday wormhole: Saturday
talking wormhole: connections
walking wormhole: there
Woolwich wormhole: the declensions of constant possibility throughout times