"Seven bums and fourteen legs,
a brazen ecstasy which begs
the question some of us are asking -
is Peter Goulding multi-tasking?"

Martin Parker, Editor, Lighten Up Online

Sunday, March 14, 2010

For Heidi on Mothers Day

Walzenhausen (pronounced Valsy-hoosy by the locals!) in Appenzell
With the midwinter gripping,
By the stove’s sultry heat,
With the midwife still slipping
Through freshly glazed snow,
Unfocussed eyes squinting,
Cocooned in a sheet,
She gazed at lights tinting
The darkness below.

The mountains subsumed her
Throughout her dour life.
They lured her, consumed her
And rolled her like phlegm.
As dutiful daughter,
As downtrodden wife,
Each nerve, each aorta
Beholden to them.

From the cold social basement,
She’d crane her head back.
A tragic encasement,
Just one of life’s scalps.
But sometimes she’d ponder
Upon a high track,
And I’d watch her mind wander
Back home to the Alps.

A thousand miles distant,
She saw out her days,
But the mountains, persistent,
Would not let her go.
She’d lean on a gate
And she’d wistfully gaze
From the rolled hillside’s pate
To the valley below.

Her cottage was bare
Like a gannet’s rough ledge,
But she breathed the thin air
And gave thanks to the sky.
And up where light flashes,
By an old hawthorn hedge,
We scattered her ashes,
My brother and I.


  1. I'm suddenly thinking of Liam Clancy's "The Dutchman" for some reason.

    Really nice work! "And rolled her like phlegm" caught me up short.

    I liked the image of the gannet's ledge. Excellent rhyming as ever.


  2. This is poignant, sad, beautiful and clever.

  3. Thanks Kat and Heather,
    I'm still not happy with it. I've never been happy about anything I've written about my mother, to be honest. Its as though the words never seem to do her justice.

  4. I've never been able to write about either of my parents Pete. But this is beautiful. Particularly the third stanza brought tears to my eyes. I'm glad you posted it, even if you weren't happy about it.