5 poems by Ceinwen Haydon [Poetry]

How Did You Get Here?

I got here trying not to be her,

without a map or a mother’s hand

to hold when scared. Eyes raw from

sleepless nights, fearing the days ahead,

I giggled with dread and looked happy

Hid my longing to be alone, inverted

upside down, in a hole in the ground.


Clowning clattered through me

ensured no-one knew me. Laughter

safer than affection, an acceptable rejection.


That’s a lie, I wanted to be liked

and understood, a little at least,

even accepted. I wanted to be kind,

never frighten a child with hate-mind,

eyes fierce and fisted, weeping hands hot

with shame. How did I get here?

By refusing to become her

and my children’s unbruised skin.



Acorns fall, rattle on her coffin’s lid.

Rain drenches the ruffian diggers

who sink her in the soil.

Her lone plot, unsanctified,

rank, putrid and defiled.

In death, as in life,

she’s cast out and reviled.


The warmest girl,

the softest heart,


and shy. So shy.

Punished for love

and unwed motherhood.


Apple Day

Some picked by choice, favoured by my eye,

others fallen, russet rusted, caught on leaf blankets,

All set to be washed and sliced ready for the jam pan.

Brown pips shine, comma the cores, leave fibrous shells,

leftovers piled high to be dumped in a compost heap.

Brown sugar bubbles, heat releases pectin. Tart tastes sweetened,

remember the false promise of an Indian summer’s sun.

Fruit, spooned into Kilner jars with Mason lids,

circled and screwed down tight, cooled for now,

my preserve will wait until you have an appetite.


Dad      (1917- 1993)                                                         

I still bump into you. In the market,

squashed tomatoes recall your splattered

white shirt, juice-stained red. Our picnic,

that fierce summer frazzled you. You’d said,

‘Don’t make a mess, bite fruit like this’.

A wasp buzzed and whirled around

as your pride dived and hit the ground.


Today, family hands, dinner plates,

freight memories of yours, my own

included. I’m thrown back years

to your skin stretched taut by scrubs

and Lifebuoy Soap, hair slicked

to John Wayne gloss with Brylcreem,

breath warm and Woodbine sour.


Your swollen, lovely, tone-deaf bass

haunts me yet, raises goose-bumps.

Your Home, Home on the Range,

in two-note riffs, one up, one down.

Tuneless, yet much sweeter than

my mutant mother’s perfect pitch.



The first cup he made for her, drawn from a tin teapot,

lovelier than a samovar, in the late evening light,

hot tannin-tainted liquid scalded soft tissues

in her thirsty mouth, and teased her palate

to seek and savour a second cup.

The strongest brew she’d ever known

to pass her parched lips. His breath

wafted lemon-sharp on her face, and traced

kisses from lashes to mouth, racing down neck

to belly, Venus mound to thighs, waiting, brewing.


by Ceinwen Haydon


  • Ceinwen lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and writes short stories and poetry. She has been widely published in web magazines and in print anthologies. She graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University in 2017. She believes everyone’s voice counts.
  • Ceinwen can be found on her Twitter: @CeinwenHaydon & On her Facebook site:  https://www.facebook.com/ceinwen.haydon  




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