We currently have ten poems by Amanda Hodgson. You can listen to them all one after the other using the playlist below or if you prefer you can click the links further down to read a specific poem whilst listening to it.
Copyright © Amanda Hodgson
Read and listen to Silly Girl
They said she was too young
To know much of anything
When she stood with a smile
Holding out her heart
They ran at it, fear manifesting
As disgust. They took the heart
Buried it. For safety. They said
Use this instead. It is like a heart
It is safer. Good job we came along
When we did. You were in danger
They said. She took the packaged thing
The safer thing which fluttered and
Murmured inside her. Strangers
Told her to smile. Her eyes replied
They took my heart. They took
My smile. My world is permanent static.
How you exaggerate they said. You with
Your perfectly serviceable heart, you with
Your cosseted life. You have everything.
One day she walked into the sea and kept
Walking until the static was drowned by the
Water filling her ears. She walked until the
Water lifted her. She cleaved the water
Went down to the darkest deep, where
The creatures here at the beginning of
Everything live. Sightless and unperturbed
They feel the motion of water change as she
Digs the bottom. Dig digging until that
Viscous, vulnerable, glistening heart
Is hers again. Up through layers of light
Breaking the surface before swallowing
Her prize. They squinted from the shore.
They shook their heads. Not like that
Not like that, they said.
Read and listen to The Phone Call
It began with a message
Three words: can you talk?
I could talk. We talked.
It didn’t take long for the flimsy edifice
Of your fine, fine
To come down. Not long for you to tell me
You wanted to go to sleep
And never wake up again
You told me you hadn’t drunk for two weeks
It wasn’t true. You were drunk
I heard it. Takes one to know one.
Drink didn’t drown the sound that was
The loneliness of broken dreams
It never does. We laughed
To spear the silence
You were alone in a space that was
Suffocating you with silence
I remembered the names you said
You wanted for your children
You chose different names
Mocking your old choices.
You said you were going to lie down
You felt tired because you didn’t really eat
Were on iron tablets, had some toast that morning
Would try and eat later
Six stone, small even for a small person
Lucy Locket, fits in your pocket
I used to say this to you at work.
You said I love you and hung up
You woke up to that silence again
Liquid silenced the silence
You passed out to yesterdays
Woke up and did it again
Until you didn’t
Read and listen to Orange
The colour of the juice that saved me
Aged fourteen, drinking sunshine
In a life that had none. Orange the
flames into which I stared. Orange the
colour of my overbleached hair. Orange the
robes to signify a chosen path
I wanted black and white. A cloistered life
A place to hide. Butternut squash a
pastel shade if you add coconut milk
Chili for the kick. Orange the cracked spines
Of books thumbed a thousand times
Orange the pots for the plants green and lush
Orange the sky in the sunset hush
Orange the buoy slapped as I circle and splash
Orange the bill of the duck quacking out
I’m not the same as the other ducks.
We quack out words we click we write
Into the darkness of a broken night
Into the bleached diurnal light.
Read and listen to Small Acts of Kindness
Man, grey hair, thin cigarette
Between his thinner lips, bends
To pick up a pristine violet trainer
From the pavement
Places it on an electricity box
Resets his face
To a cross between neutral
Before puffing on
A sister who looks like
Her mother puts an arm around
Her brother to guide him
On the bus. His arms are
Full of the toilet rolls that
Don’t fit in his Mother’s bag
Where there are crisps and chocolate
They have been to the pound shop
The bus stop is right outside.
Read and listen to School Run
How many minutes? Eight. Eight!
That’s worse than yesterday
A frown, the stamp of a foot
Let’s get our quick legs on then
But my legs are tiiiiiired
Must be from all that running
In the park, yesterday
All those cartwheels
You weren’t tired then
That’s different Mummy
I know, I know. We can do this.
Who can see a yellow tulip?
Me! Who can see a green tulip?
Me! Nope, I made that up
Ssssh! A cat! Hello cat.
Can I stroke you? The cat
Is so cute. Bye cat. The cat
Is following us, look!
Will they let him in your class?
No! You are so silly Mummy
How many minutes now?
Six. Six! Six is plenty.
We are near now.
Red and white checked dresses.
Socks, a bookbag with keyrings
Sun on sequins turning them into
Disco balls. Tiny beams on gravel
We are not late, see
I love you, have a good day
I love you Mummy, bye.
Read and listen to Dreaming in Autumn
I woke up early and got up late
Remembering..we sat beside a fountain
Eating promises from a plate
The leaves lay on the water
Like a quilt made from the season
You were sleepy drunk and leant on me
I said what you wanted to hear
Which was what I meant
I never lie any more
I can meet my eyes in the mirror of the water
In the looking glass, the black screens, a spoon
I can hold up my tired head
You don’t need your props here
No drink, no cigarette, just us
Watching the mist
Stirring the water with leaves
Read and listen to Granny Iris
When I was young I looked up at you
My vision of comfort
Your headscarf atop stiff curls set weekly
bound by the ring beneath your chin
Perfume, a bag zipped and held tightly
in the crook of your arm.
My sister was born and daddy was ill
We went to the hospital on the bus
I watched your reflection in the window
Your profile next to the ripples of rain
Steam etched with swirls
Drawn by little fingers.
I held tight the arm without the bag
I knew you would protect me
If your love were a shield I would be unblemished
You left, your fall robbing us of goodbye
I named my daughter Iris, after you
She laughed today, I thought of you.
Read and listen to I Dream of a Tidal Wave
Rhizomes creak, I hear them
The creaks may be the back of Atlas
He’s feeling his eternity, the world has driven him down
Always a weight, it is too much now
Grey with trash and smog and hubris
Lumpy old giant carpet world, not large enough
For all we sweep under it
The moment hovers, like a dragonfly over water
The lights of a million billion small screens
Our precious fireflies
Flicker and go out
Then the water, the raging torrent
Covers everything, everything
Then it is over
Read and listen to Nostalgia
Haven’t you grown? I didn’t know
how to respond to that. I swore
I’d never say it. I say it.
I watch their faces screw up
as mine once did. I wanted
to be a grown-up. I wanted
to exclaim at the speed of
time passing. To sit with other
grown-ups and reminisce.
To smell of perfume and have
pleats round my eyes. We don’t
talk about time going treacle slow
About being disliked or being
afraid. Confused in a world of
confusion, voices loud behind
closed doors. We don’t want to
talk about that.
Read and listen to Saturday Morning
It is the right sort of day
To curl cat-like beneath a duvet
On the sofa, with a book
As you squawk and chirrup on the floor
Batting and kicking at hanging plastic toys
Chewing to ease the fire in your gums
I don’t mind being woken early
When it is with a smile of pure joy
The day is yours, you claim it
With bright eyes and seeking starfish hands
You talk to a toucan with a rainbow beak
You look at me, your anchor
The sky is dark, rain drumming a steady beat
We are bright in here
Me with my eggs and tea
You holding court on a bright simulacrum
of an Amazonian rainforest
Beaming at a plump stingless bee
Read and listen to The Real
Some biological plan for companionship
Making puppets of us all
With filmy figures tacky
Smite like jaundice on this long
Long time it has been
Long road to go so far
Without ever moving
Insect pinned and dried this
Self-indulgence never really dies
Infiltrating even these, my dark jewels
My million tetra fish
Something founders in my back
My feet cramp and ankles slump
My ear is bleeding, bleeding hours
Something in my head will now stop
A joyous authentic cuckoo clock
Read and listen to Iris at the Park
I looked up and saw
On the seesaw, her arm
around a smaller child
Making sure she didn’t fall
Then, she sat behind the
smaller child. They bounced.
The child squealed, excited. Secure.
My girl her bulwark.
Easy tears came to my eyes at
The care she took of a child we
didn’t know, yet ours
As all are ours, yet none.
Read and listen to Parent Time
Where does the time go?
I know and you know
How long a day can seem
When it starts at three am
How long a night when
A temperature is taken repeatedly
Hoping the numbers are the right
Side of a hospital visit
There are the weeks that become
Months then years of hands
Grasping for you in the dark
As only you have the power
To make nightmares disappear.
Where does the time go?
I know and you know
How to laugh over a thousand
Rejected meals, how to stand
Stoic in oceans of tears
How to make the same book
Sound new, where best to hang
The just washed clothes again
And again and again. We know.
We know where the time goes.
Read and listen to Bus Ride
Two buses to get to the party
Says Mummy. You like buses
They mean I-Spy
Top deck on the second bus, yay!
Climbing the stairs, a girl calls hello
She is sparkly, like you
Sparkly, six and loves Frozen Two
You sing the songs, not too loudly
Your grown-ups smile and think of coffee
You’ve lost teeth, she hasn’t
You’ve both got blue eyes and
Names beginning with I
At journey’s end you hold hands
Running to the party, grown-ups saying
Wait and Mind the Road
You can’t slow down when there is
A bouncy castle and cake ahead
And more sparkly, singing
Six year old friends.
writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
Her short fiction collections: Feed the Need, MIcrolives and Holy Water are available on Amazon. A story from Holy Water was recently featured in Ragged LIon Journal.
Holy Water - by Amanda Hodgson
Fourteen tales following water as it flows through Lake Volta, crashes on the Sussex shore …
Microlives - by Amanda Hodgson
Microlives is a contemporary collection of Flash Fiction about people linked by location …