Rainy Days and Sundays

bird of paradise 8:5:2016

A Dreich Day but Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining.
Mairi Neil


The air has changed, and the light too
Yesterday’s intense heat relieved
By the expected overnight showers.
I draw back the curtains. Greet the day.
Outside, the dust of summer vanished,
Trees and plants drip their pleasure.
Staying alive in mercurial Melbourne
This El Niño year, hard and thirsty work.

window view 8:5:2016

The Bottlebrush, a pale sage green, towers
Above my ancient Bird of Paradise,
Its cocky, orange blooms already hibernating,
Not waiting for the onset of winter chill.
The broad, flat leaves shining fluoro planks
Sheltering a bed of tropical ferns and
Fleshy, succulent rosettes crouching together
To survive and flourish against the odds.

succulent plants 8:5:2016

The hardy, newly-planted Geraniums
Have dropped their pale pink petals,
Or perhaps the neighbour’s cat
Has prowled in the night again.
Caroline’s memorial Wattle no longer stands
And warming sunlight feeds the Grevillea,
Orange flowers waiting for the wattlebirds
To feast while fending off the Indian Mynas.

bird of paradise leaves 8:5:2016

The Blue Moon and Bridal Pink rose bushes
Hide buds and cling to their autumn leaves,
While the Vareigata explodes and thrives
From the broken wheelbarrow plot
Like a stoner’s wild seventies hairdo.
And beyond this picture-book greenery
The splash and shudder of car tyres
Wayward on streets, the colour of wild doves.

rose bush and wheelbarrow 8:5:2016


A cluster of red and white geraniums bob
Towards the mailbox peeking from the Rosemary,
Refusing to be absorbed by gathering grey clouds
Warning of endless dusk. And as the earthy smell
Of rejuvenated soil seeps inside, I remember the joy
Of a pair of sparrows bathing in a puddle,
The happiness of a gumboot splashing childhood –
There is something glorious about a rainy day.


And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.

Gilbert K. Chesterton









Another Mothers’ Day For Reflection And Giving Thanks


Memories of Mum and Mortality
Mairi Neil

My Mum is gone
She was ready for that final journey in 2009.
Whispering the 23rd Psalm…
The hospital cubicle a confessional box
as she relived the memory
of holding her dying father in teenage arms.
Mum retold the story,
assured us that a welcome
awaited her.

She was ready to go –
but we were not.
Surely, a broken hip can be repaired?
Hopeful adult children huddled beside
Grandchildren.  And friends.
With hearts numbed
Cheeks tearstained.
Fearing the loss of Mum, ‘The Nana,’
Fearing a fractured future…

And the world hasn’t been the same.
I miss our chats
The wisdom of eight decades and more.
I ache to hear familiar laughter –
infectious chuckling and girlish giggle.
Laughter that appreciated farce
Eccentricity and spoonerisms.
Dad’s Army a favourite
Relief that darkness never lasts.

I long to hear the wise sayings
The knowledgeable ‘aye’ at the end
or beginning of conversations.
I miss those all-seeing eyes –
blue-grey pools with new shamrock pupils
eyesight saved when young. Later
destroyed by disease and old age.
I’ll always weep whenever I hear
Amazing Grace.

In the mirror, I see you, Mum
and a glimpse of what lies ahead
But I need you here now –
To tell me you love me
And that I’ll cope
If the future strips me of sight.
It is already stealing my hearing…
Dad joked your hearing aids tuned into Mars.
Will I learn selective deafness?

Mum, I hope you knew
how much you were loved.
That you hear how softer our voices
become when you are mentioned.
You hear the chuckles
as we enjoy remembrances
No anger fans flames in my heart
No resentment or accusations of neglect
Only a deep longing for what is lost

I may be child number four
but always felt number one
I want to hold Mum’s hand once more
Caress the papyrus skin
traverse blue-veined ridges
Try and stem the tears as I remember
The cuddles when I was sick
The courage when I was scared
The cooking when I was hungry
The cleaning, shopping, and encouraging
The relentless mothering…

When it is my time to leave this world
I hope my daughters are by my side,
Listening as  I retell the story
of the night my mother said goodbye.
Of how I held her in my arms
thanked her for a legacy of love…
Cherishing a library of family stories
I hope to be peaceful and calm
in the knowledge a welcome awaits.


Mairi-Neil-2-mum-and-mairi-300x237.jpgpictures of mum and me 1953.jpg

Me and Mum 1953 and 2007

Dearest Mum…

The gypsy prophesied you would cross the seas
Bear seven children
And cross the seas again.

She did not tell of
being a teenage orphan
losing a daughter
blindness and profound deafness
nursing ailing in-laws
a husband’s disintegration with dementia

The gypsy discreet, her crystal ball dimmed
Although courageous and compassionate
Dear Mum,
If you had glimpsed the future
I may not be here.



sound advice
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