Posted by: lialeendertz | February 27, 2012


This is not your usual sort of blog post. This is part of a happening. Im feeling very with it and connected. There will be horticulture, but you’ll have to bear with me, as call-centre staff say.

Sarah Salway, an actual bona fide writer of novels, short stories and poems, has written a poem and dedicated it to me. It’s in her new book, which is out now. I’m ludicrously thrilled by this and am planning on dedicating myself full time to my new role of muse. I’ll probably wear something floaty, and drape myself over a chez longue while gazing out of the window, a faraway look in my eye. Over these few days I, along with a group of literary types (An intensity of? An earnestness of?), am hosting a ‘virtual poetry reading trail’. It’s happening all over.  It’s totally like the future or something. So pull on your virtual black polo neck and don your virtual black-rimmed media specs while I pour the virtual red wine and pop on some virtual free jazz. Let’s have a little respectful hush in the room and begin. You may nod almost imperceptibly occasionally, and perhaps close your eyes for a short passage, because you are very sensitive and deep.

I wish I could remember precisely how ‘my’ poem came about, but the essentials are this: we were mucking about on twitter, talking about Sarah writing poetry, and for some reason now lost to the mists of time I suggested she write a poem about cheese and onion crisps. ‘I will’ she said. And behold, a few days later, this appeared in my inbox:


The Interruption


For Lia


When I tell my daughter I’m working,

she nods, pulls her chair right up

to mine, elbows out, breath hot

with cheese and onion crisps.


She chooses a red pencil, starts

chewing, sighs over her blank paper,

tells me to shush. She draws us, stick

mother holding stick daughter’s hand.


Look, she says. I try to concentrate

on my work but she’s learnt

from me too well. Really look.

Clumsy fingers twist my hair


until we fight. I say she has to go now,

to let me get on with Mummy’s work.

Outside she sits so close to the door

I hear every rustle, every sigh so loud


that the note pushed under the door

comes like a white flag. Dear Mummy,

my daughter writes. This is me.


I don’t know how she did it. I realise that it’s also about her own daughter and her own struggles with working from home, but If she’d set up CCTV cameras in our house and monitored us 24 hours a day she couldn’t have captured my daughter more perfectly: crisp love, drawing obsession, clumsy, insistent fingers in hair and all. She takes my face between her two little palms and angles it towards her, so I can’t help but pay her attention. If Sarah and I had sat and drank tea and moaned for hours about the balancing of kids and work she couldn’t have captured that heart-wrenching pull between the two more beautifully. But at that point we’d never met. Anyway, she’s a working mother, who works from home, and so she knew. And she’s an artist. Still, a year or so after I first read it, that last line bring tears to my eyes every time.

It’s a beautiful, beautiful book, full of perfectly captured moments, and as part of this virtual reading trail Sarah will now read us all a specially selected HORTICULTURAL poem called ‘Seeds’. It was meant to embed here in the blog post but I don’t have the technology brain so click here then press on the arrow and she will begin reading. It’s gorgeous.

PS Please do follow the reading trail. It goes as follows:

26th Feb

Tania – Love and Stationery

Danuta – Different Lives

27th Feb

Lia – Seeds

Nik – Dust

28th Feb

Alice – Things To Do Today

Caroline – First

29th Feb

Susannah – The Interruption

Alex – Happy

Ist March

Fiona – Through Carved Wooden Binoculars

BookeyWookeyBook – Dad Plays St George

Scott – Extinction

Stephanella – Dental Examination –


  1. As I type, I have a feverishly hot little body of a 2yr old wedged between me and the arm of the sofa, he will not budge, and constantly tries to touch my laptop keyboard when he thinks I am not looking. When I clicked through to your blog, he immediately reacted to the picture you use as a banner. “Moon! Moon!” It delighted him – the moon is a current obsession.

    Love the poem, like you, I relate to it totally. Working from home, and balancing my time with him and my time working is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do. I will definitely look up Sarah’s book.

    (In the meantime, trying to scroll down or away from this page is causing cries of outrage and demands for “moon” from my romantic, if tenacious, son.)

  2. I do love this poem. I’ve heard it before but I could read it every day and still love it — I probably will read it every day once I get the book, which I will do next week at the launch. I am very much looking forward to it. And all this has the added pleasure of finding you and your blog. Thanks.

  3. Sublime.

    And something your family will treasure forever. What a properly special gift, from a relative stranger too.

    Stuff likes this makes me extraordinarily happy.

    Thanks for the warm fuzzy feeling – you, Sarah and your daughter too.

    A-M xxxxxx

  4. Oh Catherine! Have visions of you still here, gazing at the moon, unable to get on with any of your work….My son is equally fascinated by the moon. Funny boys. Pleased you can relate to it, although that sounds kind of mean: it’s not just me!

    Sue – lovely to have you here and so glad you enjoyed finding the blog.

    Ann-Marie – I know, really quite a special thing, isnt it? Feel very lucky.

  5. Ah thanks all. Lia love, pour me another glass of wine, won’t you? Let’s toast to mucking about on twitter and all the nice things (and people) it brings along with it!

  6. *clinks glasses* x

  7. A very nice poem indeed, very touching. You can actually imaging the scene. I like the end a lot.

  8. gosh. i have two of those myself. she’s caught the whole emotional process so beautifully.

  9. i have just read this and burst into tears…i have 3 daughters…

    i am now going to buy this wonderful book…

    thank you for sharing this…

  10. Damn it. That was such a perfectly pitched poem I can’t even manage to make my usual sarcastic comment. I’m a bit disappointed in myself.

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