Neural Pathways by Ceinwen Haydon


Neural Pathways

I flinch
when you raise your hand
and my palms cover my face
as you wave

the cadence of a gravel voice
stirs my father’s shade

I see my brother’s old tears
drop rust-red from worn guttering
overflowing with winter rain

a sixties’ song throbs
electrifies my nerves
and rouses my arthritic knees
to dance teenage dreams
There’s Always Something There to Remind Me

harsh voices overheard in passing on the street
unleash ghosts of thumping hands and caustic words
my mother’s fury
you’re so bad     one day you’ll make me kill you     so you will

once   I wrote a note after she beat me
dear mummy you don’t love me anymore
I’m sorry but I hate you
she found it hidden under my pillow

a stranger’s eyes echo yours     my first love
and the curve of a neck
retreating in a crowd
brings you back across fifty years

I once spent hours in old churches
seeking god                       the great no show
yet now I’m old
Artemis and Seeshat wink from time to time
bright stars between tall dark trees at sunset

and their kindness
chucks my chin with tenderness
shoos my childhood spankings
and unwise loves into the long grass

and my nerves rewire to new reflexes
and pluck beauty from the here and now

Artemis – Hellenic goddess of the hunt, wilderness, childbirth and virginity Seeshat – Egyptian goddess of wisdom, knowledge and writing ‘There’s Always Something There to Remind Me’ Song by Sandie Shaw 1965.

Ceinwen previously worked as a Probation Officer, a Mental Health Social Worker and Practice Educator. She lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and writes short stories and poetry. She has been published in web magazines and print anthologies. These include Fiction on the Web, Literally Stories, Alliterati, Stepaway, Poets Speak (whilst they still can), Three Drops from the Cauldron, Obsessed with Pipework, Picaroon, Amaryllis, Algebra of Owls, Write to be Counted, The Lake and Riggwelter. She graduated from her MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University in December 2017. She believes everyone’s voice counts.

1 thought on “Neural Pathways by Ceinwen Haydon”

  1. A sensitive, beautifully made poem from first lines to last – I’ve known two female friends who were beaten by their mothers as children and it affected them deeply and indelibly through to adult life.

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