Ice and insomnia


Words written in the dead of the night between 1.53 am and 4.45 am


There is white ice and black ice. Ice on top of snow ice. Ice on puddles, sheets of ice on the canal. Ice in the playground so children cannot play ice. Compacted ice on roads and pavement, be careful don’t slip, dangerous ice. There are icicles hanging below the railway arches ice.

There are hearts made of ice.


Aloneness and fear and snow blindness. Noticing nature, more nature. The hunger of the birds and the sheep and me….


Pangs of hunger, so drink more water, keep moving, distract yourself……hunger

Catching the eye of the bird of prey looming large and heavy in the top of the tree. She sees me and swoops away. I am a little lost and have snow blindness, I trace the path of another human boot.


Wanting to be alone. Aloneness felt when with a child all the time, suffocating aloneness. Now I miss his company. I cling to the before and after schools. It is him holding my hand, holding me. I need him more. Why did I long for aloneness ?

Being out here in the wilderness. The wild, unknown territories of the maternal.

Far out. Way out. Gone out. Walking out. Pace of walking with accompanied by a child is slow. Pace of walking alone is fast. Walking uninhibited, not knowing which way I am going. A bit lost. Perhaps ?


I am sick of picking up the (others) mess and sorting and ordering and cleaning and doing. I’m fed up of illnesses that interrupt and disrupt my chances and opportunities of moving beyond this home space. I’m frustrated by caring duties. I’m not sure even how well I care any longer. The digital baby sitters are winning. Maybe the screens care more than me. I have lost touch. I am out of touch. I cling to your hand to the before’s and after schools. I make, I bake and I crave love as much as food. I question and feel anxious and I feel flakey and irresponsible yet I enjoy childish moments of freedom and aloneness and unplanned time. Off piste, off routine, gone off milk, unprescribed naughtiness.

A primal scream. A scream unheard. Kept under wraps. I’m an embarrassment to a teenager, but inside he leaps on my lap and showers me with love. Who am I on the inside ? Who am on on the outside ? When I am in the outside, outside over there ? I’m trapped and caged by myself. I let myself down by not completing forms and tasks and letting myself off the hook. pleading excuses to Patrick.

Who will care for me? Who will bring me in from the cold and wrap a blanket around me ?

I remember as a child running outside in the garden bare feet, and knickers. It was the summer. It was the garden in Etwall, I must have been  five, around the same age as Naoise.  The rain falling on me and drenching my skin, till I turned blue and had goosebumps all over and couldn’t stand being outside any longer. Some disagreement with mum had led me to flee.

These words wake me in the night. I fall asleep exhausted with Naoise then wake in the small hours. No longer a babies hunger for breastfeeding that wakes me but my own. Hunger for  words. Hunger for art. Hunger for change. Each wakes me in the night. I sleep walk through anxieties.

I am stuck, stuck, stuck. I am trapped in the ice. Naoise breathes deep in his sleep, rolls over and touches my face. Snores. There is peace.

I realise that I am privileged to have the headspace and time to write. I might as well write while I have this space. Is this too nice ? Does it disrupt any ideals about mothering ? Does it say anything different or new ? Has it all been done already ?

There is thought and there is love and there is companionship with other women and mothers who do listen and who do care and who do understand. There are exchanges of caring for children. I will look after little F this week and G will look after Naoise. Happy birthday G its your birthday today, I will drink strong coffee and eat slices of jam and toast with you.


Naoise wakes at 4.30 am, he is hungry, I understand. I bring him milk and malt loaf. I am hungry too and I sip on some of the cold milk that he leaves in the mug.


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