Poem published in ‘Grieve’ anthology

I received a big surprise in the mail the other day: this copy of the Hunter Writers Centre’s ‘Grieve’ anthology. The Hunter Writers Centre publishes a new volume of Grieve each year in honour of Grief Awareness Month (August).

I’d submitted a poem for consideration in this year’s anthology way back in April or thereabouts. I then more or less forgot about having done so, meaning it was a tremendous surprise when I received a complementary copy of the anthology because my poem had been published inside. Moral of the story? The world is full of surprises, but you can maximise this reality if you have a memory like a sieve…

I wrote this poem while returning from a work trip on a Friday night, sitting in an exceedingly rickety plane somewhere above the east coast of Australia. I vaguely recall a thunderstorm making an appearance. Perhaps the perceived peril conjured up by my surroundings is what led back to the headspace from which this poem was written.

‘Life Lessons’ is about watching my mother undergo chemotherapy in 2018 – a very sad time for everyone in my family. Mum lost her hair, and she didn’t want to eat because food tasted like cardboard. I can’t imagine what it was like to go through such a treatment. I do now know what it is like to see a loved one go through it, however, and that is the perspective I have explored a little in this poem.

Many thanks to the Hunter Writers Centre for publishing this piece.