Well, you know what it’s like,
having a mother with Causes –
Or, I don’t know, maybe you don’t,
maybe you never gave up your Sundays,
stood out in the rain with a banner,
cried out in the streets for your rights –
or someone else’s –
Anyway, mine had plenty:
She was always out there,
smashing the patriarchy, putting down
the mighty from their seat,
that sort of thing. ‘Jesus,’ she said,
‘a woman’s body’s her own, her soul’s her creator’s.
Don’t you forget it.’ Or, ‘What this
country needs is revolution.
Lift up the humble.’ She thought big.
So I was surprised when, at the wedding,
she said to me, ‘They’re out of wine.
What are you going to do about it?’
‘Mother,’ I said, ‘this isn’t the time.’
Meaning, of course, that I had bigger fish to fry.
‘Jesus,’ she said, ‘there’s one thing
you haven’t yet learned about changing the world.
You begin where you are
and you use what you’ve got.’
So I did. That’s where it started.


I remember how when we came to the city
we stopped, having no urge to go further,
as though that which had led us there rested,
and there was peace there,
and rest, and time to recall
who we were, who we had been,
and why we had come there at all;

And, though they told us before we set out,
and all down the way, that we’d want to walk on
to the world’s end, west,
west, until the abyss
stretched endless, roaring, before us,
and, though we once wondered if after all
we should go there,
go on to the end, just to see what was there,
to quiet our consciences, say
we had been all the way to the edge,
we remained; we had found what we came for;

And though my soul clamours still
to walk that same great starlit way once again,
onwards, westwards, to wonder,
I don’t know that this time
(whenever it comes)
I would want to go further.