Poem: Hearts for a houseboat family by Charlotte Ansell

Hearts for a houseboat family

When there are no tights left
without holes in my daughter’s drawer,
when boiling kettles for baths
for over a year takes its toll

and the domestic batteries we thought
might last until payday
cough up their dying gasp,
the taps run dry, the lights go out.

It’s one more straw
to add to the thatch
we carry on our backs,
another ache in a litany of sighs.

We haven’t capsized yet; maybe
we’re a little lost, or stranded
but one thing we’ve learnt
is that hope takes practice

and sometimes a rainbow
splits a bruised sky,
sometimes a magpie finds
his mate while we watch.

This is how we have faith
that God is not against us;
we search for hearts,
find them in the tangle

of a hair bobble,
a pebble, a puddle, a leaf,
we keep them on the galley shelf,
talismans against the dark.

Charlotte Ansell has two collections with Flipped Eye with a third forthcoming, and has been published in Poetry Review, Mslexia, Now Then, Butcher’s Dog and various anthologies. She won the Red Shed Open Poetry Competition in 2015 and the Watermarks poetry competition in 2016.

Our JustGiving page is open for donations to the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund – no amount is too small if you feel moved to support.

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