Measurement in Spiders


Last week
you froze mid hall
screamed, cried
and shook, till
broom in hand,
you heard the book
slam hard against
the ground.

Last night, you
peered up, paused
and pointed to
the ceiling,
that’s the one
you killed last
week, right?

Right, I said,
praying to every
God I’ve ever
read about,
Do not let that
spider move,
not a leg, or arm
not a sneeze
or yawn….

Ok you said,
and went about
your business,
and for a moment,
brief as it was,
I felt my lungs

Karen Hayward ©2018
Image from WordPress library

Old man up my road
owns a white
Siberian husky.
He pounds along
the path chasing
cats, pulling old man
here, there
His bark is fierce
splits atoms
demands attention.

Old man up the road
pauses at our gate,
for Husky blue eyes
searches for his
Princess blue eyes and
he finds her.

Husky stands tall
with his front paws
perched atop the
Black iron gate.
Head bowed.
He does not bark,
jump, skip or
dance with
He patiently waits.

Small girl squeals
with delight
‘our friend, mummy’
she looks to me
for permission.

Permission granted.

Small girl walks steadily
to the gate leaving
behind her fears
and anxiety.
Husky holds his position.
Pausing a foot away
she reaches out small
tender fingers…

Husky smells, a small
dance in his back paws
as her fingers delve
deep into his fur
they rub heads for
a split second
then husky is calm
blue eyes searching
blue eyes, she smiles.

Old man tells me
he ain’t never seen husky
like this with no one…
She must be special he says.

Old man knows.
Husky knows.
I know.

One day she too will know.

Karen Hayward ©2018

Image found on pinterest

Drowning in my hair. 

There is a silence before rain 

falls hissing through atoms, 

empty, threatening, soldiers 

of nature crashing into life. 

But what of the blood that spills? 

I grasp at the lose threads 

of my soul as it splits with 

each drum a blunt knife 

tearing hearts chambers. 

I count in my

mind how many foot steps, 

one for each sting of thunders drop. 

One hundred? Two hundred? 

I estimate five hundred. 

Five hundred shards of my soul 

scattered through petrichor. 

The earthly scent is a blessing

and a curse defined in your heart. 

Your heart. . .but does it beat now 

rapid screams of need? There 

goes another shard, sharp and

glossed in maternal lubricant. 

If only I were your belief. A hero 

powered by the Gods, mutated 

chemically, born to other planets. . .

I could slow the rain and calm 

the orchestra of blood playing 

in your ears. I could transmit 

messages across the surface 

water, manipulate cloud and 

envelope you in protective fluff. 

My wings would stretch the 

earth in search of you,  my

soul would scour the universe

as my spirit caught claps of

thunder between the falling

droplets of rain.
Karen Hayward ©2017

Image and words 


Anxiety in children; when the Caterpillar is too scared to turn.

We don’t ask for much only that you hear. 

Trust us when we tell you it’s a founded fear. 

Stop dismissing us as helicopter mums,

When will  you see anxietys not fun. 

You don’t understand I see it on your face,

every time I leave her here at this place. 

You do not know best. 

She’s not the same as the rest.

Every day I speak with you, every day nothing new,

Suddenly you decide theres a problem out of the blue?

And the reason for this problem, you haven’t got a clue!!

When I speak do you wander in your mind to your secret place,

Nod and smile, but you’re gone without a trace. 

Do you know what anxiety is? 

Can you recognise it? 

Can you see it in a child as they cower from the clouds,

sudden movements, a chill, the shade, a noise that’s too loud? 

Do you even see it, or is she so very quiet you just leave her be? 

If she cried and she screamed and she stamped her feet,

If she ripped her work and kicked her seat,

Would you help her then? 

Would you scour books with paper and pen? 

Would you be afresh with ideas to help my young girl,

Could YOUR understanding of anxiety, change HER world?
Karen Hayward ©2016

Fear of unknown proportions. 

The soul knows what the mind forgets. 

I watch you standing at the window as rain streams ferociously down the glass 

I watch as unknown terrors become a remembered whisper. 

As your soul envelopes your heart slowing the rapid beat into a rhythmic lullaby.

Your eyes flash brighter than any lightening as a smile creeps across your face. 

Your fear washed into the drains as flash floods create an explosion of giggles.

“This is cool, mum”.  You say as the skies rumble,

Not their fear inducing rumble 

Just a rumble. 

You catch raindrops on your hand as we search for the rainbow,

Never before has that arch of beauty felt so magical then in this moment.

Karen Hayward ©2016 (images and words)


Today I am reminded of the time when you asked me, can you be a member of dauntless.

Your every tear that falls
falls in me too.
As your soul fights to be brave
mine is torn apart.
Today your heart feels so very dark.
So how can I tell you…
Your heart is beating too fast,
and every sound is louder than the last.
There’s a swarm of bees in your body
That can’t break free.
Your legs hurt
Your arms hurt
Your skin hurts
Your soul hurts.
Tears are caught on your tongue
and all you want is mum.
But instead you are at school
But instead you are at school.

KH. ©2016

Storms raging through the night.

*Anxiety. The fear my daughter feels in regards to the storm has nothing to do with the storm itself and everything to do with her neurological conditions. The storm startles her which causes her body to involuntarily move, this lack of control over her movement causes her body, or specifically the anxiety gland…otherwise known as Tony Stark in our house to produce a chemical that floods through her body sending her into survival mode…fight or flight.

However the fear I feel in regards to storms has everything to do with watching my gran and mum run around switching of electricity, taking out hair pins, safety pins and me somehow getting the idea that lightening will search you out and come crashing through the windows to get you. My fear is never helped by the sound of fire engines whizzing through the streets a storm passes through.

I search along the mantel piece behind the bed for the red numbers , cursing that my body clock can tell time better than I can. I’m half aware of the deep rumble that penetrated my dream and lay in bed for a moment listening to the soft hum of nothing. Satisfied that I can hear no rain, no thunder I get up. As I pass the hallway window I spot the rain twinkling in the moonlight and then the skies alight. Counting my own heartbeats I pray for double figures. Fourteen then the rumble that echoes that vibrates. The rain continues to fall as a shushed lullaby from a mother’s lips. I wonder can storm clouds sense fear are they irrational atoms?  I climb back into the bed and lay motionless on the slither of mattress my daughter permits me. I listen to her breathe unaware of the storm that forms above her. The heavens open and rain plays a chaotic beat against our roof. I can hear the padding feet of our older cat as he storms along the hall and ceremoniously slams into the bed meowing into the night skies his deep warning to all that this is his territory and he will guard it with his life. He spends the rest of the night at her side growling at the stormy clouds and nudging her with his head every time she stirs. He is an old and grumpy cat, he is her knight. I watch the numbers on the clock change and count my way into single digits, I need to sleep, so on my slither of mattress I pull the covers above my head and listen to the rain.

6am and I am simultaneously pulled from my dream by the rumbling skies and the scream of “Mummy, did you hear that!” Her little voice shaking, I am awake, Whiner the cat is awake we comfort her together. He spills dribble across her hands as I lay kisses on her forehead. I scramble desperately to reach the headphones before the next rumble breaks through the angry storm filled atoms. Her fear is real it snakes through her like poison. With each crash of cloud with each flash her body reacts without permission. Her fear escalates her voice shakes and the tears are evident in every word. Two weeks of fear have been building to this moment, two weeks of checking weather reports two weeks of constantly needing to know will it thunder today, Mum? We are still battling the aftermath of yesterday’s anxiety attack as she should had stood motionless in the school field unable to stop the tears.

The rain is slowing to a soft lullaby and day has broken the flashes pass by almost unseen. The crashes of thunder sending her heart racing each time. I am no longer scared if the lightening or he thunder. I am Mum, I am scared of nothing.

Karen Hayward ©2016.