William Saunders

Mothering Sunday

At the hinge of the year comes an hour
before anybody has stirred,
the street lamps burn pale in the sunshine
the day as yet belongs to the birds.

When the last of the mist has yet to clear,
the houses give out their night breath,
and the eyes twitch at the morning
stale from alcohol and cigarettes.

The day lets go of the night,
the houses stand naked and fresh,
the smoke stained bricks as uncertain
as a foal on its first legs.

At an hour when man is strange,
to himself and all the earth,
refreshed, but not as yet renewed
lost between birth and rebirth.

An hour at the hinge of the year,
when the door of the seasons swing,
and the weight of all life silently glides
at the light push of the Spring.


Invisible, familiar, Spring teases
pleased with itself
and confident it pleases,
like a child behind a hedge
hid from its mother
unseen it fills the street

Unseen, unsuspected, Spring seizes
In a great coil of light
pulls us from ourselves then releases
like a jet of water from a tap
reconnecting with earth
in one endless splash.

Caught up footless in the thrill
of running water never still
yet always steady instant to instant
the shock of eternal suspense
gives for  a moment a sense of self



I have known the depths of the soul,
the spacious caverns where all illumination is lost,
no reflections return, no shadows fall,
the echoless places where the self feels small,
and deceives itself it has only itself to trust.

Where illusions declare life bare and raw,
a thing of nothing and still a thing of pain,
an endless fear without an end at all,
a skinless life in which the skin still crawls,
and longing forgets the morning


And I thought of a woman so benign,
she lifted all wickedness from me,
a weight I did not know was mine
until her light fell on me.

Light indeed I felt at last,
ready to stand at my own height
before a smile which travelled fast
across the windless night.

Floating before me heavy with child,
in robes of purple and white,
message and messenger, she smiled,
the Mother of The Second Life

A woman of vision only
of a purity beyond touch,
who made hope as vivid as memory
with her promise of love.

Emptied of all but love myself
and truly nothing except for her
my fear of nothing was put to death,
my doubts dissolved in air

All in the space of a breath
that ashes of my dead heart stirred
and I felt in my solitary depth
as exalted as a bird.


(Note: Mothering Sunday falls in Spring and is a celebration of The Church as Mother. It is also the day when the British celebrate Mother’s Day)

William Saunders is a British poet, journalist and author. His non-fiction book Jimi Hendrix London is published by The Roaring Forties Press. His poetry has appeared in magazines on both sides of The Atlantic. He lives in London.