top of page

Gaynor Kane: a poem


My mother has always liked light.

As a young woman she plastered

the back of the alcove with foot-square

mirrored tiles and on the shelf

at the top of the electric box

she overlaid sheets of inch-square

mirrored mosaic. The evening sun

would cut the eyes clean out of you.

In the eighties she collected white

ceramic – doves, swans, ginger jars;

a gilded big-bellied buddha, smiling.

Jardinières on pillared plinths, bowls

shaped like an elephant or bunch of grapes.

Then came colour: pink flamingos, figurines

in blue ballgowns, Royal Doulton roses

with pastel porcelain petals and yellow

tubes of UHU glue. Several series of painted

plates with images of animals, country

cottages, all stored in polystyrene

and certificates of authenticity.

After entering the next millennium

she moved to a flat, bringing boxes

of unopened purchases to store

in her new sliderobes; reflected

in their doors were mirrored drawers

and a shiny dressing table on thin black

lacquered legs, topped with three

hinged looking glasses. She found

the QVC shopping channel on the new TV

and began collecting jewellery – dazzling

diamonique, sparkling silver and polished pearls.

We moved all the mirrored furniture

to her care home room. She still likes

an abundance of ornaments. Has topped

them with clusters of small Swarovski crystal:

pineapples; a peacock with glued-together

tail feathers; more swans and grapes.

Took more than the tiny room

could hold and built pillars of boxes

around her winged-back chair.

Noon sun creating rainbows

on all sides of her box room.

Gaynor Kane is a Northern Irish poet from Belfast. She has had two poetry pamphlets, and a full

collection, published by Hedgehog Poetry Press. They are Circling the Sun, Memory Forest, and Venus in Pink Marble (2018, 2019 and September 2020 respectively). She is co-author, along with Karen Mooney, of Penned In, a poetry pamphlet written in response to the pandemic (November 2020). You can find them all here. Follow her on Twitter here or read more at

bottom of page