Barbara Derbyshire is an author of short fiction and poetry. Originally from London and now an Irish citizen, her home is in Kerry where, with more time to think, observe, and remember, she has rediscovered her love of writing. She published her first book, Tapestry of Love, Life, and Spirit in 2016. Her second collection of poetry and short stories, Leaving Echoes, was published in 2019.

The Unconventional Cutting of Bread

Toast was often prepared for me, at one time in my life
Each slice arrived with the top, crusty – and tastiest – piece missing.
Her wages for making it.
Now living alone, I sometimes treat myself
To a sourdough cob or a tiger loaf.
I slice every side that has a crust,
Toast it and I don’t share it or steal it from another.
Cutting a cob, I can enjoy
four small crusts and two large flat ones
The tiger loaf yields
two small, two very long and two large flats,
perfect for poached eggs.
From time to time only, be clear.
This is a treat and must not be abused.
Pat’s Toasty Pan is there for the days I am not bitter
And do not feel deprived of my rights.

Rags of Colourful Chatter

At the foot of the mountain, tranquillity, silence.
Nature taking pride in her most precious ones.
After a snow-cooled gestation, beneath soil, fertile and soft,
the purple-clad children with the sun in their hearts
sway gently, delighting and greeting each other.
Loving and becoming a tribe.
Rooted to the ground that nourishes them.
Greens of every hue mark the path to ascension
Footprints now erased by the wilderness which is seasoned
by the sun, the moon, the rain and the snow
At one with the elements which give it life.
Wrapped around the heart of the giant,
a carpet so soft and warm.
Green when it’s cool, golden in the sun.
Little feet, wings, furry ears, and twitchy noses
play their parts, untroubled, on the limbs
of the mountain’s trees.
Climbing further, the first sign that man was ever here.
Towering posts of metal which jangle with the might of the wind
Flying from them, rags of colourful chatter
Tempting the gods to hear and answer
prayers of peace and love sent to them by the monks
from a building, long lost and decaying, unreachable, and forgotten.


Gold, cold, crispiness
Never to be forgotten
Absence of your smile.
It reminds me of you
I don’t know why
It never featured in life
As a child, a teenager
We were all Winter
You, me, Dad and Jesus

We had cardigans, scarves
Woolly hats, gloves.
It all happened in the cold
Friends had June, July, August
But we were all December
Jesus, Dad and me.
You were February,
But still said you were Winter
Just to keep us company.

You chose Spring to leave us
Should have been new life
Not the death of a loved one
Who followed her sister… to where?
The Promised Land?
Heaven? Hell? Purgatory?
Heaven for you and Jesus.
Hell for Dad and me.

Autumn: the only one untainted.