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And the scream of the vixen, the cry of the owl 

and the shiver of the wind in the pines

as it nudged her on her way to the sea.


And the air was so heavy with her scent

and the path shone like a mirror, the path

on which she cycled through my dream.


                 from; Last Night by Karin van Heerden







Tidal  bore.


Last night.

Visiting in the Warneford hospital.

Locked ward

Autumn in Amsterdam.

Ode to a beetroot.

Revisiting aunt Margot

‘Bombus terrestris in flagrante delicto’

Gare du Nord




1 – BIOGRAPHY:  Karin van Heerden


I was born in Holland, studied Spanish at Groningen university, but have lived in the UK, in Oxford for many years.

I am an artist by profession, but have been writing for some years now. Poetry, and some short stories.

I also work with people with mental health problems, running both art and creative writing workshops.







Tidal  bore.


When I heard you were ill, a floodgate opened

and after all these years of cool indifference,

I was swept away by a tidal surge of pain,

a savage stream of tenderness; and I realised


that love is not the space between two people,

nor does it flow. Once formed, it lies within us,

static, incorruptible, like a stone, or a tumour

hidden but perfectly preserved.


Such tumours cannot be destroyed

by the surgery of time,

or by the poison of betrayal

nor the radiance of hate.





He plays Vivaldi on the cello,

scratches it he says, while I am

cooking green lentils for a salad.


The shadows lengthen in the late afternoon

and from the sun drenched garden the smell

of thyme enters through the open kitchen door


where my cat Lola sits and watches

the gentle breeze sway the cone-like

flowers of the buddleia


from my daughters room I hear

a voice singing in Spanish about

freedom and truth and happiness.



Last night.


Last night my mother cycled through my dream

she wore a ponytail and her blue striped skirt, 

the wind in her back, on her way to the sea.


Up and down the dunes ran the winding path

the silence was broken by the whirr of the wheels 

as she cycled last night through my dream.


And the scream of the vixen, the cry of the owl 

and the shiver of the wind in the pines

as it nudged her on her way to the sea.


And the air was so heavy with her scent

and the path shone like a mirror, the path

on which she cycled through my dream.


I tried to call her but I had no voice

I tried to touch her but I had no hands

as she travelled with the wind to the sea.


I woke in a room full of moonlight 

and the salty smell of the sea, after 

my mother cycled through my dream last night 

in her blue striped skirt, with the wind in her back.




Visiting in the Warneford hospital.


We take our plastic cups of tea

into the common room furnished

pleasantly in yellow and blue

a small fat man sits alone, a grin

splitting his face from ear to ear

aimed at something far away.

Through the window a magnolia

in full flower and someone cries

nearby, muffled and hopeless.

I try to look behind your stony eyes

for what is lost, but you burnt

all the bridges, shut all the gates.



Locked ward


The nurse takes my handbag

and leads us to a barren room.

Fucking cunt you call me, your

eyes impenetrable like pebbles

and you spit in my face.

The flowers I picked in my garden

as an offer of hope seem garish now

their sweet fragrance obscene.

You push them aside.

When you try and attack me

they lead you away.

The nurse says she is sorry.

She isnt very well but we are

keeping her safe, she tells me

as she hands me my bag and

lets me out in the world.



Autumn in Amsterdam.


On the Prinsengracht we sit

and sip our wine, while

all around us copper leaves

perform their dance macabre.

The trams screech to and fro

across the bridge and

the organ grinder, relentless,

turns his wheel


but we are silent

and our eyes don’t meet.


by all the autumns

we didn’t have together,

and now this one

maybe the last for you.


Ode to a beetroot.


Take this globe, this wine-red orb

and, with gentle force, twist off

the crimson stemmed emerald leaves.

These you can cook like spinach or chard.

Now bake the beetroot slowly till tender

When slightly cooled, rub off its skin

and enjoy the soft and slippery smoothness

of the naked flesh beneath.

Slice the beet thickly and place it with mint,

thyme and pepper in a peacock-blue dish

to break through its sweet earthiness

add a grating of ginger. Stir in a spoonful

or two of crème fraiche and cover this bounty

with parmesan cheese then bake it till golden. 


Revisiting aunt Margot


There you sit, surrounded by the pinks

reds and purples of the sixties

your hair, still blonde,

piled high on your head

just as I remember,

and on the walls hang the cubist style

pictures you painted.


You make us coffee

in that red enamel pot

and while we talk about the past

I see that I am still sixteen

in the reflection of your eyes.


For all those years that I travelled

down roads to distant places

you were here keeping

everything the same.



‘Bombus terrestris

in flagrante delicto’


I watched a bumblebee

make love to a poppy,

drunk with her nectar

and the sunlight held

in her scarlet bowl

of ruffled petals,

delirious with pleasure,

he rubbed himself

against her willing

ripe black anthers,

then filled his baskets

with her pollen

and left her to return

to his demanding queen.



Gare du Nord


Looking down on you I saw your hair

was thinning and you were blind

as your tortoise frame glasses reflected

the frozen river coloured sky

there was snow in your beard and

when I kissed you our lips were dead.

Dead. How did we get here?

Where is the heat of the night?

I was glad when the train pulled away

And I could let go of your hand.



3 - Publishing History 

The poem ' Last night ' was published in Off the Coast, an American poetry journal 2009.

'Tidal bore' was one of the poems selected by Andrew Motion to be included in The Art of Love 2005 exhibition, and published in the catalogue.

'Summer' and 'Locked Ward' won the monthly competitions for Liverpool 2008.


4 - Afterword

Email Poetry Kit - info@poetrykit.org    - if you would like to tell us what you think. 

We are looking for other poets to feature in this series, and are open to submissions.  Please send one poem and a short bio to - info@poetrykit.org

Thank you for taking the time to read Caught in the Net.  Our other magazine s are Transparent Words ands Poetry Kit Magazine, which are webzines on the Poetry Kit site and this can be found at -