All About Our Mothers

All About Our Mothers is the collaboration of three poets exploring their relationships with their mothers, and the complex feelings around forgiveness, grief and love.  

A mother walked out on a dad that January, asks for forgiveness on her deathbed and swims through deep dark water. Mothers surprise us by singing when they peel potatoes, by visiting the school wearing only fur and when they punched memories out with truth that splattered the hearth.

Mothers give us lessons by force-feeding us raw eggs, turning into a sea-fish, or seeing us with ears that know exactly what we are up to.   At other times their milk is pink with blood and puss, they live on the moon, an old photograph is a cypher to the future. They leave us with brown-fringed lilies on a broken swing pounding a mixture to create immortality.

Vasiliki Albedo

Vasiliki Albedo's poems have appeared in Anthropocene, AMBIT, Beloit Poetry Journal, Lighthouse Literary Journal, Magma, The Rialto, The Morning Star, Poetry Salzburg Review, Mslexia, Poetry Wales and elsewhere. In 2017, she came second in the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition (EAL) and joint-third in the Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize. Nominated for Pushcart Prizes, Vasiliki was joint-winner in the Guernsey International ‘Poems on Buses’ in 2021, commended in the National Poetry Competition 2018 and the Hippocrates Prize 2021. Fire in the Oubliette was joint-winner of the Live Canon Pamphlet Competition 2020. She is a member of The Crocodile Collective.

Last day


The morphine-drip tides you quiet and I sit on the hospital steps.

Seven years of cancer and still we haven’t reconciled.


How many times I’ve sat on the granite blocks outside

our complex, locked out, not knowing where you are or if


you’re coming back. And when you did, slurring apologies,

I’d wipe your salting makeup, cook you breakfast.


Remember that Christmas when you gave me a shawl for the cold

and a letter from Santa that listed the ways I had upset you?


For days you have been talking to your dead mother.

I overheard your conversations, how you said


you don’t want to leave me, said you can’t forgive me.

I never told you about the neighbour who took me in


when it was raining, made me eggs and gave me keys

to her apartment. How I grew there.


Soon, I will come into the ward, cup your hand,

take the oxygen mask away to let you kiss me.


I love you, I’m sorry echoing between us.

Mary Mulholland

Mary Mulholland’s poems have been widely published in magazines such as AMBIT, Arc, Fenland Poetry Journal, Finished Creatures, High Window, London Grip, Perverse,  Snakeskin, Under the Radar, and in several anthologies. Twice-winner in Poetry Society Members’ competitions, she also won the Momaya Poetry Prize, and been commended or shortlisted in  competitions including AMBIT, Aesthetica, Artlyst, Aryamurti, Bridport, Trim, Wasafiri, Winchester and Live Canon Pamphlet Prize. Mary holds a Newcastle/Poetry School MA in Writing Poetry, co-edits The Alchemy Spoon, runs Red Door Poets and is a founding member of The Crocodile Collective.

Mother’s Child


Mother is a sea-fish, goes deep without knowing

how deep, to her it is natural, it is home.

In her dark places Mother dreams in colour. 

When I ask how she swims through deep dark waters, 

she says, My! what difficult questions you ask, Child.


Mother doesn’t know she’s a fish. 

She is born of people who swam the Atlantic, 

braved high seas, carried on currents and tides, 

ended up on foreign silt, greeted 

by blue butterflies the size of a hand, 

cornflower ribbons in the air. 

Mother likes ribbons and bows.

Once she gave me a ribboned dress

and I refused to wear it.

Oh my! You’re not like me, Child.


Mother knows some fish fly. She fears flying, 

has no wish to try lest a pelican scoops her,

swallows her whole; she keeps deep out of sight.

When I tell her the dilution of salt

in the sea is four times the strength of tears,

she says, Child, the things you think of!


When Mother is still, the century palms

look more vivid on water than on land.

She lives in a heat-haze where nothing is clear or dry.



When I tell her this she says,

My! what nonsense you talk, Child.

And when I ask her why she never calls me 

by the name she gave me, she looks puzzled,

Child is what you’ll always be.

Simon Maddrell

Simon Maddrell was born in the Isle of Man in 1965 and raised in Bolton.  After twenty years in London, he moved to Brighton & Hove in 2020.

He has been published in thirteen anthologies and diverse publications such as AMBIT, Butcher’s Dog, Stand, The New European, Morning Star, Brittle Star, The Dawntreader, Perverse, Long Poem Magazine. Simon was longlisted for the Winchester Poetry Prize, 2021. In 2020, he was first runner-up in the Frogmore Poetry Prize, and longlisted for The Rialto Nature and Place Competition and Poetry London Mentoring Scheme.

Simon’s debut pamphlet, Throatbone, was published by UnCollected Press and Queerfella jointly-won The Rialto Open Pamphlet Competition 2020.



i.m. Kathleen Patricia (Penny) Maddrell


A dark African night

        pierced by an alien ship.

The moon cracked open

        with a rattled breath.


That last lingering look

       past the ice-green curtain.

A cardiac rock grief-split

       the belly, a desert hollow.


The lady at the opera

darkened lipstick washed

       indigo-lipped kiss   

white-faced Penny, our Mum.


       That’s Kathleen Patricia.           


The lady in the morgue

darkened records washed

       opium-lipped kiss

white-faced Mum, our Penny.


Their last living look, long

       past their bedside guilt

       her cardiac rock lung-split.

The green-cloaked death secrets


       on a dark Somerset ward.

Pierced by a fatal drip

       the moon promise cracked

       with a rattled breath.