Invisible Ribbons was a long time in the making. I first started writing it in 1998, inspired by a photograph of my family which sat on the desk in my uniform room in halls of residence. Back then it rhymed and was pretty longwinded, but it did meet the criteria I'd set myself - to reinforce that a family is still a family, whether or not it is complete, and that the person no longer alive is no less a part of it.
I rewrote the poem for a competition in 2012, completely changing all of it but for the theme and a few key images. It somehow felt more honest, especially after eliminating the rhyme. It didn't win the competition, but the poem definitely benefitted from this reworking.
So when I saw the call for Bear the Pall (which at that time was an unnamed collection) in September 2014, it seemed Invisible Ribbons would be the perfect fit. Sally K. Lehman, editor of the anthology, responded very quickly saying it had been chosen for print. I was delighted that such a personal piece was to be published, especially alongside the work of other writers who had experienced the loss of a parent.
The anthology is diverse, with the overriding theme of bereavement the only common denominator. Writers from far-flung countries, all with a different story, being part of the same publication - this is where anthologies come into their own.
I am extremely proud of Invisible Ribbons. I know my Dad would be too.
You can buy Bear the Pall from Amazon UK or Amazon US.