The Sycamore Prince Returns

Today is a momentous day for me. Today is the first time as a member of the Write Out Loud Poetry Group Stockport, that I feel accomplished. Not through being published, not through any quality of poem produced but… to be able to pull out of my bag a poem previously written and read, re-edited and rejuvenated.  You may think this unremarkable, but allow me to explain. In the last two years of joining the group, I have been running to keep up. Each meeting a theme is set and we have a month to write a poem ready to read at the next meeting. I have always been envious of those poets who can say, “I may have read this before, it’s one a wrote a while back.” This month, with the publication of my new children’s Picture Book “The Fixer Man” (shameless plug – I’m sorry!)  I haven’t had the hours needed to write a poem for the group…but I do have “one I have read before, one I wrote a while back” and there you have it… I have now reached the point where I have my own back catalogue of poems, which I can delve into and pull out when called upon. I feel I’ve earned my stripes, done my time, passed my test, graduated into poetry. Today is a good day.

 

The Sycamore Prince Returns

 

Each year impatient for his return

marking time until the majestic moment arrives.

In a shaft of pure light, when reverent air lies still

on a soft whisper he comes.

 

The Autumnal Prince towers

above ethereal mists caught

between earth and sky.

His slender ebony limbs outstretched beneath

the canopy of his golden crown.

 

A silvery sun showers him in sparks

igniting flaming hues.

Baptised in fire a volcanic blaze erupts

burning with vibrant life,

copper passions and saffron embers smoulder.

 

But one who burns so bright cannot stay,

his reign fleeting.

Cool light fades. Cruel chill winds blow

loosening the desperate grip of his fragile hands.

I mourn each yellow fingered leaf

as it falls and returns to its roots.

His glory too quickly lost.

 

Cast into wintry shadows,

our dreams left to sleep for a season.

sycamore

Picture Book Perfect- Tiny Tree Titles — My Shelves are Full – reviews The Fixer Man

Thank you to My Shelves Are Full, for this wonderful review of The Fixer Man, there’s no better gift to an author than to post a review, many, many thanks x

I love Tiny Tree books, they are publishing fun, colourful and engaging books. These three are top of my list! This is a lovely book, it features a heart warming story, gorgeous illustrations and a rhythmic rhyming text. The fixer man lives alone fixing broken items with a clang, bang,fizz. When he finds a nest […]

via Picture Book Perfect- Tiny Tree Titles — My Shelves are Full

I know how JK Rowling must have felt…

I know how JK Rowling must have felt…

 

when she first heard the musical score to her Harry Potter film.

I’ve always wondered how it must feel to not only have your novel published, or to have global success, but to hear an orchestra play the theme tune encompassing the landscape and emotions of your story.

As a fan of the Halle Orchestra, I’m always moved when I hear John Williams’ “Hedwig’s Theme” and its magical melody cut through the reverent silence of The Bridgewater Hall. To be the author of the story and hear the music must be of another dimension entirely.

But now I have had a brief glimpse into this emotional experience.

This morning, as I drove into work, I turned on the CD player and listened to a track composed in response to a poem I wrote entitled “Wild Horses”. The ludicrously talented surrealist painter, composer and polymath Mark Sheeky has composed, performed, illustrated and created the CD “Music Of Poetic Objects” and there on track 6 is my lowly poem transformed into captivating music.

Earlier this year, my poetry group Write Out Loud based at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery, collaborated with the resident Art’s Guild and with Mark, to create an exhibition of Ekphrasis Towers. Put very simply, the poets wrote poems based on objects they had a special attachment to, the sculptors and painters of the Guild then created works of art based upon the poems. The poets then wrote more poems in response to the sculptures and paintings thereby building a “tower”. Finally, Mark selected objects and poems to compose music to.

I was honoured when one of my poems was selected and also intrigued to hear what Mark would produce based on feelings evoked by the poems “condensed and re-expressed” When I was handed the CD with its beautiful cover artwork and booklet pages, I was amazed at its elegance, although this shouldn’t have been a surprise.

Write Out Loud had previously been asked by Mark to take part in his 21st Century Surrealism Exhibition. We wrote poems based on Mark’s paintings without knowing the title or inspiration for each piece. We wrote “blind,” if you like. This was our first venture into Ekphrastic poetry as a group and an experience that generated such excitement and enthusiasm we knew we would have to explore the activity more. Mark’s artwork is so dramatic yet sensitive, so bold yet with woven with intricate subtleties, it was a pleasure to study his work in such detail. Having the freedom to express emotions generated and imagined backstories to the origins was incredibly liberating and inspiring.

So although heard through my modest car speakers, whilst embroiled in a hellish commute, rather than sitting in a luxurious orchestral hall, time stood still and I was held captivated. The traffic melted away, the grey tarmac disappeared and for that brief 5 minutes a Savannah sunset appeared with hooves thundering across a desert plain, dust flying and hearts beating. It was a dream come true, an ambition realised as my thoughts transferred to another and were expressed anew. Definitely an “other-world” experience. Mark I cannot thank you enough for the pleasure you have brought.

I look forward to future collaborations which I do hear whispered within the Art Gallery halls…

zebra stampede

Wild Horses

A wind borne scent triggers primal instincts.

Survival screams through constricted veins

hooves thunder, pulses race

legs tangle in the stampede.

Disembodied by adrenaline they run

across the Savannah Plain

aware if caught, they may ascend to the next.

A black and white dust cloud rises

against a burning umber backdrop.

Wild horses pray

this sunset wont be their last

 

Music Of Poetic Objects by Mark Sheeky is available from his website via this link: Music Of Poetic Objects

For more information about Write Out Loud please visit their website @ write out loud

Special thanks also to John Keane Ekphrastic Towers Exhibition Curator for “herding cats” whilst gathering poems from the poets and to Katherine Rosati of Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery for her endless energy in coordinating events.

 

You can do it

Never give up on what you love – a short story of hope.

When I first made the decision to write, more precisely to write a Children’s Picture Book, I set to it with great passion, words flowed easily, naturally and instinctively. I knew what I wanted to write, I knew my character, I knew his story (I lived with him!). I trusted myself.

Once written, I read it to friends and family who enjoyed it and I trusted them. I was very happy with what I’d produced and so set out to discover how to find a publisher. I did what everyone does when you don’t know something – I Googled.

I read up on the subject, I studied tutorials, I absorbed tips and techniques.  Quite confident that I had a suitable letter and short biography and I’d followed each of the Publisher’s submission guidelines, I sent out 5 manuscripts (my story) to 5 publishers and immediately received 5 rejection letters.

However, I had read Stephen King’s autobiographical piece that said he received hundreds of rejections before having his first book accepted. I had also heard an author tell of how she celebrated each and every rejection as a mark that she’d tried.

With this sage advice in mind, I acknowledged that I needed to hone my craft and learn more about writing and the publishing process. This is where I also learned of writer’s having doubt, insecurities and anxieties either when writing or after submission. I ploughed on.

It wasn’t long after, on a writing workshop, that I wrote a new story and sent it off the next day to a Publisher. This time it was accepted and I had a contract for my first Picture Book. It was a time of elation and celebration.

The following year was a whirlwind as I learned what was involved when launching and supporting the marketing and sales for a new book. I was well travelled, worked hard and at one point exhausted, yet still riding on the thrill of becoming an author.

It’s a year on and I’ve continued my studies and learning from others, I enjoy every minute. An email arrived last week asking me to call at the Publishers for a chat and I am delighted to say they are publishing my second Children’s Picture Book. Only, it isn’t my second book, it’s the story I wrote that day furiously, passionately, instinctively, the day I decided to write.

The story that was initially rejected is now being published. The trust I had in my friends and family who liked it, the trust I had in myself is justified.  Why am I telling you this, because sometimes we rely on experts and other people’s opinions too much. We too easily lose faith in ourselves. We don’t put up much of a fight in the face of disappointment. It’s easy to believe we aren’t good enough. Well don’t. Have faith, have confidence, and have belief. You are good enough, you can do it.

Never give up on what you enjoy and love. It will reward you one day.

The Fickle Hypocrite

It’s Day 30, the final day of Napowrimo, 30 poems in 30 days. I may have let a few slip, I was busy living so I have experiences to write about. I’ve enjoyed the challenge and I’ve hated the challenge, I’ve found it easy, I’ve found it difficult. The objective of writing every day has been achieved and I feel better for it. My grey matter has been exercised and stretched.

In true hypocritical and fickle style, after two days of ranting and protesting about form, I’ve attempted a Haiku. No doubt the purist academics will point out where I tried and missed, (the last line may be a scandalous 6 syllables?) but that’s never stopped me doing what I want. I’ve also written the same poem in my “unclassical” way. The prompt; “a poem that is quite short, and that doesn’t really try to tell a story, but to quickly and simply capture an image or emotion.”  (and yes I told a story because I am a storyteller)

I Dream of Devon (Rickety Haiku)

 

Steam train whistle blows

Sea breeze, tugging kite, baked sand

Rockpool discovery.

 

I Dream of Devon (My Way)

 

Steam train whistle

Sea breeze

Tugging kite

Baked sand

Cool drink

Rockpool discovery

Melting Ice cream

Carefree laughter

Salty kisses

Devon

 

My Poor Abused Friend – Poetry

In youth, you were hypnotic, inviting reciting,

invocation with intonation,

around a campfire charms and incantations

uniting the village, outlet of emotion,

stories told of heroic devotion

conquering enemies, stealing love’s kiss

of purest love, of Heaven’s bliss.

but academia tied a knot ‘round your neck

restricting your voice, removing choice

cutting, shaping, controlling, conforming,

boxing your soul into stanzas and form

with counted metre they drove the stake home

Elitists emerged declaring “this is the way”

confining performance to plays and stage

in plush theatres for the rich who paid

the poor

left out in the cold.

Heralded as art your heart lay dormant

amongst dust and cobwebs still conformant

but a spirited few saw through, sought out

your cindered Beauty; “Truth will out”.

and so your time has come, it’s now.

the yoke that choked is smashed and broken

words are alive and passionately spoken

your energy taken up by a youth, who

taste and chew the new true you,

the devout, who speak out, shout out, call out,

slam down, throw down,

giving the low down,

honouring

your crown,

standing on streets, stamping feet to your beat

whilst denouncing cheats who held you

captive.

You are once more free to be

unleashed beauty

with depth of sea , height of sky

asking why

of you and me, bearing souls,

uncovering truth

appealing to old whilst captivating youth

not held to a page or strapped to a stage

accessible to all, who hear your call

hearts open wide allow you inside,

bring darkness to light,

revealing scars and bites,

what lies beneath, wounds and grief

making sense of confusion, turmoil and pain

and through you

we discover

we are all the same.

Poetry Unleashed

Day 28 of NApowrimo – 28 poems written and the end is nigh…today’s prompt was to write a poem about poetry “try your hand at a meta-poem of your own”. Here is my rant about archaic rules… I may even publish a second because I’m completely fired up, but for now here is

Poetry Unleashed

Who applied mathematics to literature?

Who dared degrade lines to a vile number count?

Who callously ripped out the soul to insert regularity?

Iambic Pentameter you are a satanic curse infecting creativity.

You leave me cold, my blood stilled.

You bind my hands and feet with rigidity.

Your condescending eye watches over my choice of phrase.

Know that you are not welcome in my world of dreams,

my moments of emotional outpouring.

My self-analysis has no need of your stuffy laws.

When I lower my defences to release pent up anger,

remorse, heartache or hurt, revealing scars

never before uncovered,

when I flood the page with deep sentiment,

boundless praise of nature’s beauty,

when I proclaim my love of the one I adore

or worship my children, professing eternal gratitude

for being so blessed,

do I need your calculated condemnation?

Do I need your bony finger pointing out inconsistent

decrepit

syllable counts or misplaced emphasis?

No! Close the door on your way out!

You are old and decrepit, redundant and impotent.

You shall not haunt my page. Be gone.

Lie down in your cold grave and let the living write poetry.

Bumfuzzled

I awoke bumfuzzled from a terrible dream.

My bed clothes cattywampus through

my incessant tossing and turning.

Of course re-telling it now, the dream would seem

pure taradiddle, but I tell it to steady my nerves:

A young man hollered gardyloo from a window above

before throwing a bucket of slops into the street.

A lady oblivious to the warning was drenched as a result.

In a state of ill-willie she yelled billingsgate at the man.

They faced off and from there it escalated to the point

that a snickersnee threatened.

I tried to flee from the scene, running widdershins.

I had severe collywobbles from sheer terror.

Luckily, the pair disappeared (as they tend to do in dreams)

but now I came upon a  smashed clock tower

with its gubbins hanging out!

A friendly clockmaker fixed it and we were conjubilant

to hear it chime on the hour with precision.

This coincided with my alarm clock ringing, rousing me from slumber.

Needless to say, I was not well-rested.

clock gubbins

Day 24 and the Napowrimo prompt asks: Locate a dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopedia, open it at random, and consider the two pages in front of you to be your inspirational playground for the day. Maybe a strange word will catch your eye, or perhaps the mishmash of information will provide you with the germ of a poem.

Without dictionary or encyclopedia to hand I googled “word of the day” and fell upon Merrium-Webster’s funny-sounding words. I quite enjoyed this.

 

 

The Silent Protest; Procrastination

The Silent Protest; Procrastination

 

Apparently low self-esteem is the cause

that darn inner chimp’s at it again.

I don’t feel worthy or up to the task

when it’s overwhelming, too much of an ask

so I distract my feeble brain.

 

tidy

I choose to re-arrange, to sort, to file,

to categorise, to wash, dry and fold

to put off the job I’m loathe to do

(you may even find me cleaning the loo!)

whilst the larger task stays on hold

 

I beat myself up, notice I’m hiding away

from a deadline that’s looming larger each day

my brain is prioritising short term wins

an alphabetised spice rack and emptied bins

as I wash the pots and put away.

 

The answer: to forgive myself, releasing pent up emotion

the specialists say the result will be

facing the future optimistically

being the best I can possibly be

propulsion into forward motion

 

Another tactic is a sideways manoeuvre

sneaking up when my cranium’s not looking:

To ponder and pontificate on the what would be

Ask myself quite casually

“What would my next move actually be

if I were to start this project, of course hypothetically

because I’m not actually going to do it, silly”

 

Psychologists at a University in Ohio

formed a Procrastination Research Group

They delved and discovered this theory, this truth

Of taking oneself out of the no-go loop

Of getting on and doing what is needed to do.

 

Did they quickly arrive at this conclusion?

or did it take them a while?

I wonder how tidy their shelves are,

if their papers are chronologically filed?

(I’d like to see if their rest room gleams)

I ask with a sceptical wry smile.

 

Day 17 of Napowrimo- I completely missed out Day 16 (I love my kids more than poetry. Sorry! ) and now I have gone off piste with this one…. but it’s apt. Procrastination, my favourite past time.

46

I’m 46 for goodness sake!

Where did those years go?

I was 20 only yesterday

full of vigour and gusto.

I’m closer to the grave

than the cradle which is mad

I haven’t even started yet

wasted youth is pitifully sad.

I should have sailed around the world

raising Hell everyday

been a rock star filling stadiums

instead of shuffling life away.

But had I been that rock chic

I’d never have met my man

or held my babies in my arms

and heard them call me Mam.

But Bloody Hell, I’m not ready!

for wrinkles and support tights

I’ll not go gently into bingo halls

and fade into goodnight.

So crack open the Southern Comfort

add a splash of coke

there’s still life left in this old girl

before I finally croak.

Drink up and let’s be merry

raise a glass or two

to living our lives fully

before we bid adieu.