Not Sorry!

I absolutely loved writing tonight’s poem, I do like a rant and felt thoroughly cleansed after this one. In response to Napowrimo Day 19, write a “not sorry” poem – here it is.

Not Sorry

 

Social distancing from an introspective perspective,

could be considered social rebalancing.

I now appreciate my immediate family more than ever,

when I’m sick they care for me

when I’m hungry they feed me.

when I’m low their hugs lift me.

This is my inner circle, my sanctuary.

So, Mr Fluff from Zero Town, from this day forward

I won’t be putting your needs above mine and my family’s.

Your emails to request X by deadline Y will be deleted.

You are an outsider from the outer circle and let’s be honest

whenever I have satisfied your requests at the expense of time

with my family, you have been grateful for nanoseconds

forgotten it soon after and only remembered me again when

you want something more.

I’m not sorry.

To those in my mid-circle; I love you

But I won’t be making myself ill running around to please both you

and my family. If you love me you’ll understand and not be peeved

if I don’t reply to your posts, comments, invitations, messages, emails

immediately or within your accepted and expected time scale.

I love you but I’m not sorry.

To society at large; if my make-up is not perfect, my “roots” visible

My weight off your chart, my diet lacking,

If I’m not quick enough, not enough – so what?

You are not in any circle of mine, just landscape, background noise.

I’m not sorry.

 

 

Art by Agnes Cecile

You Are

I’m playing catch up on Napowrimo, so here is my response to Day 13 theme “To You”. This is a re-edited version of a poem I wrote years ago. I remember performing it at an open mic night and then it was lost under piles of scribbled notes and abandoned verses. Luckily, it came back to me today when I cleared out a cupboard! I also found two Christmas presents for my children which I’d forgotten I’d hidden there, so we are winners all round today 🙂

You Are

 

You are the sunlit sparkle on a dew dripped rose.

You are the silver shimmer of winter’s sunrise.

You are the soft bamboo chime as the chill wind blows.

You’re the wistful blush of evening’s snow-filled sky.

 

You are the fragile snowdrop who defies the frost.

courageously bursting into the purest bloom.

You are the 5 am bed that after sleepless night

suddenly becomes the deepest, softest cocoon.

 

You are the sense when I struggle to understand.

You are the floppy hat of bohemian style.

You are the light that shines on my moon eclipsed days.

You are the humour that always brings back my smile.

 

You are the comforting hug of my old blue jeans.

You are the incense that calms my turbulent mind.

You are the cool grass between my naked toes.

You’re the treasure it took a lifetime to find.

 

Skimming Stones

I’m completely out of sync with #Napowrimo due to being rudely interrupted by Covid-19 but I think this poem loosely answers the prompt for Day 11 Write a poem about a missed connection (I’ve spun it slightly to the futility of avoiding a connection.

Skimming Stones

 

Like a stone skimming across the water

we glance together

causing only the faintest ripple on the surface

before pulling apart.

Hidden to the rest of the world

but known to us

forces are already in motion.

Drawn back together

again and again

and again.

The distance between us all the time

narrowing.

Both scared of the inevitable

as the stone breaks the surface

plunging into the depths

sinking,

drowning

in

you.

 

 

** Image by Laura Zombie “Drowning In Love”

 

 

 

A Lesson In Victory

#Napowrimo Day 7 – Victory

A Lesson In Victory

 

The Defeat:

“You’ll never make it at Art College.

Others are more talented than you.

Choose something more academic”

Dreams massacred, self-belief brutalised

 

The Wasteland:

30 years passed without paint touching canvas,

Without pastels blending, charcoal shading,

pencils sketching, or clay fired.

A hollow career followed; haunting a soulless

corporate 9-5 graveyard where the dreamless roam.

 

The Victory:

An opportunity presented was seized – carpe diem.

My paintings hang on Art Gallery walls

not Picasso, not Monet, but they hang among artists.

 

The Tragedy:

With education, training (dare I say encouragement?)

would I have trodden a path of art, culture,

of colour, imagination and expression?

 

The Gift (to others):

The truth – if you love it, do it.

Never let a sun set without trying.

 

 

**Image Jonathan Mannion On Capturing ‘Victory & Strength’ For Gucci Mane’s New LP Cover

Expect Miracles

Napowrimo Day 5 using Christina Thatcher’s prompt, based on the poem by Ellen Bass “Relax”: Include the phrase “Bad things will happen.” My thanks to Randy at

https://ethicsbeyondcompliance.com/

for suggesting Christina as an alternative source of prompts for the challenge.

Expect Miracles

 

Is your glass half full or half empty?

To paraphrase, Einstein said your life experience is based

on whether or not you view the Universe as kind.

Growing up, no-one paid much attention to Einstein

in my household, nor the Sufi poets who decreed

“This too will pass.”

My family worked all hours and missed these valuable insights.

Instead, they settled on a twisted, self-limiting prophecy

of their own making:

Expect the worst then anything good that happens is a bonus.

They aspired to nothing more than survival of dark times,

an unquestioning acceptance that bad things will happen.

Ironically, their neglect regularly left me alone with books.

The ability to read allowed me the freedom to choose another path.

Positivity is my conscious choice.

If this is the progress made by one generation,

imagine the possibilities which open up to the next.

To expect miracles? I hope they do.

 

Schooldays in Accrington

Day 2 of Napowrimo – write of a specific place

 

I remember the hypnotic sound of incessant rain

beating against the classroom window on a grey afternoon.

I remember a crate of tinkling milk bottles arriving in class,

each with it’s own paper straw.

I remember the harsh smell of little oblong bars of green soap

in the school toilets.

I remember holding my breath in case the fumes burnt my nostrils

whilst I washed my hands.

I remember rough grey green paper towels.

I remember reading a Ladybird book of Cinderella, she had

two ball gowns, one pink, one blue and at the end of the story

a fairy tale white wedding dress.

I remember wanting real fairy wings and a wand for Christmas.

I remember Julie Hesmondhalgh striding onto stage in a school pantomime

holding everyone transfixed with her booming voice and incredible energy.

I remember wanting to be Wonder Woman, spinning around endlessly

on flagstones outside our corner shop.

I remember being locked in a cemetery late at night, terrified,

with blood pounding in my ears.

I remember living two streets away from Jeanette Winterson.

I remember the hushed whispers in the bookshop as furtive ladies

bought “Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.”

 

Collage

It’s Day #1 of Napowrimo, here is today’s response to the prompt;

 

My life is an ever-evolving collage

writing, painting, cutting, pasting,

shuffling, replacing, editing, re-working

adding more colour, erasing pencil marks,

researching, refining, improving, fine-tuning,

exploring, questioning, discovering, analysing.

A lifelong quest to find answers.

A lifelong quest to understand.

One lifetime is not enough

as hours slip by into days, into weeks, months,

decades….

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.