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”

 

 

 

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.

 

By Gum!

Day 3 of Napowrimo – use rhyming words

 

My resolve I now need to harden
Got the look from my prison warden
Was summoned to tackle the garden
The weeds she sees cannot be pardoned

Before this beautiful day closes
She kindly, thoughtfully proposes
I should prune and cut back the roses
Their fragrance will once more thrill noses
So I’ll summon my strength and amass
The inner strength to mow the long grass
Perhaps I may scrape by on a pass
Though the neighbours compete and outclass
Kneeling weary on two creaky knees
Carpe Diem! This day I will seize
Though I huff and I puff and I wheeze
I’m determined to win by degrees
Such joy now the long winter is done
Mopping my brow I turn to the sun
Need a massage and bath but By Gum!
I came, conquered, I weeded, I won!

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