My first post for a long while, sorry for the wait but life has been very strange for many of us. I wish and hope you’re all safe and well and things look brighter in a Spring of hope. I wanted to bring you some more of my own work, both in the hope of entertaining you but also to inspire me to write more.
I still regular post on Twitter ( @lostperci if you’re interested ) but I’ve neglected the creation of longer pieces for a while. Here’s three of the newer ones I did write together with some photos from my own collection around the theme of new things, enjoy!
The puddle’s frozen over right to the bottom, though now it’s covered with snow
Lost in a white landscape but it’s there, underneath a white blanket, safe and well
Ice under snow, waiting frozen, maybe in time too patient expecting a thaw, sometime
The birds used to come and drink sometimes, take a bath fluttering feathers, splashing
A toddler in wellies might run just to jump in the middle for the fun of the noise and spray
Does it remember? when the ice thaws again? Can it dream those feathers, those feet?
Be well puddle, under the snow, come back when you feel the world is once again ready.
There’s a couple of poems next that look at sadness. It happens sometimes that what you feel resonates with others or vice versa. There’s also a ‘preachy’ element here because I dislike people who being told to hide their emotions, cover up, be strong. It’s important to acknowledge what you’re feeling. Covering up or bottling up are both bad for your mental health. Those feelings come for a reason.
A night for tears, not in a bad way though just a time to open the gates, let the water flow before it breeches the dam.
Safety valve for the heart, release from the pressures that life presses down on us. To let the grief free.
Music, of memories, of nostalgia of times spent laughing, loving crying even, those tunes, songs
Let it go, let it pass, don’t hold it in the heart to darken the future make time, to let yourself heal
cry, sob, weep, be the lake, that let’s the water flow away, that you might live and love again, without regret, without the dark, free.
it’s just that sometimes I do find I can’t speak about the things I really want to say to you, I wall up the feelings, pent them behind a huge dam simply because, there’s so many cracks in the dam and I feel, if I let go the words I really want to say, the rush will start, the cracks will widen and the dam give way flooding the land downstream of the great lake of emotions I’ve shored up against due to not dealing with my past when some others took great pickaxes to my heart and made the holes that widened and widened to the point where I don’t feel like I control the flood anymore and it could all flood out and drown anything you might feel in a rush
Seeking skilled engineer, to repair damage of years must be talented and gentle and smile a lot
Back to normal for this month’s presentation. Some classic poems, some of my work and some images. This month’s theme is Autumn, naturally. I love the changing of the seasons in the UK. Autumn often begins with late sunshine as the plums, cherries and various berries all ripen. Spring blossom leads to Autumn nuts. Animals are active, storing up food or preparing hibernation quarters. The birds begin to look to the South and the long migration. We’ll start this time with a poem by John Clare, a poet close to the land and to nature. Born in 1793 in the village if Helpston, near Peterborough, Clare was the son of a farm labourer. He is now recognised as one of the foremost poets, particularly on nature subjects. This poem is a hymn to Autumn with lovely images:
I love the fitful gusts that shakes The casement all the day And from the mossy elm tree takes The faded leaf away Twirling it by the window-pane With thousand others down the lane
I love to see the shaking twig Dance till the shut of eve The sparrow on the cottage rig Whose chirp would make believe That spring was just now flirting by In summers lap with flowers to lie I love to see the cottage smoke Curl upwards through the naked trees The pigeons nestled round the coat On dull November days like these The cock upon the dung-hill crowing The mill sails on the heath a-going The feather from the ravens breast Falls on the stubble lea The acorns near the old crows nest Fall pattering down the tree The grunting pigs that wait for all Scramble and hurry where they fall
John Clare, 1993 – 1864
My own pieces are from my Twitter poetry again so no titles, uses up characters! The first piece was inspired by looking out of the window one morning a few weeks back and seeing the first mist of Autumn. Autumn mists are magical for me, they usually burn off by midday and often herald fine, clear, crisp days. Older readers may catch the ‘frolicking’ reference from a famous song!
Autumn mists have arrived bringing a song of change time for frolicking, last dances before the ice comes again and we huddle together to watch the snowfall and write poems of warmth Autumn mists have arrived
I picked up fallen leaves counting them as I did I laid them on the grass spelling your name but a bird, a magpie I think? picked one leaf up and flew away I found another soon enough but I like to think he gave that other leaf to a wandering albatross who flew with it the many miles to you
We’ll finish with one of the most famous English poets, William Blake, famed for visionary and fantastic pieces like ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Tiger, Tiger’, Blake also wrote about the beauty of nature and this piece is a lovely evocation of Autumn:
O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain’d With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit Beneath my shady roof; there thou may’st rest, And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe, And all the daughters of the year shall dance! Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.
‘The narrow bud opens her beauties to The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins; Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve, Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing, And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head.
‘The spirits of the air live in the smells Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.’ Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat, Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.
This entry revisits the theme of nature which I’ve covered before. I’m just presentingmy own work again though, mainly from Twitter. I’ve been thinking a lot about nature lately. I’m an old hippy with Wiccan leanings so nature has always been a big part of my life. I love the changing of the seasons here in the UK, the changing face of nature in all her glory. The people I connect with on Twitter are mainly interested in love so combining love poems and nature seems to be the way to go! I hope you enjoy these offerings. I’ve included a few more ‘three word poems’ again, from the lovely Jami’s prompts. It’s good for the brain to think of three words which can evoke an image, thought or dream.
Tangled in the trees our hero struggles in the thorns and branches but he glimpses a golden line of verse and understanding, he follows the thread as the words flow until he reaches the calm center where she sits, beloved of the Green Mother child of the trees ever seeking love
Poem of light <->
Walking on the shore the winds carried your heart to me, over the seas so I wrote a poem, of love and passion, heart and soul music and words and folded a paper boat from the paper, set it sailing on the wide ocean with a prayer to reach you safely this poem is just for you
A bird flew in and stayed. I thought for a while it couldn’t get out but the way was clear, it wanted to stay inside my heart and sing it’s name. It’s you, isn’t it? Welcome to my heart, please stay.
Soul storm reaching
In the infinite streams of time a poet once wrote verses so lovely that they took form, became real and she walked amongst us beautiful as a sunrise gentle as cherry blossom kind, caring, loving and full of absolute grace an angel descended a spirit of the heart but because her soul was poetry, she creates wonderful verse, moving lines words that bring dreams and she lives amongst us still gives us the gift of her soul music
This month’s blog entry was inspired by two things. A lovely friend suggested it was time I did another compendium of my own work. I have also been writing poetry on Twitter, mostly around the theme of love. The Twitter poetry community is quite vibrant and active, well worth investigating. There is also Twitter #hashtag (a way of searching out subjects on social media) which is for people to create poems of just three words. Search for #3wordspoet if you would like to read some ofthe wonderful creations. I’ve scattered conventional poems and three word poems through this blog. The writing community on Twitter includes fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drame, well worth a look! The poems I’ve included don’t have titles (the character limits on Twitter encourage brevity). We’ll start with a #3wordspoet line followed by a more conventional piece to give you the idea.
Willing the conclusion
You gently wrap the music of heaven in the words of your poetry, choosing the part that fits the melody and the music that you create with your own fair hand plays the strings of my heart in a way, no one else ever could or has
Chasing water falls
The sound comes as the air changes then the rhythm the pattern as sound beats on the open reach a hand out and the drops come welcome as a lover’s touch soft as as a fairy kiss watch the fall listen to the music of rain as it falls smell the smell of after the rain blessed rain
Blessing of rain <->
If I owned a river I’d set it by some trees maybe a mountain at the back I’d make a waterfall so that the music of the water could serenade you and cool your legs We could picnic and maybe hold hands and watch the stars as they appear My river would be my song to you
Silent song playing
If I wait for you it’s not that I lurk if I write for you it’s not to seek attention if I play and sing for you it’s not to show my prowess it’s that when you smile or laugh or sing or speak my heart skips a beat and the world is golden once more
If you stumble a hand will catch you weary, a shoulder to lay your head on sadness and lips will kiss the tears away cold, and a cloak will wrap you in loving embrace hungry and ambrosia will be there for you lost and a light will guide you all this, yours, for a smile
You dream I <->
I walked to the water until my feet were covered waves lapping at my skin from the emotions you poured into the ocean with your thoughts. Surf, like passion bubbling and breaking around me, kisses of fleeting touch, touch of caring hand, hands holding mine, across seas untold.
Loves butterfly touch
When the day piles on my soul when the darkness comes when hope is furthest from my stretching hand I listen to your voice speaking verses of love and a rainbow parts the clouds over my heart to let the light back Bless you always for being for caring for sharing for love
Of all the colours of the whole creation your eyes are made of the one I love most I dream of them I live in hope of them looking into mine with the passion of stars
I heard your voice first time, this time and the vision came in an instant, your eyes your lips, your touch, ears hear only you skin feels only you and the stars turn only at your wish heat and passion emotion and dream you fill all my senses Speak your verses again, Please?
Touched by her
I found our dream place A waterfall and stream to give us music Green all around, for peace Trees that wave, in time with hearts A mossy mound, to be our couch Wild animals, that come to share the glow of you that ignites me The place in my dream where I touch your face, in love.
Feelings are awoken
Now, open your eyes hold it gently, it’s my heart I give it to you, for your song
[The last piece was inspired by this lovely artwork by the wonderful @PhaedraPeer]
I hope you enjoyed some of this collection. Please do check out Twitter as a source of poetry, some excellent work appearing there. You can find me there at @lostperci too! I’ve divided the audio versions of the poems into five parts so as not to overload anyone!
Visions, dreams, messages from beyond. All have been fruitful subjects for poets and artists across the ages. Some of the most famous poems in the English language are concerned with dreams and visions. I’ve presented a small number here but there are many more. Our most well-known poets seem to want to tackle the subject of visions or the things they see in dreams. We’ll start with a new poet to me, the US writer Langston Hughes. Novelist, playwright, poet, social activist and journalist, Hughes was one of the first of the so-called ‘jazz poets’. This piece is more of a classic style though and very meaningful. Keep those dreams alive.
Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow.
Langston Hughes, 1902 – 1967
I added an extra piece this month. I couldn’t have an entry on visions and dreams without the Nightingale. One of the most famous poems in the English Language. It’s a reasonably long piece so I have just included the first verse. Please, please, I implore you, go read the full piece though.
Ode to a nightingale
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk: ‘Tis not through envy of thy happy lot, But being too happy in thine happiness,— That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees In some melodious plot Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
John Keats, 1795 – 1821
My own poem this time was partly inspired by a famous song, hinted at in the first line. It was also written after reading some wonderful poems by the lovely Zaynab who writes and retweets startlinglygood poems on her Twitter account ( @Zaynab71990 ). This poem reflects the dreams I often have. I feel I may be a traveller in my blood (my Father and Uncle both served in the Royal and Merchant navies respectively and I’ve always loved the sea).
Eyes closed vision
Visions softly creeping, as it told in the song, on walls and in halls. A journey, bus, train, feet flying with my own wings. It varies. Through the mountains, by the sea, in the air. A vision of journeys. One thing is constant, you. Travelling with you, travelling to see you, waving as you travel. Hands held, arms around, lips touching, head on shoulder. Always, when I wake, I smile. You’re real, in visions. Dreamed one.
We’ll finish with a dream in a song. This is a very famous piece from an opera written in the late 1700’s early 1800’s. A song of a girl who dreams of better things but only if her love can be there too. Her love is more important than riches (as it should be).
The Gypsy Girl’s Dream
I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls, With vassals and serfs at my side, And of all who assembled within those walls, That I was the hope and the pride. I had riches too great to count, could boast Of a high ancestral name; But I also dreamt, which pleased me most, That you lov’d me still the same… That you lov’d me, you lov’d me still the same, That you lov’d me, you lov’d me still the same.
I dreamt that suitors sought my hand; That knights upon bended knee, And with vows no maiden heart could withstand, They pledg’d their faith to me; And I dreamt that one of that noble host Came forth my hand to claim. But I also dreamt, which charmed me most, That you lov’d me still the same… That you lov’d me, you lov’d me still the same, That you lov’d me, you lov’d me still the same.
A blog about people seems a broad topic. I have covered people-watching before but this entry seeks to present poems and art about people, rather than our watching of them. I start with a longer piece than I normally present, by a master writer. WB Yeats wrote words with power, with meaning, with emotion. He’s one of my favourite poets and I encourage people to read more. The things he wrote can be hard, difficult but the way he expresses them is as an artist of words.
‘What have I earned for all that work,’ I said, ‘For all that I have done at my own charge? The daily spite of this unmannerly town, Where who has served the most is most defaned, The reputation of his lifetime lost Between the night and morning. I might have lived, And you know well how great the longing has been, Where every day my footfall Should have lit In the green shadow of Ferrara wall; Or climbed among the images of the past — The unperturbed and courtly images — Evening and morning, the steep street of Urbino To where the Duchess and her people talked The stately midnight through until they stood In their great window looking at the dawn; I might have had no friend that could not mix Courtesy and passion into one like those That saw the wicks grow yellow in the dawn; I might have used the one substantial right My trade allows: chosen my company, And chosen what scenery had pleased me best. Thereon my phoenix answered in reproof, ‘The drunkards, pilferers of public funds, All the dishonest crowd I had driven away, When my luck changed and they dared meet my face, Crawled from obscurity, and set upon me Those I had served and some that I had fed; Yet never have I, now nor any time,
Complained of the people.’ All I could reply Was: ‘You, that have not lived in thought but deed, Can have the purity of a natural force, But I, whose virtues are the definitions Of the analytic mind, can neither close The eye of the mind nor keep my tongue from speech.’ And yet, because my heart leaped at her words, I was abashed, and now they come to mind After nine years, I sink my head abashed.
William Butler Yeats, 1865 – 1939
My own piece this time has appeared in this blog before but it was a long time ago. My excuse is that I didn’t record an audio reading of it. Besides, it fits the topic nicely and it’s one of my own poems that I actually like!
A Song in the Making Vivid blue hair, with a red feather, jauntily tied on the left. Holding, half a giant pair of scissors. A scissor maybe? Red scissor with gnarled grips. She looks around, searching, for a face? A look? Maybe for the other half of the scissor? She swings Doc Martined feet, as she seeks, the pivot of her meaning. The hinge of all things. Alone in a bus station pretending to be a rail station. Waiting for a bus that’s pretending to be a train. While electrification is done, the current takes precedence over us. So she waits, with us, with blue hair, feather, boots and scissor. Like a folk song, waiting to happen.
We’ll finish with a poem which is the mirror of mine. This piece is about how people see the author. Jenny Joseph was from Birmingham, UK and worked as a journalist for many years after studying English Literature. ‘Warning’ is one of the most popular poems in the UK. This is a manifesto for her, a defiance of convention and an expression of who she is. I love these words as a model for life.
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me. And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter. I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells And run my stick along the public railings And make up for the sobriety of my youth. I shall go out in my slippers in the rain And pick flowers in other people’s gardens And learn to spit. You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat And eat three pounds of sausages at a go Or only bread and pickle for a week And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes. But now we must have clothes that keep us dry And pay our rent and not swear in the street And set a good example for the children. We must have friends to dinner and read the papers. But maybe I ought to practice a little now? So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
Psychiatry proves that laughter or even just smiling improves our health. Less stress, lower blood pressure, less anxiety. I’ve always loved comedy and jokes but I also laugh just for sheer pleasure sometimes. A stunning view, splashing in the sea, finding an interesting creature in a rock pool, all produce smiles.
Poetry and comedy have a complex relationship, sometimes sneered at, sometimes neglected, comic verse seems to survive. Spike Milligan was a genius at all forms of comedy but his poems have a lovely, simple pleasure to them as in this piece about a poor Grandma:
Through every nook and every cranny The wind blew in on poor old Granny Around her knees, into each ear (And up her nose as well, I fear)
All through the night the wind grew worse It nearly made the vicar curse The top had fallen off the steeple Just missing him (and other people)
It blew on man, it blew on beast It blew on nun, it blew on priest It blew the wig off Auntie Fanny- But most of all, it blew on Granny!
Spike Milligan, 1918 – 2002
My own piece this time came from a big smile at the antics of a Springer Spaniel outside my home. He was such a busy, happy individual, sniffing at everything and tail wagging fit to knock him off his own feet. It reminded me of times I’ve spent smiling and laughing at the simplest things. I think, as children, we laugh more easily and find delight in many small things. Some adults lose that ability and that’s a huge shame. I try to keep the attitude of that Springer Spaniel, interested in everything, finding wonders everywhere.
It does you good
When the dog licked my face, I laughed. Grandad did giant steps for me, as I laughed. Coasted down the hill, to the rail station, on my bike, singing a song and I laughed.
I danced with Leigh, spun us around and I laughed for the joy of it. Stuart’s Park, my rocket flies up to the moon, the parachute works, I laughed. My Sister and me, dangling teddy from the bedroom window and laughing. Dog and me, playing in the river, pretending to swim, while we laughed.
Sometimes I laugh a lot, even now.
We’ll finish this month with one of the first poems I ever encountered. Edward Lear wrote some lovely pieces with such imagination. These words linger in my memories even after all these years and still make me smile:
The Owl and the Pussycat
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful pea-green boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five-pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang to a small guitar, “O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are, You are! What a beautiful Pussy you are!”
Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl! How charmingly sweet you sing! O let us be married! too long we have tarried: But what shall we do for a ring?” They sailed away, for a year and a day, To the land where the Bong-Tree grows And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood With a ring at the end of his nose, His nose, His nose, With a ring at the end of his nose.
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.” So they took it away, and were married next day By the Turkey who lives on the hill. They dined on mince, and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon; And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, They danced by the light of the moon, The moon, The moon, They danced by the light of the moon.
This month’s theme is ‘uplifting’. Big or small, the things that make your heart soar, raise a smile, make things alright again, put the World right, even if only for a while. I was partly inspired to this theme by looking out of the window last week and seeing the sunlight on Winter Hill, just to the North of me. The colours were amazing and I had to just stand and look for a while. We sometimes don’t take time to appreciate what’s around us, what’s right with our lives, what’s special. Just today, I was uplifted by the sight of a daffodil blooming, a puppy wagging his tail and the daisies spreading over a football field.
We’ll start with a poem by the inspirational Maya Angelou, she has uplifted many with her words but here, talks about love. The title is so apt:
Touched by an Angel
We, unaccustomed to courage exiles from delight live coiled in shells of loneliness until love leaves its high holy temple and comes into our sight to liberate us into life.
Love arrives and in its train come ecstasies old memories of pleasure ancient histories of pain. Yet if we are bold, love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity In the flush of love’s light we dare be brave And suddenly we see that love costs all we are and will ever be. Yet it is only love which sets us free.
Maya Angelou , 1928 – 2014
My piece this month is a sort of statement about who I am. It came out of a writing exercise by the wonderful Kate Clanchy. I’ve always been a hippy. I love to learn about other ideas, other ways of living, other explanations of the universe too. At the heart of it all however, is music and nature (and dogs!).
Oh! teapots, guitar strings, furry dogs. Nice pens, blanket dens, books that talk to me, soft tunes, melodies, singing of stars. Healers, squealers, wheelers in the dance of life.
Don’t line me up, with the aspirants or chiefs. Put me down as ‘not knowingly orderly’. Brownian, get downian, lover of the beat. Gift me a flower, not picked but alive, and when the dance is done, and all the songs are sung, walk with me in the moonlight, hand in hand and listen, with me, to the water flowing past.
Hug a tree, with me.
I began this entry by telling you about light on a hill. It seems appropriate to finish with light too. A wonderful piece by one of my favourite poets and writers, Rabindranath Tagore. Talking of light and love, butterflies and flowers, Tagore evokes joy with every line. I wish you smiles and happiness wherever you can find them. Be safe and well.
Light, my light, the world-filling light, the eye-kissing light, heart-sweetening light!
Ah, the light dances, my darling, at the center of my life; the light strikes, my darling, the chords of my love; the sky opens, the wind runs wild, laughter passes over the earth.
The butterflies spread their sails on the sea of light. Lilies and jasmines surge up on the crest of the waves of light.
The light is shattered into gold on every cloud, my darling, and it scatters gems in profusion.
Mirth spreads from leaf to leaf, my darling, and gladness without measure. The heaven’s river has drowned its banks and the flood of joy is abroad.
At times of troubles all over the World, it’s good to pause and consider achievements. Not the huge ones, like a working vaccine or a new peace treaty, the little things that just make life better. The things that create personal memories that bring a warm, fuzzy glow when you look back. I love things such as seeing my first Snowdrops blooming after the winter, playing a piece of music just right so that I forget where I am. I love it when a dog comes over to say hello, even though we’ve never met before.
I’ll begin with an American poet I haven’t featured before. I like this philosophy of exploring, pushing to the edge, seeing what’s over the mountain. When we give up looking for new wonders, we begin to stagnate.
Doors of Daring
The mountains that enfold the vale With walls of granite, steep and high, Invite the fearless foot to scale Their stairway toward the sky.
The restless, deep, dividing sea That flows and foams from shore to shore, Calls to its sunburned chivalry, “Push out, set sail, explore!”
And all the bars at which we fret, That seem to prison and control, Are but the doors of daring, set Ajar before the soul.
Say not, “Too poor,” but freely give; Sigh not, “Too weak,” but boldly try, You never can begin to live Until you dare to die.
Henry Van Dyke (1852–1933)
My own piece this time comes from an exercise in an excellent book by Kate Clanchy. It’s based on a poem by Simon Armitage where he lists things he hasn’t done (yet?) but then lists the things he has done in answer to that. Better to look at what you have achieved than sulk and fret over the things you haven’t. Sure, there are things I’d still like to experience but I have all the time of the universe and many more things will occur to me as life progresses.
I have not…
Sailed a boat, across the wide Atlantic. Watched waves, higher than the mast, rear up ahead of me.
Flown to the edge of space. Watched the curve of the Earth, slip by with a blue glow, as we climb higher and higher.
Smelt a wild wolf, as I snuggle in his fur. Marvelling at his beautiful eyes, the warmth of his coat, keeping the cold away.
Dined at a five-star restaurant where the meal, looked way too small for a Chihuahua on a diet.
But I have…
paddled a canoe across the wild tidal rush of the River Esk, where it meets the sea, as it tries to take you, to the Isle of Man
Turned a glider onto the final approach. To kiss the runway with its single wheel and roll to a stop, landing done.
Snuggled a soppy Golden Retriever and fallen asleep, head buried in his soft fur to the lullaby of his breath.
Made my own Peanut Delight chocolaty and crunchy, sweet and dreamy and had it praised by a real cook.
Glen Proctor After Simon Armitage
I couldn’t not include probably the most famous poem ever written about striving and achievement, Rudyard Kipling’s masterpiece. Often used at public occasions, it used to be learned by rote in schools in England. For all Kipling’s faults (and he had many), he is a master writer of poem and prose. I’m not keen on the gender bias, it’s equally important for daughters to seek, to find, to explore but Kipling was a child of his time.
If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream, and not make dreams your master; If you can think, and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two imposters just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings, nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And, which is more, you’ll be a Man, my son!
I began this blog with my first post in June 2017 at the urging of my dear friend Thivashni, who also contributed to that post. Given the strangeness of the year and the length of time I’ve been writing, I thought it was the right time to have a bit of a retrospective post!
We’re living through difficult times for so many but light is gleaming at the tunnel’s end. I also am getting more intrigued by audio. It takes time to record, mix and upload audio versions of my work but I do think it’s worth doing. I thought I’d collect some of my work from past entries in this blog and post them here with audio versions for you.
By the way, I stole the title from a 1970’s impressionists show!
I’ll start with my poem from the June 2017 blog post, all about streams:
Stream flows round a corner falls over the ledge to splash in pools where silver fish play and rest amongst rocks
music of water, flowing ever down soothes and calms provides a relief for cares, woes and stress as if, you washed your soul
in the clear cool water and saw it fresh and new
Next, a piece from the post on ‘Restriction’. Thivashni very kindly contributed to this post to help me out and keep me going! I owe her a lot. My own poem in this entry was about blurring the boundaries between metaphorical and internal fences:
In the path, between us and happy thrown up as a casual gesture not even with the care of malice or revenge, just because, the plan says bars, from here to there
Cheap steel and plastic, which peels and flakes to let rust breath and spread until the bars, are no longer shiny just a rusty blight in the way of wanderers and poets looking to move with the flow of thought to stop them short and keep them back from reaching something which might inspire freedom or such thoughts dangerous to status quo, to stability to the stagnation.
The next post I made talked about mental health and freedom. My own piece concerned what effect an image might have on someone constrained ‘for their own safety’ when they are released. Visual images can be very strong signals to our brain, when it’s combined with a scent too, the release can be profound:
was the first thing I saw, that woke up my thoughts again. Purple lilac growing wild.
My sleeve gets damp, tear-stained. We had no colour in there, except that they gave and took away, everything was artificial you see, that’s everything not beige or gray. Neutral they call it as if that justifies. Bright beads, bright raffia, bright scenes, to occupy us, to numb us, keep us quiet and clean. While they do their things, for us, to us according to best practise they say, to make us ‘well’ where ‘well’ moves about and can’t be defined for the fey. As if weaving can weave the past away, the life that broke us, back then, in tiny pieces like the beads fallen on the floor, again. They pick up our fallen memories, jagged bits in our heads, and throw them in the bin in the corner. Did I see that or was it the meds? They mean well you see, most of them care about us lost ones in pain but each broken brain is different and what we are is differently sane. So they send me home with the label ‘cured’ and I watch the World pass by, stilled by the meds, the chemical cosh and I look out through a stranger’s eye. But lilac now, lilac heals because it isn’t beige or made up.
A leap forward now to 2018. I was astonished that I’d kept up the blog for a whole year! This piece comes from an entry about ‘Generations’. Could have been influenced by an anthology of the same name that I contributed to around that time!:
Dad came home from the war
No, not that one, too young for then the one after, the one where ‘superpowers’ wanted to make people in their own image
so he sent and received the signals on a carrier at sea aircraft carrier, that’s 5 squares If I remember? big anyway
Was he changed by the deaths? he wasn’tat the lines but then even out at sea, he saw shot up planes, crashes, the loss
but we came along, my Sister, then me and navy life wasn’t a thing he could live so home from the sea, home again in a new start, new town, new world
to work the machines, with oil, steel and muck boiler suited, toe capped booted earning a crust, a packet of pay as we played and chased, along the Tees
did he still have those ghosts? I should have asked him then maybe it’s all he needed, to lay them to have someone ask, to tell, to bleed
the pains of war, of life left behind friends gone, shipmates lost a life he left behind in body but did his mind forget?
We carry the legacy of his times the sea still calls for us, both his sons and his daughter, it calls a call in waves
that brings us all ease, Dad’s gene’s, his gift brought home with him from the sea
I posted the next piece in a blog about nature. Something always near to my heart. This poem recalls some of my fondest memories of a very special place:
Beck on a moor, flowing down From a spring in the mountain. Across the moor and falls. At rock’s break fracture, waterfall
Sound of water splashing down, to a rocky bowl, with a soul. On then through the heather, past the wild bilberries
and gorse and sheep. The beck which joins streams from other hills to make the river that flows
down to sand and mud. To the flat sea shore where tide takes it out to become the sea,
which feeds the ocean. Drinking from the water, handfuls from the stream. Rooting a bond, a joining.
Child’s heart now tied to this place of peace. Where it all begins and grows a Love of peace,
Love of wildness and silence, far from road or rail, brick or beam. No track or pavement to here. Just the path the rabbits made
and the sheep widened and humans borrowed for a while. Life begins again when the anchor. Takes hold In a place I rested
and still yearn for, a peace, a dream. A cornerstone of love in a dell. Where water splashed and washed the hurt away.
So that’s my first retrospective blog. Hope you enjoyed the poems and thank you to everyone who’s read, followed and/or liked any of the posts over the years. Back to normal for next month. The audio files for all the poems follow: