Friday, 1 September 2017

Sparkly Ribbon

She stashed minutes away in jars and boxes
and hid hours in secret places for conjuring notions.
Like all magical stuff, no different to her offspring,
she knew they must fly off to soar and sing,
dreams to fruition and girls to women, so she permitted it,
fixing the faintest sparkly ribbon to the children's wrists,
and, with less regard, to the visions' endmost wisps.
Those were only bonus cards.
She counted her lucky stars when she watched the news,
and, notably, when sighing over crayoned walls and mucky shoes.
She would pull those strings sometimes
and at others forget they existed, though she held on tight.
Occasionally, she let them go, to rest her hand,
but, always, quickly snapped back the strands.
She knew that she might not see the outcome
but that at least a few of those visions could be passed on.
They may, she supposed, be useful for the next generation
to acquire unworked ideas on the faintest sparkly ribbon,
the beauty of the perk being in trying to solve the riddle
or, indeed, letting it go.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Keeping July

Dens of chairs and blankets,
a circus show at home,
lines and nets and rackets,
no-one keeping score.
Eight books each to represent,
a fox in socks surveys,
on July the first the power went
and the movie was delayed.
Calves the very height of style
in all their sepia glory,
starlings at the seaside
taking inventory.
Lettuce growing rivalry
in green and purple lines,
questions answered silently,
learning to tell time.
Rapunzel can no longer hide,
rooster calling on repeat,
gorse clicks and crackles from all sides,
a nineties dancefloor beat.
Chippings, pavers, rollers
our road consolidated,
filling, tearing, smokers
keep children fascinated.
A linnet pair on seedy heads,
thrushes gobbling berries,
an old pink paper licence,
explaining pounds and pennies.
Old heads of lavender
on thin but sturdy stalks
We edge through the calendar
these days not to recall.

(Explanation: This is the third of three Summer poems of 2017. The first is Collecting May and the second is Sorting June).

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Sorting June

Picnics in the leafy shade,
mighty hula-hooping,
debates of all things mermaid,
days of just regrouping.
A home-made wishing well,
ground consumed by weeds,
on June the first it rained like hell
and continued for two weeks.
Red admiral kaleidoscopes,
lilies back again,
streamlined swallows swooping low,
big plans for the train.
Cherries getting redder,
cloudless cobalt skies,
self-seeded mountain heather
has further colonised.
Best of ten in basketball,
children rhyming words,
sparrowhawks' high-pitched calls
disperse the other birds.
Racing, chasing tractors
as sun and heat maintain,
encrusted in sun factor
we're on a contrary campaign.
Plastic table dining,
wraps and dips hold sway,
water sprinkler sliding,
there goes the longest day.
Celebration of a decade,
eleven now together,
for better or worse it passed away
not to be remembered.

(Explanation: This is the second of three Summer poems of 2017. The first is Collecting May and the third is Keeping July).

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Collecting May

Great tit on the warpath,
a blue one they call Louis,
red collar on the black cat,
sawfly on the gooseberry.
Airy thuds of football,
two girls and their dad,
on May the first the cuckoo called;
a reason to be glad.
Cabbage whites crysanthemumming,
unwieldy fluffy bumblebees,
honeysuckle fast becoming,
sandy feet and salty sea.
Rabbit nesting just in time,
a dotted scene of lambs,
stretched out open cones of pine,
microphones without amps.
Guitar reduced to strings of five,
record-breaking skipping,
stabilisers off the bikes,
no holes in the knitting.
Machines in fields of evening rush
to beat the next day's rain,
hawthorn blossoms torn and thrust
like hailstone to the panes.
Still-sealed foxgloves popped on palms,
bubbles, ice-cream, jelly,
sounds and scents of cutting grass,
hedges getting leggy.
Sudden elderflowers,
karate-kicking robins,
roses in a bower,
all to be forgotten.

(Explanation: This is the first of three Summer poems of 2017. The second is Sorting June and the third is Keeping July).

Monday, 1 May 2017

Rippling Chorus

A dusky April sky effects a rippling chorus
of baas and cries, giggles, croaks and snores,
maas and sighs.
It's as if there is a ringleader hell bent on a Mexican bleat,
or indeed a cheerleader who wants to keep them all keen.
It's fine to see them mingling in the dark, slowing to a stop
until each rambling singleton is consumed by the flock.

A resounding naa silences, the starlings cease their clacketing
and even I stand fast, nearly polite.
Seconds later a rebellious gurgle restarts the racket in
the next field, throaty chatter peals into the night.

The response of stuttering lambs contrasts with the experience
and confidence of ewes and rams, who may well be furious
with their charges.
It sounds like the newborns understand anyway, regardless.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

A Fish Money

We each begged for a fish money, and,
when secured, set off up Quaker Road
to reach and point our silvered palms
as we reduced our ten p loads.
First, the crisps, nine pence gone
and then one left to spend just right
you wouldn't believe how long
it took us to choose what to buy.
The poor woman we called the lady!,
We must have driven her mad;
We'd no sooner got a penny Jelly Baby
but we were trying to get our money back.
Our Granny didn't ever give us gifts
but, we got the odd bulky, heavy card.
Now, part of that was actual adhesive:
She'd stick coins onto one side, very hard
to remove but we accepted the challenge
and compared our Sellotaped spoils, first
in obverse-sides-up towers, neatly balanced,
and then and only then in worth.
No one ever got the same amount
as another, so there was always a winner
and we enjoyed the competitive count
as much as the Tanora she always had in.
I can remember how the pound coin enthralled me,
the red deer forged the big, green note's replacement.
And I travelled with Deutschmarks, Francs and Lire
before the Euro took the Punt from circulation.
There's something rooting about cash in your hand,
just thinking about it transports me, isn't it funny
to be defined in your own memory of time and land?
Ah, spare a thought for the future's fish money.

(Explanation: I hear, more and more, about the possibility of cash being replaced by electronic pay systems. Click here for one recent article I read on the subject. I hope this doesn't happen. Cash is like scents or sounds, it can put you somewhere or sometime, just by thinking about it. I think it is especially important for children to handle money and to learn about its worth.
Our trips to the shop, in the early 1980's, mostly took place when we were at our aunt's house. The shop in the poem was called Fitzgerald's. When we were at home we were too far away from the nearest shop to walk to it. That was part of the excitement, being able to get to the shop in two minutes.
We used to call the ten-pence piece "fish money" because it had the image of a salmon on it. And, I know it's hard to believe, we were able to buy a bag of Tayto crisps with a fish money and get change!).

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Called Early

I tucked the sleeping children in
and ignored the salamander.
It flipped and flicked and fidgeted;
an athletic demander.
I chased it without fright or fear
yet I was playfully outskilled,
it did not hide, but reappeared
and darted to a quilt.
It fitted prone as if to draw
attention to the shape,
I looked intently, then I saw
a matrix in the drape.
I had a tissue in my hold
and picked up the lizard still.
I opened out the window
and put it safely on the sill.
I woke then with the details all
burned into my brain.
That morning I had been called
early by the flames.

(Explanation: I got up at 04:30 on the morning of 09/02/2017 feeling I had to get the fire lit. I did that and then fell asleep on the couch in front of it. I had the dream detailed above, very bright, detailed, vivid. The "matrix" I refer to was a shape that I can only conclude was that of a uterus. So, I felt (I hoped!!!!) the dream signalled the menopause...I can tell you now for certain that there is still evidence to the contrary.
I've had dreams like this one before, where I see things like someone I know who is pregnant going into labour, and then later that day I hear that they did go into labour at that time. Or others where I knew the sex of a baby. Also, other ones that are not related to babies! 
We'll see what happens. I'm not sure what a salamander is, it was just in my mind after the dream. The creature in the dream was a creamy-yellow colour with black marks on it. I'm afraid to look up the type of lizard I saw in case it's an omen of terrible things to come. But, the dream didn't feel frightening at all, I'll update here if anything relevant happens).

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Three Rings

"Roll up, roll up, fun and laughter,
Trumpety-trump, I'm the ringmaster.
Rabble-dabble, dinky-donk, twinkle-inkle-oo,
pow-doo-wow, kapow-kapow, jingle-jangle-joo.
If I talk for long enough and pause to purse my lips
you'll fall for all the glompy-gloop and all the tiggle-wig.
Inky-winky, topple-too, snupple-bupple-fabbing,
Misinformation, misdirection, misses always like my grabbing.
Danty-wanty, simper-so, deny, delete, decry,
rippy-nip, what I say goes, first I took their rights.
Cay-ka-cow and zoon-aray and twisty-twusty-tate,
When in doubt what next to say, stick to preaching hate.
Wishy-wash, hum-dum-dee-doo, disloyal traitor mayors.
It's all the Muslims' fault, you know, fadum-dum-ding-dong-dayers.
Build the wall, yaloo-long-lee, Mexicans repulse me,
throw the park rangers over it, tell-ton-tin-ton-tully.
Cha-cha-cha, twirly-whirl, I've such great attributes,
and qualities, all of the qualities, la-la-loopy-loop.
Roll up, roll up," the ringmaster sounds,
"This is my circus, we've got clowns."

(Explanation: I love Chicago, the musical. But, the track, 'Razzle Dazzle', one of my favourites, has been tainted since watching Donald Trump's campaign for and election to the US presidency. That line, "Give 'em the old three-ring circus..." has been on a loop in my head. "Three Rings" is a play on that line, Donald Trump's three marriages and the fact that, to me, he's in the centre of his own three-ring circus. The worse part of it is that Trump didn't have to razzle-dazzle anyone, he just spat bile all over people....and they voted for him. ).

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Rose Interest

Nettles and dock leaves circle my rose interest
until the prince will free the sleeping princess
and restore the realm.
Proof that the world provides freely in overwhelm
the weeds strive and vy for prime position,
to be the best.
Weeding conditions are truly a test:
My rambling royals are worth the shears-wielding
and the stings.
They bow in yielding thanks and duly swing
curtsies at the sun so I am decorated
for my valour.
Nature is breathtaking dressed in folded flowers
but she doesn't wear them every day,
as is the custom.
Results occur if I am wholly trustful
so it seems that the earth succumbs to me
after a little focus.
Or maybe it gives in as it does with the roses,
all things come at the right moment,
If the prince is not the one the sleeping princess
might choose to don an air of snooze
upon the kiss.
Those in our world who aim and miss
find themselves wronged due to a faulty song
they chanted.
No fairytale endings issue so they can't
trust that living a good life is a must
for a deal that's fair.
Nettles and docks are the least of their
distresses: No princes to free their princesses,
even in their dreams.
Proof that the world provides freely, unreasonably
with no just cause or thoughtful pause
for human lives.
My rose interest roots, grows, blooms, thrives
without, it seems, having to believe
in anything.

(Explanation: Just ramblings! (This poem may or may not be finished). I get the idea behind positive thinking, that it leads to positive outcomes. But, a glance at the news on any given day has me wondering how any of it could be true. For example, it can't be reasoned that the Syrian people collectively forgot to think positively.)

Saturday, 24 December 2016


Surrender your grasp, whatever your cause,
on the future and past, for the sake of a pause.
We've closed the gates, the keys are hung up,
there's no early or late but there's more than enough.
There's a meaning, a meeting, a moreness, a mist
on streaming and reading that already exists.
The latch is on, the curtains are drawn
and the same old songs herald the dawn.
"...not even a mouse..." echoes around,
if we had hatches on our house they'd be battened down.
The fire's blazing, the washing is dry,
the children are gazing for clues in the sky.
There's a feeling, a freeing, a focus, a fizz
on dreaming and healing and those that we miss.
Whether you are inclined or firmly against,
there's finally time to finally rest.
This moment's the truth, whatever you know,
we've nothing to do and nowhere to go.
It's the privilege of biding shrouded in peace,
while others are stifled by siege without cease.
There's a greening, a greeting, a gallop, a gliss
on scheming and reaching the ultimate pitch.
The time will progress, wherever you are,
and I mean to spend it counting my stars.
For the sake of a pause, on the future and past,
whatever your cause, surrender your grasp.