Why am I writing a blog?

I have always written. Stories, poems, musings. It is one of the ways I make sense of life and sort through my jumble of thoughts and emotions. I love language and and I love words – the myriad ways they can be used to capture a moment, a feeling. But my passion is poetry. Through poetry I can express myself in ways that hopefully others can understand; I can use the detachment of the written word to articulate what I would otherwise be to embarrassed, or tongue-tied to say face to face. So there will be poetry on this blog, as well as short stories and my general musings on faith, mental health and everyday life, as I understand it.

Show me again

Show me again the tree beneath whose boughs we one time laid
While dappled sunshine warmed our skin and daring plans were made
Sit with me once again beneath the knarled and ancient limbs
And reminisce those sunny hours until the daylight dims

Show me again the river wide upon whose banks we lay
While summers breeze blew over us and we whiled the day away
Lie with me once again among the luscious burn side grass
And hand in mine gaze heavenward to watch the white clouds pass

Show me again the tenderness which caught for you my heart
The gentle touch and whispered words your true love did impart
Hold me once more in loving arms, my head against your chest
And marvel with me at how our life most truly has been blest.

The Quiet Place

Is it just me or does life seem to have gotten SO busy. There seems to be an endless flow of distractions and intrusions that hinder me. Recently I have been reading a book called The ruthless elimination of hurry. (Ok, I confess; listening to – I’m far too busy to sit down with a book!) The book itself is an easy read, but it asks some challenging questions about our modern lifestyle. Written by John Mark Comer, an American pastor, it is written very much from a Christian perspective but there is lots in it to speak to anyone living their life in our crazy, busy, noisy, nonstop, often overwhelming world. The chapter I read (listened to) this week is all about silence and solitude, something that few of us get enough of! After discussing it in our small group I was inspired to write this poem.

In the silence
In the stillness
Of the quiet place
I will seek you
Come towards you
Turn to me your face

I am ready
To hear from you
Speak your truth to me
I will listen
To hear from you
Words so Fatherly

In the silence
In the stillness
Of the quiet place
I will meet you
Be at peace there
Rest in your embrace

Secrets

I generally don’t like keeping secrets. Thankfully most of the secrets I keep revolve around birthday presents, surprise parties and the like, so are short lived. They are also the good kind of secret, the kind that you want to tell because you know the reaction will be positive.

But sometimes the knowledge we keep hidden is heavy to bear and we want to lighten the load by sharing it. Much has been written about how keeping secrets can be bad for our health. Occasionally however, the secrets that we keep are not ours to share.

I wish you had not told me that
I did not want to know
But now that I possess the truth
I cannot let it go
My heart cried out ‘this cannot be,
It can’t, it must be lies
But from your face I knew at once –
I read it in your eyes

That scene now stuck in my mind’s eye
never to be erased,
Delivered to me such a shock
It left me feeling dazed
The Nightmare that now plagues my sleep
And interrupts my rest
Have been my night-time company
Since to me you confessed

And all the while the shame of it
That should be yours not mine
Now Haunts my every waking hour
As if by your design
You have made me your companion
In knowledge of this deed
And I can never now forget
I never will be freed

I would I could just run away
The dread of it to flee
But no matter where I go
The truth will follow me.
For all around is tainted now
My illusions undone
The world is a less pleasant place
Your cloud obscures my sun.

I would you had not shared with me
The burden that you bore
For now I find this secret binds
Us two, for evermore

Listen to the kids

When my children were small I had a notebook in which I would write down some of the cute things that they said. For example, the time my son asked “why do you have beard on your arms daddy?” or the time my daughter rolled her eyes back as far as she could and exclaimed in disappointment “I just can’t see my eyebrows!”. But as well as being entertaining some of the things they said were actually quite insightful and poignant. When someone recently shared a video of kids being asked what it meant to be kind, some of the answers were really quite profound. It got me thinking about how as we get older we sometimes make things unnecessarily complicated when to children they seem straightforward. Children see the world through very different eyes to adults. As adults we have been shaped and damaged by life experiences and although these are unique for each of us, we all have something of cynicism, prejudice and pain in the lens through which we view things. Children often speak with a refreshing honesty too, saying things we would be too embarrassed to say, and seeing straight to the heart of a situation when we may have to peel back layers of assumption and expectation to reach the same point. Maybe listening to what children have to say sometimes, can help remind us of what is really important.

I listened to a child today
She spoke with a wisdom that belied her years
And gifted me her insight.

I listened to a child today
She spoke with the reasoning of innocence
And opened my jaded eyes

I listened to a child today
She spoke with a compassion that shamed me
But filled me with such bright hope

I listened to a child today
She spoke of such wondrous possibilities
And made me pause and ponder

I listened to a child today
She showed me everything I could become
And gave me desire to fly

Corner

I am a dreamer. I dream often and regularly remember bits, if not all, of the fantastical tales and crazy adventures I have during slumber. The weird and wonderful worlds I inhabit whilst sleeping can be a rich source of inspiration for my writing whilst awake, and I keep a note book beside my bed to jot down anything I want to hold on to. Sometimes when I look back at them my night-time scribblings make no sense at all, but once in a while when I check my notebook I am amazed at the insight or poeticism I find there.

A few days ago I had an unusual dream, even for me. Instead of being in the dream, playing ny part, I was an observer. And as the scene played out before me it wasn’t live action it was a black and white cartoon, all rough drawn and jiggling. I can only remember a very small part of it but it was such a striking visual images that it inspired a poem.

I can see myself in the corner
In a small stark patch of light
All couched and folded inwards
In a world of black and white

The darkness that surrounds me
Is slowly pressing in
The fear of it constricts my chest
I feel it chill my skin

But flickering, and glorious
A white light comes to shine
And rages ‘gainst the darkness
In this corner small of mine

So sensing something easing
I dare to lift my head
And see the light expanding
And catch a glimpse of red

I can see me in the corner
In a growing patch of light
All couched, but less uncertain
In a world of colours bright.

Moment

Life is made up of moments. Some we barely notice, some we would rather forget, and some we will never, ever forget.

One fleeting moment
Gone in a flash –
Too quick for me to catch
Yet I will hold it forever
In my head
and in my heart

For in that instant
There was
Nothing
Else

That perfect moment
The look of purest raw emotion

In that fleeting moment I saw
Love
That would last a lifetime

Betrayal

Sometimes I am quite deliberate in my poetry writing. Sometimes when I start to write a poem I start with just a phrase or couple of lines and have no idea where it is going to go. This was one of those poems, it wasn’t really until I reached the last verse that the pieces fell into place.

I took my lover to the sea
Where I made him beg to marry me
I grasped the heart he proffered me
And flung it hence into the sea.

I took my lover near the sky
And made him look into my eye
And swear to love me til he die
Then I did poke him in the eye

I took my lover atop the hill
And begged to know if he did still
Love me for sufficient thrill,
I threw my lover down the hill

I knew my lover was not true
And felt the sting of trust eschewed
I did what I had to do
To heal the heart he’d rent in two.

The Injustice in the Corner

Inspired by a ‘ thought for the day’ that was shared at The Arches project last week, this just kind of flowed out in response.

The injustice in the corner
Is ever so small
I turn my back, don’t see it
Ignoring your call

The injustice in the corner
I do not wish to see
Though slowly growing larger
Does not yet bother me

The injustice in the corner
Is no longer small and faint
I have to now acknowledge it
To hear your complaint

The injustice in the room now
So clearly in my view
Can still be ignored if I
Close my eyes and ears to you

The injustice I must see now
I’ll stand and rail against
But words are feeble weapons
And my strikes make no offence

The injustice right before me
I try to reason away
But all that I’m achieving
Is a break, a slight delay

The injustice in my face now
Continues hour by hour
So I must wrestle with it
And try to staunch it’s power

It may seem overwhelming
But yet I’m not alone
The seeds of revolution
Have already been sown

And so we come together
Injustice to oppose
Our common purpose strengthens us
And hope for justice grows

If

After a good start to this year I got a bit distracted and didn’t write anything for a while. This week I suddenly seem to have found my mojo again. I have been writing lots. From odd lines that will eventually develop into full poems, to snippets and phrases I have just jotted down to insert in a future poem, to a rather random short story. They are mostly first drafts still and will need a bit of tweaking before I share them, except for the one I am sharing now. I was playing around with different poem structures and with increasing and decreasing syllables and this was the result.

If

If
Only
It were true
That which you say
Statements of great love
Pretence of devotion
The words by which you deceive
The lies that you exhale
Carry me away
On clouds of hope
But like rain
They soon
Fall

World Poetry day 2022

It was one of those nights . . . so I got up and wrote this.

It’s the end of the day and my eyes are tired
But my brain just will not switch off
My body won’t let me rest either
Preferring to sniffle and cough

But my eyes are just so very tired
The sandman has been with his wares
And yet even this intervention
Won’t let my brain forget its cares

I can no longer keep my eyes open
My limbs found their night-time weight too.
But still in my brain there’s a buzzing
I know will last all the night through.

And now that my eyes are closed tightly
I find I am caught somewhere twixt
The slumber I so much desire
And the wakefulness that still persists

I think that this night might be hopeless
But slumber eventually descends
And just as if waiting this signal
The sun through the peaceful dark rends