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

DAY 14

Today’s prompt was to write a poem in a single sentence begining” She told me”

She told me once about an amazing day, 
when the sun had shone down
from the bluest of clear skies
upon a child of undetermined age
while she skipped gleefully through the field,
wiggling her fingers through the waist length grass
that was dappled with the reds and yellows of wildflowers
and hummed with the frenetic activity of
creatures she could not yet name,
but which fascinated her curious eyes,
hungry eyes that drank in every drop of the
idyllic scene,
before he found her
and roughly grabbing her arm
dragged her back to her
cold, grey-skyed reality.

Day 5

Today’s prompt required a bit of time travel – going either into the future or the past to write from the perspective of someone on the brink of a life changing event. I have recently been reading The Mirror and The Light which has inspired my setting, although I cannot be sure the scene I envisioned is an accurate depiction of life in the 16th Century.

I am not yet ready
In time I will be
But time, I have not enough
The guests are assembled
The candles are lit
There has been much bustle and busyness
Many hands bearing trays of finest produce
Have borne more in one morn that in the past sennight

I am not yet ready
In time I might be
Yet not today, not so soon
The tables are laden
The feast all prepared
The clatter of wheels has told me the tale
Of many kin bearing gifts of richest treasures
As would befit the auspicious occasion

I am not yet ready
More time is requisite
Yet time I am not allowed
The servants attend me
The stays are bound tight
There has been much arranging and fixing
Many hands shaping this” finest of ladies”
to be the fine wife of our noble Lord

I must now be ready
The time has arrived
The time I would halt if I could
The fanfare has started
The doors are flung wide.
There has been such anticipation
Many Lives holding to what this day represents
I must play my Part, Obedient submission

The Chimneys of Portpatrick

It’s always easier to write when on holiday. The combination of more time and being generally more relaxed, with visiting new and interesting places helps the creative flow. We have visited Portpatrick a few times now, finding out about ships wrecked on the rocky shore line, and how it served as a version of Gretna green for couples who caught the boat across from Belfast.  The ferries no longer come into Portpatrick, the little bay and harbour could not cope with the large ships required these days, which now dock at Cairnryan a little further north. Instead Portpatrick remains a picturesque little coastal village – a beautiful unspoilt spot away from the hubbub of much of modern life; a great spot for a relaxing break. It was only yesterday as I walked down to the sea, that I noticed the extraordinary number of chimney pots on the buildings around the bay. I found myself a comfy large rock to sit on, gazing out at the sea, and wrote this poem.

The chimneys of Portpatrick
That stand above the bay
Stretch up heavenward to the sun
That shines on us today
How long they’ve stood there watching
I really do not know
They have seen the waters rise
They’ve seen the tide ebb low.
 
The chimneys of Portpatrick
Have stood there oh so long
They’ve heard the ocean raging
Witnessed her waves so strong.
And in the still calm moments
That come both day and night
Know the peace just hides from view
The ocean’s fearsome might
 
The chimneys of Portpatrick
Stood solemn as the waves
Threw boat, then boat against the rocks
And not all souls were saved
The lighthouse stood as warning
It’s light shone through the night
The brave and daring lifeboat crew
Risked all for stranger’s plight
 
The chimneys of Portpatrick
That witnessed so much woe
Also saw such joyful days
Saw lovers come and go
Across the sea from Ireland
Where family disapproved
Wedding vows they came to say
Their lasting love to prove
 
The chimneys of Portpatrick
Stand cold and smoke no more
Yet still we come to visit
This bonny stretch of shore
And while we swim the waters
We drink, we eat, we play
The chimneys of Portpatrick
Stand proud above the bay