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

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

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.

Explosions and balloons

Posting 2 in 1 today. Although I have not been posting everyday I have actually been writing everyday. Some of what I have written has just been odd lines or stanzas, but here are 2 completed poems.

The first prompt I used was to right about an explosion of joy. As I was short of time, and because I love them, I wrote a haiku.

So incredible
An explosion of pure joy
He said "I love you"

The second prompt I used was to write a poem either about a birthday or to someone on their birthday. This prompt happened to fall on the day my son turned 16, so of course I wrote a poem to him.

You are no longer a babe
Standing tall above me
As we celebrate this day of your birth
A day where once there were balloons
Where parcels were passed, statues danced, and lions slept
But time has passed and
You have outgrown these things
Now as you stand next to me
You stand in a place ‘twixt man and boy
Know that I will always be
Stood here beside you
As you find your feet in a fast changing world
And take your place in the unfolding tale

For today let’s just celebrate
The wonder that is you

Resolutions

Today’s prompt was to write about my resolutions. I don’t tend to make resolutions as I am no good at keeping them so I went in a different direction.

I could resolve to give you the world 
To capture the moon in a jar
To swim the vast wide ocean
No journey to you too far

I could resolve to show you the world
To offer it all on a plate
To fetch you your heart's desire
No obstacle would be too great

I could resolve to offer the world
In hope that you'd open your heart
If I were to offer the heavens
Would you then play your part?

I could just resolve to be honest
To tell you the way that I feel
To let you know you are Loved
The truth of my passion reveal

What then would be your resolution
Will our futures hence intertwine?
Or will you resolve to dismay me
I pray you will not be unkind

Juncture

Image: Ross G. Strachan

There is no good time to be told you are being made redundant.

February 2020 was really not a good time to be told that the site where you have worked for 20 years is going to be closing early in 2021. Four weeks later we were in a pandemic and within 6 weeks, the majority of staff at the site were furloughed. There was the inevitable delay effected by lockdowns, but now 17 months later, I am counting down the last few days until I finally step off site for the last time.

 I returned to work from furlough in July last year, to a different site. There is now a one way system in place, so I have gotten used to walking further to get from one place to another than the actual distance between them. There are card slots on toilet doors to ensure no more than 2 people are ever inside at the same time, and tables in the canteen are set out like an exam hall where each person sits alone facing the front. This is not unique; few workplaces, if any, have been unchanged by the need to keep people at a safe distance from each other, and there are many faces I have not seen unmasked in months, though I have spoken regularly to their owners. It is a strange way to end my time at this place, with it so changed from how it has been.

I was ready to leave when they announced the site closure; I had known it was time to move on for a while, but not knowing what my next step should be I had procrastinated.  It was a kick up the backside being told I needed to find the next step directly and not when I got round to it, but I am now happy that I am heading off along a different path.

So it has come as a bit of a surprise to me how sad I am. For all sorts of reasons really. Twenty years is a large chunk of my life. Since starting here I have got engaged, got married, had children, moved house, all to the consistent backdrop of the same workplace. Although plenty of people have come and gone in that time, there are many faces who have been a regular part of my work life for that time. I am grieving for the loss of those people, for the loss of the comfortable familiarity of the place, for the loss of a job that I know I can do.

 The place has been winding down for a while now. As the workload has decreased and fixtures and fittings have been dismantled around us the sense of ending has grown. What was once a busy bustling place is grinding slowly to a halt. So although I am excited and hopeful, about what the future holds, today the joy is tempered by melancholy. As I sit here alone in my office I am inspired to write a poem.

We were warned

We had plenty of notice

Time to prepare

But did we?

Or did we put it on the back burner,

To be dealt with at a later date.

Denial and disbelief obscuring the need to make ready.

Now though, the truth is rushing headlong towards us and

the narrowness of the passage of time leaves no chance for escape.

As reality closes in I embrace nostalgia

Wrapping myself up in the comfort of the contemptuously familiar.

Change will come

What has been will cease to be

And I must move on

I wish to face the future with hope

With the excited joy of infinite possibility

But for now I stand on shaky ground,

unsure of where next to tread

Buffeted by waves of grief that ebb and flow

threatening one minute to overwhelm

Then receding to allow me once more to stand and face what lies before.

Time will find me away from here

I will thrive

And then I will reminisce

With a grateful smile.

Hope

Today I am feeling hopeful. OK, so I still slept late and didn’t get much done, but I have coughed less and, joy of joy, CHOCOLATE TASTES LIKE CHOCOLATE AGAIN!!! My sense of taste has been restored, my sense of smell is improving and i can enjoy eating again! Funny how we take it for granted that things smell and taste, what a bland world it is without these senses.

This afternoon I have written poem number 2 for National Poetry Wrtiting Month.

Hope

There has always been hope
Though everything around may be crumbling
The storm clouds gathering to obscure the blues skies
And the very ground quaking beneath your feet
Hope prevails

There is always hope
Though fools may bring you down, refusing to listen to truth
Valuing opinion more than knowledge and understanding
Letting their instincts trump calm rational thought
Hope does prevail

There will always be hope
Though times of pain will come to us all
We will each take our turn to suffer in our individual way
Everyone of us living through darkest days
Hope still prevails

Just know this
There is always hope.