Thursday, November 17

a Poem for Thursday...The Noise of Heavy Traffic.

Margaret U. brought the prompt today. 
She offered us an envelope with strips of paper and each had a noise written on it.
So... waterfall, drip drip, laughter and mine....the noise of heavy traffic.
There's always a panic moment when you know that you have no more than an hour to put down your best thoughts and make some creativity with words!
We have just come back from another motorway trip...this time to see the southern family down the M6 and M1 and traffic, traffic, I had something to work with.

It's "brumm brumm" and "beep beep"
As the child on the back seat sang.
And the young woman in the driver's seat
Does her best to avoid a prang.
While out on the road in the busy traffic
Screaming accelerators shout.
And the tired commuters in the early morning
Play chicken, without a doubt.
Brumm brumms the sound of the traffic
And the beeps are heard all around.
While the child strapped into his seat at the back
Turns his toy wheel around and around.
The H.G.V. in the line in front
Is revving it's engine again.
The driver frustrated, is paid by the hour
And the number of trips he has made.
A middle aged business man lost in  reverie
Sighs as the lights turn to red.
That's another ten minutes of idling in neutral
He may as well stay in his bed.
Then a smart-ass young woman gesticulates
Wildly and raises her B.P. again.
She lifts up two fingers and points them at someone
With a blankety blank blank refrain.
The light blinks on green and they're off on the road
Well at least they can make second gear.
And the child in the back seat smiles
At the woman and 
Raises his fingers as well.
God's name is called upon there in the traffic,
Well, called may not be the right term.
But for folk who declare they are atheist/agnostics
They regularly mention him there.
Then the traffic starts moving and hope springs eternal
They may yet make the school run,the meeting,
The shopping, the doctor's, the dentist's the job
And get home again sometime this evening.
Now the child on the back seat is singing again
And the smart-ass young woman calms down.
While the heavy goods driver thinks maybe he'll make it
And the business man ceases to frown.
For they'll drive down the roads
Where the traffic is heaving
And tomorrow they'll do it again.

...there are more!!

Thursday, November 10

A Poem for Thursday.

Once again we met at The Gateway Centre opposite the beautiful Golden Gates of Warrington's Town Hall.
The Bold Street Writers.
And the prompt...very apt for the moment... came from Pat who had introduced me to this wonderful group a few years before.

"The Unexpected"

Well there is so much unexpected at this moment in history...though maybe there may have been more before the days of media coverage of each and every tiny change of mood and tone but we will never know and that could have been a blessed bonus!
This is my offering.


Twice I looked  to find it true.
Not daring to believe my eyes.
The screen  flickered, night was old.
From my companion came sighs,
Disbelief. Fear tugged. Anxiously 
We watched. Numbers rose and fell.
The outcome boards were black
The names above were bold.
The list grew longer, stronger
Were the thoughts we shared.
Mouths tightened, eyes narrowed,
Or eyes wide, mouths agape.
You think you've seen it all
By the time your pension's drawn.

We made another coffee, sleep
Would have to wait 'til  results
Crashed the top line, powered
Through, above, over, beyond.
Whose dreams would crash? And
Whose would soar?
The band played on while the
Dancers danced. What should we do
At a time like this? Should we 
Laugh or weep? Some will rejoice.
Losers lose and winners win.
As it is in life, so in death.
And midnight makes you morbid.
So we crack open the brandy.

We plump up feather cushions
For the necessary comfort in
The long haul.In the small hours
As we wait for light to filter
Through net curtains, and brocade. Then 
When spirits are at lowest and
Souls dried of emotion comes
The long-awaited verdict after
Lonely days, and years
Have passed in the waiting full
Of hope, despair and longing?
A faithful partner at his side.
A shining spotlight  on him. he
Holds his head up high and ...Waits . 

But the Master of Ceremonies in
Red velvet jacket speaks. 
And we hold our breath in
Expectation. At last a result.
The mirrored ball is lifted high and
And Anton  claims his prize.

Now those of the distant shore.... Amerikay!... may not know how long and hard Anton du Beck has fought for the "Glitter Ball...the prize of Strictly come Dancing"...but at a time like this here and across the pond...we need some light relief in our lives.
Vive Le Anton!

Tuesday, November 8

A ,Bitter Week.

We spent four wonderful days on the east coast last week....Suffolk and Norfolk.
We were there to deliver stock to some galleries in Southwold and Snape Maltings. That's the ceramic stock made by the potter here at The Potters House Penketh.
But also to attend some of the organised workshops and readings at The Aldeburgh Poetry Festival.
A real feast of poetic words and thoughts.
Then to cap a great weekend we drove north to Norwich and UEA, to take the eldest grandgirl out for a meal....all students need treats from grandparents!
So late evening after saying our goodbyes we set off for the journey north.
My head was full of the new poetry and poets we had heard....and the news we listened to as we drove was full of the thoughts of the soon to be decided presidential race for The White House.
The euphoria of the four days slipped away little by little as reality arrived as if brought down from the cold north by the chill winds that blew.
The vacuum of this moment in history....will soon be filled with one or 'tother...and we ourselves will soon be either in or out apparently of whatever we have been part of!!

After Auden

And so the leaves fall
And in the chill wind fall fast.
For on the long ride back north
Winter arrived in bitterness.

Thursday, October 20

Thursday Writers Group

Bold Street Writers

Today Margaret was the prompt giver and she laid out a number of strips of paper each with an opening sentence from which we had to write a dialogue.

This was mine!
So just about fifty minutes later and a lot of scribbling...well you can see that from the pic!...this was the script I came up with.......

(...Belfast voice...)
Dad:- "What have you done with my pills? I need them! I know you've moved them mother, you're a bloomin' nuisance with your tidying up all the time. Land's sake let the dust lie, It'll be there when we're dead and gone. And I'll be dead and gone if I can't find my pills.
 I can feel myself comin' over all faint already. I'm gonna sit down a wee while and collect my thoughts, pull myself together.

Mum:-  "Sorry"

Dad:-   "And what the heck has happened to that cushion? You know I have to have yon there cushion at my back otherwise I will end up with one of my agonizing backs again, and I'll be laid up in bed for a fortnight and then you'll know all about it.When you're traipsing up and down those stairs! I can't be sitting in that chair with that cushion there...even if it does match the chair better that mine. 
I know how your mind works, I really do."

Mum:-  "Sorry".

Dad:-  "Has the paper arrived? I haven't seen it anywhere. Don't tell me that paper boy has given up again.
 I can't stand lazy people like him, no get up and go and no loyalty to his customers. 
Well mum you'll just have to pop across to the newsagent and get it, and while you're at it tear a strip of  that woman over there for not making sure her best customers get their Dailies on time. 
What's the point at getting the paper at ten in the morning? Sure it's old news by then. I'd go myself but I'm feeling a bit woosey,  I need to get those wee red pills. 
What have you done with them you auld fool?"

Mum:-  "Sorry".

Dad:-  While you're over at the shop get me some ciggies. I'd give you the money but sure my wallet's up the stairs in the other jacket pocket and I couldn't make it up there at the moment. Sure I can pay you later after I get over this wee bout of dizziness.A cup of tea before you go would see me through 'til you're back, and make sure you put the three sugars in, last time I'll swear there was none, and the tea was flipping bitter.
 I'll just have a wee bit of shuteye 'til you're back."

Mum:-  "Sorry".

Dad:-  "Have you gone yet? 
Mother do you hear me? 
You're deaf you auld biddy!
 Deaf as a doorpost.
 I could be dying here and you'd not give two hoots!
 Do you hear me?
 I'm not going to shout! Sure I don't have the energy.
 I would have the energy if I could get hold of those bloody pills.
Are they down the side of the couch where you sit? Why would you move them?
 I said why would you move them?
 I may as well talk to the wall for all you care.
 Is that cup of tea coming? Three sugars mind. And the paper would be grand before lunch for crying out loud.
If that's you by the front door I'll do without the tea, if you're on your way across. 
Ciggies, remember ciggies.
 Mind like a sieve mother, mind like a sieve.
God I feel lousy. Where the heck are those wee red devils? If I were a fit man I'd be up looking for them. I would. I know I would. That's the kind of man that I am. That's the kind of fellow, feeelooow, fellooo.....".( falls to the ground).

Mum:-  "Sorry!!"  (Slams the front door and gets into a taxi with a suitcase )

We are often a gruesome lot of writers at the group...we women!!!

Sunday, October 16

The Knothole

When the weather permits , I still like to take myself down the field to the summerhouse and as there is no wifi...there's no chance of being able to hear anything at all about the state of the world!!
This afternoon I sat in the old blue and white striped sofa and listened to the hypnotic buzzing of a fat bumble bee looking for a cosy hole to overwinter.
He must have found a suitable one as the buzzing stopped and the quiet was almost tangible.

The Knothole
In the darkened knotholes 
Of the summerhouse roof
A bee searches for a winter retreat.
Then the steady hum of its wings
Grow  quiet 
With  the blessed finding
Of its chosen one.
While the earth grows still
As it turns with the season.

Sunday, June 26

A new era.

Thoughts on the reading of the introduction to Arthur Millar's play...All my Sons...
A family at but love that is prepared to act unethically to get what it feels is its due rights and respect.
The Stay people who are now accused of being sour and the Brexit people...are fighting a losing battle. They are accused of being intellectuals, academics, arrogant exclusivists who have no idea how the rest of the country live and feel. But this scenario, this present story, this situation has all gone on many times it has been written by Chaucer, Ben Jonson, Shakespeare, Hemingway, Harvey Lee, Steinbeck and mention only a few. Yes these might be all put in a bag as "intellectual clap trap", if we so wish. I will go back further and cite the Old Testament and betrayal, and of course the New Testament and the great betrayal that happened within seven days in the life of Jesus. All written literature...wherever you might be coming from and either accepting it as truth or fiction...nevertheless there it is. And of course we can look back to a lot less years and the 20s and 30s and a people in need of leadership ready to accept the apparently strong leadership offered but taking on however reluctantly the package that went with it.
So in All my Sons by Arthur Millar....Joe Keller says..." you can't live without denial, the truth and mankind are cousins, not brothers and sisters, have to deny something in order to survive. I think they are all denying something". Millar said in summing up..."he is the broken promise of the past".... referring to Joe's neighbour George.
Christopher Bigsby in this introduction to Millar's play writes..."... It is not breaches of the law...but the removal of the buoys which mark a safe passage through ocean waters. Remove such buoys, literal and symbolic, and there is no longer a common world from which we may derive either personal identity or social meaning".
I fear that this is the world we now enter...without signposts to guide or tender- heartened to console.
My love to all.....Gx

Tuesday, May 31

Sunday's Short The Shanaghy

Sunday's Short Story by The Shanaghy

It's the thought that counts
The Count that thinks.

He knew that the country was not in the forefront of the world's thoughts. The usual reaction was..."where?".. when he mentioned his homeland.....Veralia.
To be honest the borders were not vast, in fact not so much as a spit apart as some said.
But being the Count of Veralia he stood tall and motioned with his finger to the dot on the map which he called his homeland. It was in between the two big powers left and right. And closed in at top and bottom by two lesser ones though just as pugnacious in their dealings with him.
He knew that they all wanted to swallow up his beautiful land and add it to their already vast empires.
His homeland was a place of hills and valleys, rivers and streams and gentle slow living villages and towns, where the centuries of care had meant that generations of families stayed put and built up the kindly infrastructure which his father and family before him had maintained.
So it was no wonder those powerful ones lusted after those few acres of earth, for that is what powerful people do. Always wanting what they can't have. Always wanting more.
Many fables and proverbs have been retold in front of the  fires of winter, by families with their children huddled on knees , telling about the weak and the strong, the large and small, the fast and  slow. Stories of the lion and the mouse, fox and crow. Why even the hare and the tortoise.
So the Count knew that it was not always the biggest, noisiest, strongest who succeeded in battle. No, it was the thought that counts.
And he must be aware of the dangers and keep thinking.
Count Honore, for that was his name, was no slouch when it came to brains. An academic training and lessons in military strategy, together with the wisdom passed down through the stories of the common people, gave him a head start in his fight. For fight it was.
He considered the tortoise who kept plodding on to win the race and put a motto above his desk. "Never give up".
He remembered the mouse who befriended the lion and removed the thorn from the lion's paw and up went another motto..."Be kind to strangers".
And he never forgot the advice given by his old nanny...."Do ye next thynge". and up went another on the wall.
They never did get his land.
It was as if Veralia was invisible. Perhaps they were all too busy in their powerful meetings. Talking to their powerful friends...kept close to make sure they knew what each other was doing, as none of them trusted the other. Perhaps they thought it was something to see to once they had the next round of important international talks under the belt. Once they had decided the future of millions of folk, who didn't really give a hoot anyway!
Whatever the reason, the Count who thought, knew that it's the the thought that counts.
And it's the type of thought in particular....and he was that type of Count.