Sometimes I give my own poems an airing. The truth is that I can surprise myself by finding something I had completely forgotten about and being quite pleased that I wrote it. At other times I cringe with embarrassment. These are poem from my first collection.
We found it in Albi,
no gentle sketch
but boldly painted
bright and blowzy
heady with scent,
out for a good time.
loving the culture
flirted with passers-by
revelled in attention
posed for pictures.
Uprooted to Brighton
in a white fleece shroud
naked boughs mourned
sensing life had passed.
Two years later
in a new pot
on a south facing wall
tiny green shoots emerge,
show their party faces.
Seeds take flight with the softest blow,
on dandelion clocks you know.
How long can that be?
And who’s in charge of time. Tell me?
Twin spirits drift and sometimes fly,
but cannot separate or die.
Distance is all in the mind,
a word for space I think you’ll find.
Alienation is a choice,
but takes an angry tone of voice.
Despite the walls, the gates, the locks,
think of the seeds around that clock.
They drift, they fly, they find some ground,
and safely grow until they’re found.
The Salt Sea Winds
Where salt sea winds make their eerie sounds
and grey-green waves come crashing to the shore
and water washed pebbles tumble from obscurity
into an ever changing collage of muted colour.
High on the shore, a beached starfish lies rigid in the sun,
greedy seagulls eat oysters, leaving empty shells abandoned,
bobbly brown seaweed mingles with ribbons of green,
chalky cuttlefish lie beside a shiny skate egg husk.
One pebble, grey and white – with a gleam of light
shining through its centre, a shape, strangely soothing.
Rolled over in the palm of my hand its hard cold surface
seems like a symbol of something mystic, other worldly.
The Supply Teacher (an extract)
The tall inspector entered
on her half day as supply,
Charlie threw a tantrum
and she couldn’t find out why.
“Settle down now, quickly”
she said, and read the book,
glaring hard at Charlie
who had a treacherous look.
When they’d finished writing
they’d make some paper springs,
for a different kind of sandwich
with lots of cut-out things.
The brushes were all slimy
as they sloshed them in the glue,
the tables were a sticky mess.
and all the children too.
Some water in the corner
made a merry sound
as Charlie washed up all the pots,
it splashed onto the ground.
With sodden shoes, the inspector
headed for the door,
saying “Must try harder,
there are only thirty-four.”
Charlie helped to clean the classroom,
and she was fair but firm,
but her teacher’s heart had left her,
never to return.
So to all you tall inspectors
we hope your shoes are dry,
for we work daily miracles
and you’re just passing by.
Eating Apricots in France
for Jean and Mado
Under the sun umbrella
on the terrace
old friends meet.
Watching the mist on mountains
listening to the call of the cowman
urging his herd to milking.
Eating apricots, sipping wine,
a gentle informality,
born of shared memories.
from The Puppeteer’s Daughter – there are no illustrations yet!
Miss Lottie’s Last Chance.
She sets the brim of her straw hat
at what she hopes is a rakish angle
brushes bits of twig from her brown
cotton skirt, pulls the arms of her holey
cardie closer like a hopeful hug.
She climbs on a stool and places
bits of stray string into a rusty tin,
wipes secateurs with an oily rag,
seals half-opened seed packets, placing
them into an obliging array of jars.
She takes a swig of a brandy from a bottle
marked for emergencies, while a grumpy owl
painted on a shopping bag glares.
She makes short shrift of him shaking the bag
upside down to dislodge lurking spiders.
From the corner of her eye she catches
sight of her old black wellies, blushes
at the memory of sitting, only yesterday
on her bench, near to tears, her limbs
too soggy with fatigue to pull them off.
How lucky that an old gent on his bike
was passing and joined in the tussle.
Today she slips out of her old gardening shoes,
watches a flock of rogue cockatiels
spreading their wings and taking flight.
This poem has been read on this blog 387 times. Reading your poems at Open mics is another way to gain confidence and to share.
‘Miss Lottie’s Last Chance’ and ‘The Oleander’ are about my mother. She died in difficult circumstances after a short illness. I had cared for her in her later years.
I did the illustrations in watercolour for my first book ‘Don’t Throw Away the Daisies’ for the sheer joy of it and for a limited edition Later I reproduced it in black and white and it is on sale on Lulu, Amazon and in City Books. My second as second collection is called ‘The Puppeteer’s Daughter.’
Please note although I blog regularly the technical bit has always been a struggle. Tonight finding the pics and trying to remember how to get the best quality got me into a real tangle so I have just done my best!