Keeping my spirits up in February – nature – haiku – wonderful museum visit.

On misty mornings tears of rain on winter trees shine a little light.

 

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Ok vanity! But love my picture and poem, cheered me up! Earlier when clearing out I found ‘Blackpool Illuminations’ written at Arvon in 2007. The typed anthology had poems by Polly Dunbar and Rachel Rooney. Oh how talented they were! Always grateful for grant for train fare to first Arvon few years earlier. Published Blackpool poem eventually

 

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Looking for the light
found poetry and woodcuts
early signs of spring.

 

Floating worlds at Brighton Pavilion Museum combined wonderful woodcuts and haiku

the link to the exhibition on line    brightonmuseums.org.uk/floating

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So many wonderful woodcuts and printing techniques the last print was one that inspiried the impressionists.

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Welcoming the New Year

Sometimes the unexpected happens even flowers can bloom where they want to.
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I have been writing this blog for nearly ten years. It keeps my creative spirit going and ensures I still take photographs of my garden, allotment and when I am out and about. I still paint a few pictures, write fragments and poems. 
Whatever you are up to Happy New Year.
Fragments from 2019
The sheer joy of a horse chestnut tree, kicking through wet leaves, finding the last  conker.

 

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Well it’s like this even a witch can have a bad spell day

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Guess it’s my interest in shadows from the past still haunts me when I am drawing

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the sunset

the sea
a solitary bird
a crescent moon
a full blown rose – just an ordinary evening

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Shoreham on a stormy day!

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swans sleeping at Shoreham

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Love the more disorganised charity shops. Warmed to ‘How to look after your Hamster’ although haven’t had one for years. Bought ‘Beningfields Countryside’ but the ‘Shorter Oxford English Dictionary’ volumns one and two’ will probably stay there forever thanks to the internet and their weight alone.
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Summer disappeared just as I found the right hat! Back to the drawing board!

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Where the bee sucks there suck I’

Roots for one rogue passion flower growing through first step to garden!
Needs to be chopped.
Had a chat to bees about it and they would welcome some sort of compromise!

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Love the Persian silk tree (Albizia julibrissin)

Not to mention plenty of other joys at Emmett’s.

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The Depot
Sipping Hampstead tea
eating coffee walnut cake,
waiting in the sun for Mrs Lowry and son.
‘Everything starts with flake white`
loved the sad film and gritty north.
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Enjoyed painting an image for another of my poems – could become a habit!
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As I get older it’s the dance in the detail and closer to home.

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor Bits and pieces on my kitchen windowsill.

I was 18 when the part of Tomboy came up in a second feature film, about travelling in a tiny yacht through the canals of France to St Marie. A braver girl from a sailing family crossed the channel in an Avon dinghy, a stunt that helped with the finance. My journey was hazardous too.

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My rite of passage came to end dancing in the grounds of a chateau in a dress designed a famous fashion house ‘Frank Usher.’ Nothing in life goes to plan!

 

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The experience was captured on the left in my poem Ambition from The Puppeteer;’s Daughter.
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She looks how I felt
after spending all morning
clearing out the pond
thank goodness for begonias!

Trying acrylics rather than watercolour or oils, this is a sketch of a globe from a pic I took in Earls Court Square when I was a poet in residence two years ago. 

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Written in Lavender time. – Maybe just in time to make an old fashioned lavender bottle, the lavender must not be too brittle. Here is one we made earlier’ as they used to say on Blue Peter! Good luck https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8C_m_QXW4DQ

 

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Roses

I planted a climber ten years ago, praying it was the same as Grandpa’s rose arch in London. He had returned from the Somme suffering from the aftermath of gas and shell shock and was hospitalised for two years. Later he worked part-time in the family fruit shop ‘R W Parkin and Sons’ in Goodge Street and walked back up the hill every evening from Tufnell Park Station. On most summer nights he could be found in the garden watering hls precious roses. Identical to mine

 

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The Poetry School

Wonderful walk in Rotherhithe with Tim Dooley as part of a Poetry School course ‘The Urban Pastoral’. Tim and Tamar Yoseloff take alternate weeks.
Tamar took us for a walk in Lambeth a couple of weeks ago. All with wonderful poems associated.
It was an extra treat for me because my Pa lived and worked in this area in the late seventies as part of an Adult Education programnme.

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Rottingdean Bazaar – Wow! James from Rottingdean Bazaar brings me a bouquet and a copy for each poet including me, featured in their new book ‘Paul Smith by Rottingdean Bazaar!’

I’ve been running this poetry group, which is strictly for beginners and aspiring poets, at Open Art Cafe for eight years. So thank you lovely poets and to James and Luke from Rottingdean Bazaar.

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Kemp Town Carnival – Loads of music, amazing food, craft stalls and fun!
Sheila (one of my daughter in laws) is here with her hand painted Glow bulbs. Robin is helping of course!
Going to be a long day and night!

 

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along the walkway

listening to rhythm of waves
washing the pebbles

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Red moons blue Mondays

thank goodness nearly Tuesday
and we are still friends

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74 Dartmouth Park Hill. N.19   – Art work I did a while ago but used for a project on family history earlier in the year at The Keep.
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Our Christmas Pantomine marionettes made in that house in the 50s that I filmed 15 years ago.
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I caught sight of her

checking her Oleander
light dancing on glass

Image may contain: sky, plant, cloud, tree, outdoor, nature and water  in memory of my mother.
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Christmas creeping up on us!

No tree
just branches placed in a pot carried from Les Beaux many years ago.
Out of the attic come the baubles, bells. the peg doll fairy, the painted Santa
and the sequinned boot bought at Galleries Lafayette, not much else we could afford!
The sock with a mouse made by my mother brings back memories of her mischief.
Outside simply baubles on bare branches.
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Little things please little minds
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The tree before and afterwards…
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Brighton
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Grandpa used to swear by the work of the Salvation Army but then he was a Great War veteran. Such a long time ago but find myself stopping to listen to a carol or two and pop a few bob in their tin in his memory
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The moon – haiku – the season of goodwill – pictures – my Christmas poems.

Out of the darkness
comes moonlight and reflection
time to care and share

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The Santa Special train

My train to Pulborough to meet up with Mandy Pannet and other wonderful poets was cancelled at the last minute. In my haste I got on a Santa Special!

Luckily managed to change at Three Bridges by which time dozens of excited children had been singing ”Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer!’ As I got off  a tiny Santa helper gave me a packet of love hearts! Yay!

I had a really beautiful present from my middle grandson who now lives in Japan (keeping it a secret) but included this tiny origami swan.
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My grandson had been invited to a Japanese wedding by a friend, which was an honour in itself. Apparentely the brides grandmother had made over 300 tiny origami swans, little more than the size of a thumb nail that were used like confetti. How special is that!
Christmas poems –
When I think about Christmas paper chains still come to mind. I notice they have started selling kits to make them in Brighton. But they were only strips of coloured paper made into a long garland. I haven’t got any new Christmas poems so repeating two that I have published in the past.

Paper Chain

Snow falls like flakes of memory
tucked under a warm blanket

cheeks pinched with cold
the window a filigree frost

rough sawn logs stacked in the grate
a comforting casserole in the oven

the smell of honeyed baked apples
stuffed with raisins

‘Gales in the Hebrides, snow expected
to continue in the Highlands’

Mr Crick the newsagent hanging a single
dusty paper chain in his window

Busy sparrows in a flurry of snow
spinning on the bird feeder

Mrs Kettle in her cottage with her goat
and cat huddle together to keep warm

The letter  ‘We are sorry your great
aunt died two months ago.

We are sure she would
have liked your letter returned herein.’

Another old favourite has to be Allsorts.

Allsorts

Everyone helped on Christmas eve, the children in the living room
trusted to make neat crosses on sprouts bottoms,
peel potatoes and prod the hot chestnuts

We’d laugh at my mother’s story of corn beef roast during the war.
Now a few years on it was a roast chicken killed by Grandma
out in the garden and hung in the scullery for two days

Grandpa staggered up the hill from the underground at eight
with apples, pears and nuts from our greengrocers in Goodge Street,
gifts from fellow shop keepers, glace fruits being our absolute favourite

Grandmother insisted all through the war there would be no unofficial dealings
her Methodist beliefs could not sanction anything dishonourable.
“Pity”, said Uncle Jack in later years, “we could have had butter, eggs, all sorts.”

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London lights – writers – poets – celebrations – launches – events

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On Wednesday broadened my horizons by attending presentations given at The National Poetry Library by Tamar Yoseloff, Clare Collison, Abigail Morley and Katherine Maris, exploring – ‘What is poetry’s relationship with art? Visual landscapes of the poem – ekphrastic poetry.
Beautiful presentations, completely absorbing. A wonderful little book of poems and art from National Poetry Library and Corrupted Poetry ‘Beyond Imitation’

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Remembered to sign up for Library’s newsletter after long gap – recommended.

It’s sometimes a bit of a pain to get up to London from outside Brighton, delayed trains, no trains, diverted trains, no driver, a rubber duck on the line.

I lived in London most of my life so guess I will always be a Londoner at heart!

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Women Writers and Journalists (SWWJ)

Christmas tea, with guest speaker Jackie Malton a former senior detective in the Met. now a consultant for crime series etc. and a fascinating speaker.

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Phoenix Arts Club

Wonderful launch at the Phoenix Arts Club in London for Jill Gardiner’s new poetry collection ‘With some wild women’.

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Introduced by friend and fellow poet Jackie Wills.  Poems exploring all aspects of lesbian love. Full of wit for bosoms and bras in her poem ‘Ten.’
There is tenderness in ‘Wigan Weekends.’
Jill’s passion for history comes into a her poetry. There is also a section on family, love and loss.
Neil Bartlett, Amanda Boxer, Diana Souhami three of her friends, each read one of her poems.
We had a scrumptious buffet as Jill’s guests.
An endless queue for book signing.
What a celebration!
  

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Finally modest events in Brighton that I am involved with.
Pier Poets

A full house and sparkle for last Pier Poetry of 2019 on Thursday. Wonderful local poets, a wide range of topics, thank you so much! We had a secret santa so brilliant poetry book exchange. We offer 5 minutes of open mic and time to socialise! Thank you New Writing South for your support.

 

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A Christmas poetry workshop in a local cafe.

Let’s peel clementines
sweet slices of memory
make paper baubles
hang poetry on branches
no sideshow here just sharing. 

HAPPY CHRISTMAS    Ann 

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The undercliff walk and a poem about the seaside as a child

The undercliff walk a place to reflect on magic and mystery.

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White cliffs and a cool blue sea
when the tide turns it churns up pebbles
and cuttlefish lie in sharp contrast.
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I live on the south coast now but am old enough to remember the time
when a visit to the seaside after the war was a truly  memorable experience

The Sunday School Outing
The first time many London children had seen the sea.
Those given tiny pictures of Jesus with a prayer for
good attendance climbed into the charabanc with
a packed lunch wrapped in pieces of washed cotton.

Girls clung to friends boys scrambled to the back
singing ‘Oh we do like to be beside the seaside’ to pass
the time until Miss Blossom insisted on something more
suitable like ‘Jesus bids us shine like a clear bright light’.

On arrival we’d huddle on ex army ground sheets braver
girls tucked Sunday best dresses into school knickers to
paddle while boastful boys discarded shoes and socks to run
headlong into the waves wet through for the rest of the day.

At one o’clock precisely it was time to eat Marmite sandwiches
to sip weak orange drinks before dedicated helpers snatch
a nap and we’d creep away to annoy crabs and build sand
castles towers and turrets to decorate with slipper shells.

Pocket money collected in advance and added to church
funds ensured every child queued for ice cream
buoyed with confidence it was time to bury the lay preacher
up to his shoulders in the sand.

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I discover a journal about my visit to India in the 80s!

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I was having a big clearout on Sunday when I came across three rather worn black sketchbooks. Very pleased to discover one was written a journal of the trip with my friend/ colleague Sunita and her two children in ’88.

Sunita’s husband had a full time job but she and I both worked in community education in Lambeth so we had long breaks. The plan was to stay with Sunita’s family in different parts of India, which we did.

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It was not possible for my children to come but they were older than Sunita’s and both were happy to stay with their grandparents. Although they were not keen that I had to sell our old banger to pay for my fare!

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I hope there will be some interesting blog posts or even some poetry to come as a result of these wonderful memories.

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Arriving in India

The heat sucked life out of her body
her skin felt strangely numb
heartbeat quickening
lungs full of heavy heat.

Eyes strain
a desperate need to keep focused
as her whole body succumbed to fatigue.

So this is India.
Can death be this simple?
Lost in the mountains, our voices call out

The sky is dark, lit by a million stars.
We cease to care if anyone finds us.

On the Ganges,
boats made of banana leaves,
with tiny tea lights
bounce on the waves.
Taking the souls of loved ones
to a secret destination.

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