Monday, November 16

A Poem for Thursday..."Just Desserts"

The prompt on Thursday morning was...."Desserts"...but with out fail everyone of us thought of "Just desserts". So the stories were rich with comeuppances!!
I decided to go for lists. We had been encouraged at the last workshop at Aldeburgh to think along this this is what arrived. applies to whatever you do....

Tuesday, November 10

We made our now annual expedition to The Aldeburgh Poetry Festival this weekend just gone. It's held mainly in the village of Snape at The Snape Maltings...very apt for the potter and wife!
Our association with this part of Suffolk goes back to the years of the teenage children. But the festival..only the last three years. The potter has some ceramics in the Gallery there and also in The Buckenham Gallery in Southwold there's a double reason to take the six hour trip from here in the north west to East Anglia. And a further reason as the oldest grandgirl is now at UEA  in her second year and getting more political by the moment!!
But the festival was just great this year. I love the different approaches. The "academic"...the "comedic"...the "ex-punk"...the "rock-star"...the "rap poet"....and the madness of the open-mike late night session!!
Each year I've made the effort to get to as many sessions as I have energy....and these poets are a sample of those I heard speak this time.
Attila The Stockbroker, Gerry Loose, Kei Miller, Helen Mort, Jeremy Reed, Valerie Rouzeau, Pedro Serrano, Susan Wicks, Jane Duran, Peter Sansom and Jeni Smith.
From the workshops to the Q&A sessions the talks and the readings, it's a feast of words and emotions.
  Now I will have to have a go at putting it all into practice....
I plucked up enough courage to have a go at the open mike session in The Plough and Sail at Snape on the Saturday evening.....this was my contribution!

...hands shaking by the time I had finished!!...

Sunday, September 27

Room 101

Thursday...and it's writer's workshop and the prompt is...
Room 101
We're to choose three things/ people/ situations we would like banned forever and thrown into that fearful room that Orwell wrote so graphically about!

Oh dear! What to put in? I'm thinking that there is so much to be dumped at the moment, that I'm not sure where to start.
Well let's see.I could start with the Syrian situation.That doesn't mean that I want to dump any people in that room.No no never. But the situation that has initiated the whole shebang. I read this week that the real reason has nothing whatsoever to do with bombs and fighting. No no. The real reason apparantly is ...the escalation of global warming. Yes.  Syria's fields have dried up. Parched. Dry. no rain falls.
We should have been thinking about that some decades ago. People need food. People need water.  Even the Pope himself got in on the act this week in Washington. I heard him say it this morning on the early news in his wonderful hesitant English. Too late though for the Syrians or others in that desperate situation as well.The only thing to do is put the war and all the trouble into room 101.

And talking about global warming and how to counteract the consequences, I heard the head of Greenpeace say...also on the early news..he's all for technologies.Well good. We need all the help we can get. Need to go forward with up-to-date technology. So..that means solar energy. They say that the north African deserts alone, fitted up with solar energy farms could produce enough energy to light up the whole world.
But wind farms? Oh dear I feel I could get into trouble here. I would put most of them into that scary room.We were travelling last week through the hills and valleys of our lovely northern countryside, when... bang... wallop.. on the top of a magnificent mountain...a row of white giants! And do you know I've heard that if the wind is too strong or if the wind is non existant...well they don't even work!

Think I'd better move swiftly on! I know this is a very emotive subject...not that it could be any more emotive than a drought in Syria and the people in power deciding who gets the water and who doesn't.
Anyway I'm think now about the third lot to go in the room. I'm sure that we all want litter louts and those owners who leave their doggy parcels halfway across the pavement, put into the room...
But I want to put in all of those drivers who think that their cars will be safer if they park them up on the pavement. Especially in narrow suburban streets. No room left for babes in prams. So on to the busy road they must be pushed. Must take a chance and dice with death as the drivers whizz past them, inches away from the pram wheels. Not that my grand daughter does that. No no!. She doesn't go out on to the road in her motorised wheelchair. Her policy is if there's not enough room between the wall or hedge and the passenger door of the parked car......just to plough on...!! Oh I hear you say, what if she scrapes the side of the car? Well the answer to that gets scraped! The family worked that policy out over 19 years of frustration.

I think we could did the Syrian people. Frustration boils over in drastic situations and the consequences are not always pretty. We've seen that on our screens recently. It takes years to end up in certain scenarios and years more to come to terms with new situations...if ever.

Monday, September 21

Thursday morning prompt...."Sink or Swim"

Thursday morning is writing workshop morning. Twelve chairs in a ring around the room and each week a prompt given to write something in the two hours available.
It can be prose, poetry, fact , fiction, play or any other style preferred. But the writing is serious. Not a time for levity! Twenty minutes before the end it's pens down...finished or not...and then a reading from each one there.
This prompt came the week of the awful Chinese plane crash...when already news of the trouble in Ukraine had preempted the war in Syria. Already this week news has taken another turn with the pictures of the many fleeing from Syria....but on this week....the media was more interested in the plane we forget...

Sink or Swim

Terry Wogan used to say, "Gone and never called me mother".
I was thinking about that yesterday when the news broke about the plane disaster.
We Irish like to take the dark, and lighten it with tongue in cheek
Black humour we call that!
It's like adding butter and cream to spuds and scallions
Helps the disasters of life to be more acceptable.
Not that the Chinese feel that way at this moment
Not much swimming to the far shore there
A bit too far I'd say, a lot of crying and tearing of hair
And the media having a  heyday and taking our minds off other politics.
We Irish do most of our crying in private and
We're more likely to pop down to the pub sometime
Around ten o'clock in the evening, just in time
For the diddly da music to get going. Sink a few
And set the world to rights, we'll probably agreeThat it's going to hell in a bucket.
I've been doing a wee bit of thinking about Ukraine
As well. That situation has been pushed out
Of the limelight somewhat.
We once had a couple of children stay with us
For a fortnight, to build up their vitamins
After the Chernobyl affair.
They tried to eat bananas with the skin on.
But after all that they had been through
What did they want? Most of all...American bubble gum.
We picked the dried up lumps off the bottom
Of the chairs for months after that, yes, American bubble gum.
That certainly sums up the realities of life
Some may say the sins of the fathers and all that....
And here we are back to square one, stuck
With the Orwellian thought that once again the world
Is turning cold .
The media circus has seemed to sink Syria in the mire.
Of the political moment I see, plus ca change.

Friday, June 5

Writer's Workshop and A Poem for Thursday..."I can't write like Stephen Berg".

 ...Thursday writer's workshop is always a joy...not because of what I write ...but to hear the amazing stories and poems that emerge from each of the writers' pens over less than two hours work....
The prompt this week was the word.."Red" blood!!!

Mine was blood and DNA....
"A Phone Call"
The phone rang and I answered it. Just a phone call, like any other phone call. A call from the sister. I say THE sister as I only had one sister. She was the little pet of the family. Seven years between us meant that I was the big sister. I was the "can you look after your sister love?" person designated to take her to whatever I was going to myself. Friend's in match at the sports ground down the Ravenhill....Can you imagine a seven year old standing in the crowd when it swayed left and right as the ball alternated up and down the pitch? Mum had no idea what a rugby crowd was like. So I'm yelling part time for the school team and the rest of the time for the sister to "watch out!"..."stop standing on my toes!"..."leave go of my legs!"
Anyway, back to the phone call. Well we're great friends now. Although we've gone in very different directions, we're closer than ever. And it's a bad week if we don't chat and catch up on family news, and find something to have a belly laugh about. All the years of memories good and bad, happy and sad with the three major adults in the family gone now. So we cling to our relationship and recognize the stabilizing effect it has on our everyday existance.
Everyone has things that happen to "upset the apple cart". The unexpected, round the corner things. You know..illness, separation, divorce, finance, redundancy....need I go on! So it's always good to have absolutes to keep your feet firmly on the ground of life. We find normalising situations as quickly as possible a good premise to go on. After all everything is normal when you add up your experiences and divide by the number you first thought of!
And phone calls are such a great normaliser in our modern world. Especially now that we all have our phones that is...not mobile homes! Too normal I think when I see the young gazing into screens or business people in cafes or on trains instructing and pontificating in loud important voices...bah!
The sun was shining in through the french windows as the phone rang. I pulled the curtain across to stop me squinting in the bright sunlight. Apart from that I often pulled it across just to see the cicadas in the pattern of the cloth. I bought it at a flea market in Provence many years ago. I find it good to have happy memories around..oh and also good if the phone call should get a bit boring or one-sided. 
But that's not normally the way with the sister can I say...too much to gossip about. Family goings-on to relate. We trip over ourselves wordily getting so much into the call.Outdoing each other in funny anecdotes and dissing those others whose antics make us shake our heads. It's the same in every family. There are those you are glad are members and then there are others who although not on your wavelength actually make for an interesting know what I mean...sometimes we call it a eases the tensions of life!
"Hi!" I said. "How's things?". There was silence. "Are you still there?". "Yes". The sister sighed. "Something up?"...I anticipated a bit of a rant. Nothing. "Speak to me...."
 She spoke."It's true....we have another sister!". 

Then this afternoon I read Antony Wilson's wonderful poetry blog..."Lifesaving Poems"..blogs like full of information and poets that I've yet to explore, have been a veritable godsend in the blogger world...and so I said...I can't write like Stephen Berg...and then promptly wrote Geraldine Snape!!!

I can't write like Stephen Berg
But Margaret says,"I like your asides."
Those are the funny bits I put in the writing
At the Thursday workshop.
I think women are good at asides
It takes the sting out of the parts of life
We want to normalise.
Normalise...what's that all about?
I learnt that from Doreen years ago
She needed it.
And the"professionals" said
"That how you'll cope with everything."
They were dead right there.
We took it on as a mantra.
You know those words the Buddists talk about?
But we didn't think George Harrison's
Hari, Hari, suited our situation.
So we took on,"normalise",
That's all we needed to say to one another.
George put the shelves up in the off license
When he was just seventeen we heard.
That's an aside, things were getting too serious,
So I put that in.
But I like the story anyway.
The potter took them down as soon as we bought the shop.

Tuesday, June 2

The opening of the poppies...

I wait each year for the oriental poppies to appear....
and then for the blooms to a flamenco dancer swirling her silk skirt.

 June 2013 ....

June 2014...

 June 2015...

Thursday, May 28

A Poem for Thursday..."A Time in Times"

There are times in all of our lives when we have to stop on the road we are travelling...look around at the circumstances...and review the situation.
It can be a change of direction is needed...and a change of priorities
This was our made us the people we are today.
A Time in Times.

We disappeared into a nether world.
Became invisible and without form.
People who had known us passed by unblinking
Those who sensed our presence were few and far between.
All that we had been had disappeared with the mists of time.
Persona non gratis is what we became.
Even Harry Potter could not have gone as completely as we did.
So new rules had to be formed.
New priorities and timings worked out.
This nether world was to us an enigma.
And so we set to learn the laws in our new country.