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"...ohhh...red mist...red carpet...red flowers...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 house...shopping in town...rugby 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 mobiles....mobile 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 conversation..you know what I mean...sometimes we call it a rant...it 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 this...so 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 ...like 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 unfurl...like 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 experience...it 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.

Tuesday, May 26

...queen anne...her lace and other wild flowers...



The last week in May and the roadsides and lanes are white with the delicate florets of the wild flower called queen anne's lace.....Anthriscus sylvestris...to the afficionados of "Spring Watch"...
..or wild carrot...



Queen Anne was tatting white lace. (Tatting is the all-but-lost art of making lace by hand.) The beautiful white lace she was tatting became the white lacy flowers of the wild carrot plant. She pricked her finger and one drop of blood oozed out. This became the central dark red or purple sterile floret that is present on some, but not all, Queen Anne's Lace flowers.
Legends disagree as to which Queen Anne was tatting such lovely lace. Some say it was Anne (1574 - 1619), the first Stuart Queen Anne, who was brought over from Denmark at fourteen years of age to be a Queen to King James of Scotland. Others argue it was Anne (1665 - 1714), the daughter of William and Mary, and the last monarch in the Stuart line. Both Annes died in their forties!

...Cant help but stop every few yards and take another pic..."wait potter..I'll be with you in a minute!"....patient man!!!






































...and all on the magic lane that leads to "Jack Scout" and "Jenny Brown's Point ".










Friday, May 22

Discovering John Blakemore...photographer.



I've discovered the work of the photographer...John Blakemore...yes I know ...rather late in his life...but sooner late than never.

So I'm inspired by his work to try to push my own photography on a bit.

His work on tulips started me off as a pot in the living room was almost dead and yet still reaching out for the light....I did what "they" recommend...took loads and loads of the same thing but each one slightly different and that assessed them before editing.



 ...at the same time I had an article about Steichen and his iconic photo of Gloria Swanson around ...reading it from time to time in between other things...and so I tried the black net over the lens to capture a distance in the pics....
...fun and maybe a bit of success and a moving on in what I am trying to achieve.

A Poem for Thursday...."The Aunt"







AUNT HELEN
I once heard them call her the weak one,
The youngest, the runt of the pack.
Without grace they said, weak-boned
Hen-chested,  round backed.
Taken away from her mother perhaps
Taken away too soon?
Taken away from family
And the comforts of her home.
I loved her, I love her still,
It was never a slight for me
To get the sharpness of her tongue
Or the sting of her repartee.
Dympsy pink, eau de nil!
Mauve and duck egg blue.
Cherry trees in the late spring
From the veranda viewed.
Garlic flowers in the woods behind
And the heady perfume of bells.
I gathered up armfuls in April days
Of the blueing crooks in the dell.
Now all I have is the ground I stand on,
That and nothing more.
And fast fading memories of our walks
On the  lough's grey stoney shore.
And the smell of tweed skirt from Donegal,
 Damp in the moist-laden air.
With a whiff of the essence of violets
That told you the aunt had been there.

Saturday, May 16

straw...berries...


Always an exciting time waiting for the first plump ruby red strawberry of the new season...