A young woman reflects on poets – One A Week 2020

A young woman reflects on poets

I hate poets
Always going on about stuff
and looking for rhymes
that illustrate man’s condition and tap into the zeitgeist and hit the spot –
yeah, well, they don’t do a lot. They write poems that are new while they queue, while they sue,
poems that are true and blue and goo and moo and shoe and loo oh and woo
I’m running out of rhymes now. Ooooh

You won’t woo me with poetry, mate
Peel me an olive, stuff me a grape
and lose your strange metaphorical shape
and get your hair cut, you look a right state
Don’t be believing and thinking I’m teasing
Most poets are starving for a very good reason
And yes this may sound like I’m biting your hand
but it wrote itself, yeah, this thing wasn’t planned

I don’t get soppy poets, their moons and their junes
Their sun, sea and similies, bells hells and runes
and endless reflections on life’s tiny blips
and shedloads of dictionaries from their sweet lips
If this is depressing, if it’s making you blue,
wind an ear round and listen to what we could do …

Write me on to a sheepskin and pour me a wine
Things will be fine without one more line
Close your eyes, close the door, I’ll get two bottles more
and we’ll make some poetry
here
on the floor

Lockdown Lullaby: Because The Kiss Is Missing – One A Week 2020

I wrote two songs this week, one a break-up song and this more jolly one – so I decided to post whichever song my cat placed his paw on first. Not sure the outcome is valid since I only have a virtual cat right now – name of Geoffrey Kitten, a key character in my novel, currently undergoing edits and rewrites.

Lockdown Lullaby: Because the Kiss Is Missing

Why do you remind me of something that is missing?
Just as I’ve forgotten, you do it every time you do
Remind me of the kissing, because the kiss is missing
I’m missing all the kissing and I am missing you

If you were a flower I would leave you growing there
If you were a spaceman I’d beg you to stay
If you were a mermaid I would let you drift and dream
Though I would miss you very much, I’d miss you every day

Why do you remind me of something that is missing?
Just as I’ve forgotten, you do it every time you do
Remind me of the kissing, because the kiss is missing
I’m missing all the kissing and I am missing you

If you were a honey bee, I would let you stay for tea
If you were a butterfly I would set you free
If you were a star above, I would take your picture
And put it in my pocket, to keep me company

Why do you remind me of something that is missing?
Just as I’ve forgotten, you do it every time you do
Remind me of the kissing, because the kiss is missing
I’m missing all the kissing and I am missing you

I wish I was an engineer, ‘cause I could make a bridge to you
Or fashion up an air balloon to drop me at your door
The longer we are far apart the more I grow to love you
As every single day goes by, I love you more and more

That’s why you remind me of something that’s missing
Just as I’ve forgotten, you do it every time you do
Remind me of the kissing, because the kiss is missing
I’m missing all the kissing and I am missing you

 

Where Did My Little Girl Go? – One A Week 2020

Where Did My Little Girl Go?

I have this dream sometimes
in which I watch, helpless, as your balloon takes flight
We run together, passing pier after pier
But you cannot catch the balloon and nor can I

As the eternal waters of Puget Sound
washed your treasure into the Pacific,
you became a stowaway
and I a fugitive
and ever since I confess escape
to heat-waved innocence, when you danced
off-the-head with toddler joy,
morning-mown grass clinging to your afternoon skirt

Lately I have succumbed to the inevitable
The fragility, as hopeless as that floating, free balloon
I understand what conjures up this sleight of transformation
I forgive the ticking thief that took you,
hid you where I cannot find you,
except in dreams

Madame Lou Graham – One A Week 2020

This post is dedicated to Dale of Friday Fictioneers. FF is run admirably efficiently and lovingly by very talented and generous writer Rochelle Wisoff-Fields and Dale’s posts are fabulous slices of life and always a great pleasure to receive. If you want to write a hundred word story from a photo prompt, FF is for you.
This week Dale posted “Dreams” which reminded me of my several weeks in Seattle in early 2019 – and my fascination with a lady called Lou Graham who valiantly assisted with keeping Seattle financially afloat back in the day. Lou’s business sense, extraordinary generosity and intelligence (she valued education above all else) made her a true City Mother. There is more to read about Lou in Bill Speidel’s funny and informative love letter to Seattle, his excellent book: “Sons of the Profits”.

Madame Lou Graham

Gentlemen, good evening, I hope you’re feeling bright
I’m going to build a city from my ladies of the night
Gentlemen please take a seat
Careless love is very sweet
Your dollar is our wine and meat
Last time or your first time, we will make you feel fine
If you tread the right line, you know what I mean?
We’ll love you for an hour, holding all the power
In a little flower
And a clip of green
It’s not a pretty city and it will never be
The only pretty in this city’s – you and me
Dancing with a stranger, streetcars made of danger
Purple shade and angels, turn such corners here
Come mining for the treasure of a simple pleasure
And we don’t count or measure
Before we take you there
It’s not a pretty city and it will never be
The only pretty in this city’s money, you and me
Gentlemen, good evening, I hope you’re feeling bright
I’m going to build this city from my ladies of the night
Gentlemen please take a seat
Careless love is very sweet
Your dollar is our wine and meat
And there are children we must teach
Little ones, open your books, I got by with work and looks
Keeping tabs on uptown crooks
Who’d steal souls from the dead
But if you have a song to sing, you can’t do a better thing
Except put education in a little girl’s head
Gentlemen, good evening, I hope you’re feeling bright
I have built this city from my ladies of the night
You will not hear so much of me as you do of the other three
But if it hadn’t been for me, there’d be no city – right?
There’s dirt and gold on any street
If you’re the mining kind
Working girls all need to eat
Your dollar is our books and meat
And seeing you is such a treat
The pleasure was all mine
Gentlemen good evening, I hope that you’re still bright
You all built this city from my ladies of the night
Careless love is oh so sweet, hey Senator, vacate that seat
So happy that we chanced to meet
We’ll rendevous again next week
Why thank you, Sir! Here’s your receipt
Good luck, bon chance, goodnight
Madame Lou Graham
Lou Graham and her companions circa 1888

 

 

 

 

Christopher Columbus Knew About the Sea – One A Week 2020

I am privileged to have had this poem published in the literary journal Acumen – comments and interpretations would be great – thank you for reading on …

Christopher Columbus Knew About the Sea

How amazing it is,
the way it waits
to take you places
you’ve never been.

One night you and I
walked on a beach
and I got cold feet.
You let me go,
but when we parted
you travelled
with me in my head
and I couldn’t push
you overboard.

Next time we met
we opened an atlas
and dug out a compass,
but we tore at the maps
and hurt the compass
to silvery dust.

When we found our balance
you showed your rope skills
and I saw how bonds are made.
At night in my sleep you
and I untie tens of knots
and get away on the sail
of each other’s lives.

If my dream comes real
you’ll navigate
by the stars,
keep us safe,
guide us through
the scariest waters
the weirdest seas.

I know you’ll try
your very best
not to let go the sextant
from your gentle hands,
but what if it slips
and I stand helpless
as it falls, watch
it float for a moment,
then disappear?


	

I am Queen Bee – One A Week 2020

A sombre reflection on lockdown this week. Our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is not yet discharged from hospital. I do not ally myself to political parties, I just don’t get it. What’s more, like Groucho Marx I thoroughly dislike the idea of any club that would have me as a member. I not believe in a supreme being, who logically must be both nice and nasty. I am not a spiritual person.

But I prayed last night for my Prime Minister’s recovery and for the whole world to get better.

Today I wrote this poem. A reflection on isolation which is actually not a huge hardship to a writer like me so don’t think for one moment I’m complaining. I know I am a very lucky person. The hardest thing I have to do at the moment is think of an excuse for not being available when everybody knows exactly where I am.

I am Queen Bee
but my hive is empty
I miss my children
I am a princess in a tower
but my prince cannot climb my hair
because of infection risk
I am a super moon,
pink and unusual
and very much alone
in this strange new constellation
I am a weaver of dreams
A prodder at destiny
Maybe I will write about it
A book nobody will read
because it is such a common tale
I am the modern Amazon goddess,
my visitors reduced to sad men
who knock and run away
Their ringmaster worships at the shrine of my front door
and pays his men to take risks and deliver
cardboarded offerings

Don’t Get Me Wrong – One A Week

A week is a long time in the situation we are currently trying to get our heads round and nature is my (physically) closest friend right now. The buds, the birds, the bloomin’ lovely poems friends are sending. So I had planned to post another nature poem this week and it will certainly happen next week or the week after or the week after that but for now, my parodying side has kicked in – I suppose I needed to lighten up. I wrote it today. Could have done half a chapter in the time but that’s writing for you. Any excuse to procrastinate.

Important fact: Line 2 Verse 4 is the brilliant Chrissie Hynde’s, not mine, so very very very brilliant, I had to include it. I wish I could write lyrics like that.

 

Don’t get me wrong
I am fine in isolation
It gives me time to do stuff
Explore my creativity

Don’t get me wrong
I am not bored, no no not a bit
And if the wide world cannot visit
I do not give a – toss

Don’t get me wrong

Don’t get me wrong
Now I talk to people not here
What’s more I’ve married my new sofa
(It’s high time I permed the cat)

Don’t get me wrong
My mind is split like light refracted
but I know the cure is bourbon
and another day in bed

Once in a while
it hits the fan
Seemingly for no reason,
just the touch of a hand
Then suddenly lock up, Boris gets sick
and who can explain the poverty and pain?

Not me, I’m too thick

Don’t get me wrong
if I don’t Skype this afternoon
See, I might start decorating
when I have sobered up

Don’t get me wrong
The novel’s still on my To Do list,
just after “Learn the violin”
and another hour in bed

Weather Forecastings: One A Week 2020

I’m sure it’s obvious why this week’s poem, inspired by and created from the work of the late Hampshire writer and broadcaster Norman Goodland, briefly escapes through the window and into the open air. Life’s changed but thankfully Nature – in her inimitable and unstoppable way – is busting out in the UK.
This morning brought evidence of low temperature overnight, a test of strength for tender shoots. (A dozen neighbours’ cars stand patiently outside, waiting to be needed again, frosted like Christmas cakes.)
As those brave shoots insist on pushing on through, my posts will stay in Norman’s countryside for the next couple of weeks.
Holding good thoughts for everyone, especially our amazing frontline workers, in these uncertain times.

Weather Forecastings

Cirrus clouds will forecast rain
with curving plumes
that country folk call mares’ tails
For fine weather the sun sets red,
the moon and stars shine clear
Sunrise is unspectacular
but flocks and herds
spread loosely in the fields
Come rain or sun
the lark sweeps upward
and disappears to spin
her endless story in the sky

 

 

This Is My Space – One a Week 2020

What a difference a few days can make – a real lesson in life to anyone who, like me, just doesn’t really pay too much attention until that unavoidable wake-up call yells in her face. I think I’m still kind of in shock because I’ve only just got to posting my One for this week and I no longer felt right about the poem I’d planned. Around this time last year I had just returned from several happy weeks in Seattle. A year later and suddenly freedom to travel and reap all its benefits, then write about it in the way of this week’s poem, is now currently denied to almost everyone in the world. So. I’m awake. Still in shock but I’m counting my blessings. Sorry for the cliché but I surely am! And I am sending a good thought to everyone and, if you have been, thanks for reading this long preamble.

This Is My Space

Today the Hampshire hills are softer, greener
than I remembered them
The High Street is busy
and I like the noises
The natives are friendly
Swans are courting on the pond
The sheltering trees are coming into leaf
There is fresh enchantment in bird hierarchy,
the way everyone politely puts a case,
to keep his distance and her space,
I relish the entertainment of a squabble
A few fluffed feathers of dissent
The pleasure of this homecoming
is my final gift from Seattle, the generous city
that welcomed me
I liked its style, the cut of it
I would go back
I will go back
However I am surprised
how good it is to be back here
I would suggest, if you don’t mind,
to souls enduring periodic aimlessness,
get away for a while
When you return you may know for certain
where you belong,
and whether, this time,
you have really found
your way home

Seattle

Seattle

First Night After the Fall – One a Week 2020

(From “A Fellow With A Poet’s Face” – the tale of a most unusual, and ultimately tragic, love affair)

My happy heavens cracked and shattered yesterday
You stumbled and collapsed here on my garden path
and closed your eyes and left me one last time
Ours was a fairly well-kept secret, yours and mine
Now I must hide my broken heart from weekend guests

How I could use a rich mix of high-key tonight:
a deep, strong shot of Gladys Cooper,
a generous ounce of Mrs Patrick Campbell
and a dash of Marie Lloyd. I fool myself. I could not veil
my misery with every silk the daughter of Herodias owned

I sense you by my side as ever, love of mine. You gave me
a strongbox full of joy and the courage, the will
to crack its code and I went for it like a wide-eyed girl
on life’s strange stage, and you made sense of everything
No appetite, my darling, for the lines I’ll speak tonight

Guests depend on their hostess. I shall do my very best
but it’s agony to give this voice you’ll never hear again
I watch my right hand clasp a small bouquet
and I return the giver’s smile as if I am quite sane
I even make small talk of books and summer rain

I want to scream. I want the past, the sweet fresh blooms
from my garden, the stairs, our quickening pace, our giggling
whispering lovely flight. Remember? Two perfect flowerheads,
two people, and one bed. When I unwrapped the stems,
petals dropped and bonded with our skin, like skin

I could use a rich mix of high-key tonight
A strong shot of Gertie Millar
A generous ounce of Fanny Burney, and a little Lily Elsie
Nothing will entirely cloak and veil my misery, not tonight
nor ever, love of mine