Monday, April 23, 2018

Window Shoppers

28th April

Soon there won't be any shops for the window shoppers to browse in . That would be a shame.

Sainsbury's boss Justin King will suggest that derelict shops like these in Southwark, London, could be converted into classrooms or houses.

12th April 2018

A response to The Wasteland , by T.S.Eliot. 
I have used some of his lines throughout this poem.

Window Shoppers 

Last year for three months
 it was a bookshop,
large windows, terracotta frontage.
Mrs Baker came in on Thursdays,
after her visit to the hairdressers,
silver grey re-curled 
She'd stay for an hour, maybe more,
run her stick along the floor,
always buy a book. 
Then for nineteen weeks, 
the owner was very precise,
 it was a florists,
violet, red, yellow, speckled the various
shades of green all along the front.
Long departed now, no forwarding address .
For many months thereafter,
empty, memory and desire stirring,
 Walls burned green and orange,
 Framed by coloured stone, 
musty odor, like gas, escaping to g
concerned passers by. 
Today, newly painted in purple gloss, 
no sign of dross or moss, 
now, offices of a law firm.
Suited men, women,
carry briefcases,
frowns on their brows 
enter in the morning  at 8.30
and leave in the evening at five
Next door is the Corner CafĂ©, 
chairs spill out onto pebbles and pavement
the inviting smell of bacon,
 percolated coffee,
 summer sun reflects sky upon glass tops.
On rainy days the sound of chatter and a clatter,
 from within.
where  little groups huddle together round small tables,
Elegantly laid with tea pots,  china cups, saucers
Here, town councilors drink coffee 
nod their heads,  talk for an hour.
On the other side of the cafe, 
two hollow sepulchers
 stand empty, unloved,
long abandoned
grubby from want of human touch,
plaster falls from walls,
Nothing to attract the lover of beauty, 
or  the discerning window shopper. 
But,  beside them,  New Look 
glass front displays goods , 
racks of colour entice hungry shoppers
 to step inside.
a few staff members hover in anticipation,
try to catch the eye.
Up and down the street,  people wander,
 most out for a stroll ,
 not to buy, just to look
As one might go to the woods or the mountains.
No need today to rush about the shops
no need to get frustrated trying
  to find those items that we need. 
Instead, from the comfort of our sofa,
 on any number of electronic devices,
we  purchase what we want.
The High Street only a leisure activity
"Let's have a walk around the shops”  -  people say.
A museum of past times -
 you ought to be ashamed to look so antique.
What a wicked pack of cards for shopkeepers ,
 dealing as they do in profit and loss
With rates going up and would be customers 
 only window shopping.
Soon they will be gone -
 ruins tolling reminiscent bells
And I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

From Where

15th April 2018

Here are some ramblings in response to Origens , by Imelda Maguire:

From Where Do I Come

I come from the edge of the city,
that suburban, semi-detached, quiet place on the hill,
from a father who was orphaned before he could speak, 
who remembered the bomb shelters, the ration books.
From a father who was himself evacuated during the war.
I come from that "we worked hard to get here"  place.
My father proud to have had an education, 
proud to have become, "blue collar"
to have left the trowel behind.
I come from that stock of women
who made more of what they were given,
who rose  from the soil of their ancestors. 
From a mother who ran, ran barefoot 
from  want and hunger.
Who spent her life adding to her funds,
working hard for her money, saving her money,
afraid somehow, it might evaporate.
I come from that country of alone, 
where all physical needs were cared for 
but where, my heart was barren wasteland,
where the hope of my father hung round my neck
a noose strangling my own true longing. 
I come from a family of fighters 
Chains are loosened and the battle goes on 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Music of Life

11th April 2018

As the noise in the church hall buzzed around us while we prepared dinner for fifty, with the accompaniment of clattering pans and tinkling glasses and happy laughter, i was reminded that this time last year I was just getting over a problem I'd had with my hearing. It's interesting how much you notice different sounds and appreciate them when you've been struggling to make sense of the world whilst "locked in" your own quiet space. It's earily isolating. It has given me an empathy with those like some of the people we served today who suffer so much with hearing loss.
Last year I wrote a poem about it:

9th April :
For a few months I have been troubled with poor hearing. It was probably wax and has since cleared up - well almost. Whilst not being able to hear that well I discovered how much I value ( or should value) that particular sense.

The Music of Life

It occurs to me to be thankful 
That I can hear those particular sounds.
His soft voice -  a whisper,
"Are you awake?"
Delicate singing of birds greeting 
The day.
Welcome sound of water running 
In the kitchen,
Kettle boiling,
Cups clattering,
Tinkling of spoon,
Music playing - radio 2, 
Soft steps on the stair,
When he  brings the tray
With morning tea.

Miranda Kerr Blessings 3-Piece Set

Buzz of bee circling the garden,
Water bubbling in pond 
Disturbed by fish.
Engine of aeroplane 
In distant blue.
Revving of neighbours car
Like clockwork.
Fluttering sound of trees 
Rustling leaves in breeze.
Shrieks of joy from children 
Two gardens down.
And the doorbell ringing
Calling me urgently 
To come and answer 

For all the above 
And much, much, more,
I am so thankful

Monday, April 9, 2018


9th April.

Here is the first flower this year on our pond. A sign of hope that spring in definitely trying to break through. There are green leaves also on my rose bushes and they are thrusting forward with new growth .
It was a special moment as I waited for just a few seconds before taking this picture. An encounter with a fresh beginning, right at the start of the promised unfolding .
It's a funny thing the idea of encounter.
How many ways can we make an encounter? There must be many.
I encounter peculiar people when travelling by train to London.
I'll just tell you about one.
For the most part nobody gives eye contact, preferring their newspapers- the Metro, the Daily Mail, the Gaurdian - or their phones on which they watch endless episodes of their favourite soaps or they might be on their laptops and tablets where they tap away as if the world as they know it would collapse around them should they dare to look away from the screen.
But occasionally someone will pick me out , will try to talk to me. Yes, quite odd. And it doesn't depend on weather or not I'm reading my book or looking at my phone. I must have something about me that says, "yes, she looks as if she's desperate to hear my story"
Anyway, last week I had to change trains and while waiting for the next one, standing quietly by myself, a lady started a conversation - just about trains and waiting . As our train pulled into the station i thought ( and hoped) we would go our separate ways.
But no!
She had saved me a seat  ( so kind, you might say)!
So, for the next two stops I listened to her tell of her great excitement about her friend's 40th birthday which was where she was headed. They were going to be going to a spa at a local hotel and then back to the house of her friend to watch films  ( Paddington Bear, no less), drink Prosceco and laugh , yes they were going to do a lot of laughing , she assured me.
I said very little , but by the time we arrived at her stop it was like she thought we were "best friends"!!
"How lovely to meet you," she beamed, "I hope you have a great weekend."
I said goodbye politely and settled back with my soduko puzzle for the last part of my journey.

So, was that a "real" encounter, bearing in mind that at the end of it she knew virtually nothing about me??

This poem from last April deals with the desire for encounter:

The Mountain

I build a mountain , monument to passions,
Daily piling on more earth,
The soil of attachments,
Keeping me from getting close
To you

So much now stands in the air between us
That space that isn't space
Filled as it is with life's distractions
 I cannot hope to crawl close
To see you

And suddenly all seems like dust
A pile of nothing but rubbish
And what's important,  I now see
Is how will  I get  near
To you

So, with teaspoon, I dig at the face
Of the huge mountainside
Little by little arm swinging in rolling rhythm
I throw the dirt behind until I get
To you

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

50th Birthday

4th April 2018

This poem from the challenge last year gives a good image of how difficult it is sometimes to get out and have fun. I remember clearly not wanting to make the effort. And of course it was a brilliant evening and I could have turned up in a track suit and would have been just as warmly accepted.

Burgundy Red

The  pile of clothes grows on the bed
With it, deep inside, so does my dread.
I want to go, yes, I want to,  that's for sure
But how am I going to get out the door?

A fiftieth birthday a milestone to celebrate
So I have to be there, she is a best mate .
And I know when I manage to get myself out,
I'll enjoy the whole thing , of that there's no doubt.

So I find stretchy trousers-sleek, comfy and black,
At least I'll be sitting - won't look like a sack.
With my old  retro top in burgundy red
And lipstick that matches, there by my bed.

Now I'm ready, but don't want to be the first one there,
Debating whether to stand and wait or go sit on a chair.
So I leave the house past  the time we have set
To meet at the restaurant, so I know I'll be met.

What a greeting I get when I walk in the door,
Champagne on the table and more on the floor.
The intention , it's clear, is to have a good crack
Laughing all evening to the moon and back

Hope at Easter

3rd April 2018.

I am amazed to discover that I there have been over 40,000 visits to my blog!! Yes, I know, hard to believe, isn't it ? Well it's all down to you, my lovely readers. I feel I have let you down lately though with the frequency and quality of posts. But...

Last year I was doing the "Poem a Day In April" challenge. I can't do it this year but thought I'd just take a look back to see how I got on. Most of the writing I've not looked at since.
Here is the one from this day last year:

 Past Bones

Keep hold of that thread,
Let it hang from ancestral  bones
Giving meaning to who we become
Every movement has its reason,
The flower, growing in timely season,
Where what has been
Has come to this,
This, the softness of the present
The delight of now
Hold on to that thread,
Portraying past bones
Though not too tightly
For, each moment inform's the next,
Each thread must be snipped,
Left behind 

To free the mind

Reading this in this season of Easter makes me think of the Hope that we have now with thoughts of the resurrection . Letting go of the past but not forgetting. Moving forward freely without letting the past hold us back.  It has a certain sense of freedom to it.