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Let Me Sleep

A poem

Photo by Михаил Калегин on Unsplash

Now I lay down, please let me sleep
I’m tired of famines, floods, and wars,
from my own life,
 my body keeps the score

People starving, blown apart,
wars made to satisfy greed,
I’m reeling from it, let me sleep

I need to hear good news, now and then,
too soft for the harsh world I see
it takes its toll on me
, please let me sleep

I want to lie in peace, let me sleep
I’m tired and weary of this world
I’ll lie down now, please let me sleep

Published in The Lark

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I Drove A Train Across The Arctic Circle

I had not won a prize

Photo by Josh Nezon on Unsplash

Some years ago, some friends and I decided to travel around Sweden by train. We slept in youth hostels or church social rooms (they often have sauna rooms, and several rooms for Sunday School, youth activities, etc).

The trains in Sweden are very punctual. You can literally set your watch by them. And they are clean and frequent.

We started in the south after getting the ferry in Germany, and we finished in the south, returning on the same ferry.

In between, we ventured through cities and villages, and saw wilderness and lots of wild animals. Reindeer are common but I saw a real Elk. Sweden has a fairly low population considering its huge size. There are vast areas of forest and lakes. It is a very beautiful country.

The trains are well used as the government has the sense to keep ticket prices low. Yet despite the high use they get, the trains are in good shape, with no signs of vandalism or graffiti.

It is hard to say “I drove a train over the arctic circle”. Not that I say it often. The last time I said aloud, while watching a documentary about acrtic animals, my friend said somewhat scoffingly, “Oh they came and invited you in person!”. The truth is not so different from that, but that it was me who crossed the circle is pure accident.

So, our group had travelled quite a way north after about twenty days. We had decided to visit the friend of a friend in Kiruna. As we went farther north, the less people there were on the trains. The day we headed for Kiruna, the were maybe fifteen people on the train as far as we could tell. Gradually, people got off and our train proceeded north. At a stop, the driver (if that is what he is called) came to our little group and asked if we would like to see the cabin at the front. We were unanimous in our “yes”.

Off we went, following the man. We arrived in a very simple cabin. It had one seat and a large windscreen. I’m sure there were other things too, but I don’t recall them. I was just overwhelmed by being invited to be there.

The man invited the first of us to “drive” the train. I couldn’t quite see what was involved. But then it was my turn, and I discovered that all it took was putting one’s foot on a bar above the floor. It was a dead man’s brake — the train would stop if a foot fell off the bar, whether through death, sleep, or any other reason. I found this to be rather dull and wondered how one qualified to drive trains in Sweden.

Then, the man called out for us to look at a sign. It said “Arctic Circle” in several languages. I felt much more excited then. I had known we would cross at some point.

So, this is how I drove a train across the arctic circle. It sounds so much grander than it actually is.

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It has been difficult…

The last ten weeks have been very difficult. I sprained my ribs which was very painful indeed. I saw a great locum GP and due to my neurological disease needed a follow up. I was given an appointment with the same locum but he was unwell. I saw another GP who swept aside my concerns about my neurological disease and so an appointment was wasted.

Now, things are really bad and getting an appointment is seemingly impossible. I even phoned the neurology department at the hospital to try to get an appointment. They said they would write to me. So I feel despondent still.

My homehelp does not start until next week. Today, my mobility scooter battery went flat. I feel overwhelmed by it all.

I also discovered that I has £20 notes in my purse. I know they are no longer issued and think they are no longer legal tender. But a man changed them for £10 notes and I am feeling bad about that.

I am at peace at night, except I remember everything I forgot during the day. It sometimes makes me go to my laptop but then I forget again.

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I Believe In Angels

Here’s why

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

While I was living in Southern California I set out one morning in my car. It was a bright sunshine morning. I took the small roads until I turned onto Arrow, a highway. I gently picked up speed, amazed that I seemed to be the only car on the highway.

Suddenly, there was a loud bang and I could see nothing. I took my foot off the accelerator, started braking and pulled over on the right. I was stressed. I got out of the car and saw that the hood was up over the windscreen. I tried to pull it down, but I hurt myself as it was stuck. (It had buckled over the roof.) I sat on the driver’s seat, trembling and scared with no car in sight in either direction.

Then, out of nowhere, a cyclist stopped beside me. He pulled the hood down, and telling me to breathe slowly, went to his bike and pulled a leather strap off his saddle bag. He used it to tie the hood down somehow. He told me to sit for a while before driving. I thanked him and sat. I looked to watch him cycle away, but there was no one. There was no trace of him at all.

Another time, I was driving on the freeway. I had somehow got in the far left lane, a place I was never comfortable. I waited for a gap on my right so I could change lanes. After a few minutes, I saw a space long enough for me to move into, so I indicated and began to move over. Then I saw that a car was moving in from the far right lane. Yikes! I couldn’t brake on a freeway.

Then I heard a rushing noise. I can’t describe it. Almost like the sound of Niagara Falls. The next thing I knew, I was back in the far left lane and safe. I have never forgotten this. I still see it and hear it in my mind.

To me these are angelic eventsThere was another time when I was in a not very nice area of Los Angeles. I went into a store to ask directions as I was really quite lost. When I got back into the car I told my male friend the directions. I told him I may be a girl but I’m no coward. He looked at me and said, “No one would have dared hurt you with those huge guys on either side of you”. I had seen no one.

I think many of us have had angels intervene in our lives. They look like you and me, not winged and in white gowns.

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My Dad

A stream of consciousness

Photo by Limor Zellermayer on Unsplash

Dad, I want to sit on your lap
and rest my face in your neck
as I did as a child, every day
your skin smelt familiar to me
pipe smoke, aftershave, and perspiration,
home to me, when I was so ill
you carried me to bed, and from bed
to the sofa, where I spent the day
My Dad, 
my body hurts so much
my concerns are a bit too much

my sleep is broken, I need rest, much more

I started calling you ‘My Dad’
when 
I cared for you so fiercely.
You deserved it and you showed me how

I watched you, and you never told me
Now I am weary as never before
managing a home with sprained ribs
that got bruised all over again

the pain wears my mind down, no relief
except in sleep which is broken
If only I could sit on your lap again
feel your warmth and strength

know your deep love for me, your dry humor
I miss you still so much, you were my north
my compass to find my way in life
I know you are proud of me, love me
I saw you weep for me two times
though you were a man of few words

but your actions spoke louder
you treated everyone the same

from royalty to road sweepers
people always spoke well of you
I want to sit on your lap, face in your neck
you died in my arms far too soon
I’m glad you had a good death
but I miss you and want you still

Published in The Lark

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Gloam

A poem

Photo by Thái An on Unsplash

The gloam falls fast now, fall being the season
sunset shorter, and darkness descends
I will see the full moon later
suspended over the water

The dark like a cloak slowly wraps tighter
morning and evening, daylight shorter
more precious, sunshine gladdening
moon has been waxing, lighting the night

Gloam is peace after fiery colors of dropping sun
quenching my mind from concerns

preparing to relax, to sleep
full moon, catch my dreams, be my guard

Published in Write Under The Moon

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Trust

A poem

Taking my trust
you slowly eroded it
until I did not believe a word
your mouth uttered

You smashed me on evil
and deceit, changing me
maybe I’m wiser
but I’m cynical too

That is new to me
cynicism was not mine
but your forked tongue
stole my generosity

Trust, so fragile
means nothing to you

only stealing, using,
deceit and false promises

Yours is an underworld
I refuse to condone it

Published in The Lark

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A lot of pain lately…

Some weeks ago, my rib cage fell onto my hip. My spine is that weak. It was agony- I cannot describe it. I called for an ambulance and I won’t go into the hell they put me through. A private company helping out the NHS.

I saw a locum doctor at my surgery and he was helpful. But then the pain caused me to fall and I bruised myself badly. I made another appointment with the same doctor but he was unwell. I saw a permanent doctor who checked my breathing, which I knew was good. She advised me to take my mild pain killers. She ignored my concerns about my neurological disease, which is progressing.

So I am left to look after myself.

It has been hard to manage the house with such pain. Ribs typically take 6 weeks or so to heal. I had to ask Martin to leave as his lying and alcohol abuse became too much.

The night before last, I woken at midnight by banging on my door. I made my way down, feeling terrified. I found two police trying to deposit Martin’s bike and trolley in my hallway. I was furious at them and told them that he had not lived here for two months.

I fell over because I sleep heavily and am on painkillers. I hurt my elbow very much, cut my lip, and banged my knee. The female officer was so stupid she gave me a damp wad of tissue to staunch the bleeding of my lip. Wet stops the blood from clotting. I used the dry part.

I took their collar numbers and made complaints. But mainly, I’m in even more pain now.

I’m glad that when I went for groceries, I bought myself some flowers. They look lovely. I can see them while I type. I am meeting an old friend next week for lunch, so I hope my lip recovers.

The pain now in an elbow, a knee, my lip, as well as my ribs is a lot to cope with. I’m glad I picked up a bottle of wine too.

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Night

A poem

Photo by Timothée Duran on Unsplash

The sky has long since darkened
rest calls out to me in deceit
I lay myself to go to sleep
yet slumber refuses to take me

I turn and turn to find comfort
it is there, but body and mind
cannot find ease, too bruised
the body keeps the score

It’s true I love to sleep, the escape
from my physical confinement

my body ails and fails me
yet dreaming does not come for me

Published in The Lark

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October

A poem

Photo by Boxed Water Is Better on Unsplash

October ends my grief for summer
It heralds cold weather and darkness
Some days are sunny and mild
No playing conkers as I did as a child

This year the trees are still green
September was wetter than most
but the clocks will fall back
short days start and end with black

An in-between time for me, then
neither warm but not yet truly cold
will I feel the seasonal sadness
I would give it up with much gladness

Transition is this month for me
hoping still some flowers to see

Published in The Lark

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Ontario, CA to Washington D.C.

An unforgettable journey

Photo by Kevin Bosc on Unsplash

One January while I was living in Southern California, I had the opportunity to take a break in Virginia with my best friend’s Mom and visit a facility linked with the one for which I worked.

It was a sunny morning with clouds as I was dropped at Ontario airport. By the time we boarded the plane, the sun had vanished, and a grey fog descended around the plane only. I promise you it was nowhere else. I know for a fact the I10 was clear and traffic flowing well.

After an hour the captain announced that we were fog bound until clearance was given. No one could disembark as it might be very soon.

I have learned that in flying language, very soon is a synonym for ten minutes to ten days. It’s a platitude designed to cause riots. I got my book out and began to read.

On finishing my book, three hours had passed. I could hear murmurs of grumbling as well as requests for drinks. I realized drinks were not on offer. I took out my water bottle and took a sip.

The murmurs of grumbling turned to rallying for revolution. It was unsettling. I realized five hours had passed and my second book was nearly finished. What would I read on the flight, if there was one?

After eight hours we were told we had half an hour to go into the terminal to make phone calls and use the facilities. I decided to wait to make my call as the phones were in use. All ten of them. Some men had their brick size ‘cell phones’ in use.

We were hearded back onto the plane. It was getting dusk and the last of the sunset was strikingly beautiful. Fog? Where was it?

We took off at last and flew into daylight for a few hours. I saw crop circles, rivers, craters, lakes, and mountains, before night covered the whole USA.

Then I noticed the White House, all lit up like a target for a malicious flier. I looked forward to the descent. But there was none. We banked, and I watched the White House as we circled it.

We circled and circled that illuminated target and I worried that the captain had criminal intentions. I beckoned a flight attendant and asked what was going on. She leaned in close and whispered that we were in a line to land but would be soon due to a lack of fuel. I was asked not to mention this.

My confidence was not restored. We had circled seventeen times already. How many minutes before we dropped out of the sky?

However, we did land, and I was met by my friend who had left home before getting the message I had asked to be passed on.

So much for flights and phones.