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The Poem Writer

A poem

Photo by Nicolas Messifet on Unsplash

Snapshots of the street in word pictures
memories of longing and heartache
words that can make a person’s heart break

Pictures of a family life on the page
generations recalled with nostalgia
journeys made in iambic pentameter

Writing in rhyme does not a poet make:
it is the observing, the feeling, empathy
caring enough to pen the difficulty

Maybe moody, or not, but thoughtful, yes
mulling thoughts over, writing drafts,
wood piling the words that make mes
s

Telling it slant, as Dickinson once said
from this angle or that, or both at once
writing tight, not wasting a word that’s laid

Don’t sacrifice a poem for the rhyme
words paint the image, not the slime

of sugar sweet saccharine sounding lines

Alliteration is one big part, the rhythm too
but rhyme can make the picture a shame
doggerel written in all but name

Who writes the poem, is an observer
of nature, trees, birds, the human condition,
writes truth and then it is no longer theirs

Published in Lifeline

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A Day Trip For My Daughter

Wonderful views

photo by author

When my daughter turned sixteen, we had a mother and daughter day out to The Shard in London. It was a deal with hotel booking and The Shard paid for as one. Unfortunately, the day we arrived from the hotel, the lift in the tower was not working for the first time. We stoically returned to the provinces by coach.

My daughter was not impressed and neither was I.

photo by author

A courtesy visit was arranged and we travelled by train which is far more comfortable. (On our way home, the train stopped and we had to walk 100 yards or so the nearest station. Two trains were finally organized according to one’s destination. We discovered someone we knew was on that train too.)

In the feature photo you see Tower Bridge. A lot of tourists think, mistakenly, it is London Bridge as it is by the Tower of London. It is a lifting bridge and traffic is halted when a tall boat or ship sails throughIt was built in 1894–1896. Wikipedia calls it a suspension bridge. No, it’s a lifting bridge like the one near my home.

There were bomb threats here in the 1970’s during The Troubles in Ireland.

photo by author

The boat you see here is HMS Belfast. It is open for visitors like a museum. The River Thames is tidal for many miles inland but here we are fairly close to it’s estuary. There are many blocks of apartments, they are highly expensive and a prestigious. Sadly, many Russians, Japanese, and Arabs have bought a lot of property in London which keeps prices very high indeed.

People who work in London get paid with what is termed London weighting. Their pay reflects some of the cost of living there. My sister was a nurse on the outskirts and we’d go shopping together. I had a friend who had been a private nurse for Jacqueline Dupres, the famous cellist. While I knew her she was a private nurse for one of Prince Charles’s godsons’. He had a castle in Scotland and a huge apartment in Holland Park. She drove me to Heathrow when I moved to the US in his converted MPV which had a bed, fridge, and microwave. He, too, had M.S.

I also used to stay with friends in Worcester Park, and at my brother-in-law’s former flat in Croydon. I did work in London for one week with my job. That was enough.

I am always happy to go to London and always happy to leave.

photo by author

To the right in the background are the Walkie Talkie and The Cheese Grater, nicknames given to tower blocks because of their shape. There is The Gherkin further in near The City of London.

The City Of London is the financial center and where the Guilds (craftsmen professions, Journeymen) have their home. The City has its own Lord Mayor and a few other distinguishing features like parking rules. St Paul’s Cathedral is in The City and was occupied by members of Occupy London after the financial crash. Some of the clerical staff resigned after it was notoriously decided to evict the occupiers of tents etc. It was a huge argument about what a church is and does.

photo by author

While we were up in The Shard, a storm appeared in the north above Wembley. We watched it roll over London and over us before it went out to sea. The rain stayed with us on and off. It was quite exciting to see the lightning so high up.

photo by author

This is Tower Bridge seen from London Bridge. We went down to the Underground Station of the same name to get some lunch. The are armed police down there since all the terrorism in London and in the rest of Europe. We ate hot dogs and Cherry Cola.

Although this was August, it was overcast and raining towards the end of our visit. We got very wet walking back to Waterloo.

photo by author

This is a theater on Shaftesbury Avenue which we walked through on our first trip. Cat Stevens grew up on Shaftesbury Avenue, which is very famous for its theaters.

photo by author

One of many pubs in Covent Gardens/Soho which we walked through on the first trip. We had a good pub lunch in a similar hostelry.

photo by author

On our first trip, we filled in time by window shopping on Oxford Street. It’s like shopping anywhere, despite the fame of it. But the brand stores are eye-wateringly expensive.

A month or so later, my daughter’s friend wanted her to go to London on their own. I forbade this unless an adult met them. London is dangerous for young women and Black people.

photo by author

This is a sign written by Transport London.

Published in In Living Color

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Love Is A Verb

It is something we do.

Photo by Pratik Gupta on Unsplash

Recently, someone I have never met or seen, told me they love me. We only know each other exist because of the internet. I know they are well intentioned.

Love, however, is not an energy like electricityIf it were, there would be much less war, conflict, poverty, and suffering in this world. Love is varied and takes many forms.

Hopefully, the first love we know is that of the adults who raise us. Whether they are our parents, grandparents, or other care givers. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have this, but most go on to find love with their friends and then probably with another person with whom they ‘fall in love’.

Real love, for a child, an adult, whether they are our life partner or a friend, is an investment of our time, and worldly goods. Love wants good things for the loved one and does whatever is possible to give opportunities that are enriching.

Love between two life partners is often the easiest love, if it is real love. Compromises are made, one chooses the other’s preference and vice versaIt should be an equally balanced giving and taking. If illness strikes, love accepts this as part of the loved one.

Often, the most difficult love is parental loveChildren become their own person, this can be a pleasure to watch and experience or it can challenge the parent. Loving a son or daughter who make choices that are hard to accept is painfulSome parents do abdicate from loving such an offspring, but most go on loving and hurting.

The cost of love is grief

Love can demand every ounce of patience and forbearance. It is patient and kind. It is generous unless generosity is foolish. It believes the best and sees the good but without rose tinted spectacles.

Love hurts

It misses the company of the loved one. It sits through hospital appointments, dance rehearsals, it sews costumes when sewing is not a strength. It drives to sports events, to court hearings, it celebrates the joys and weeps when it time for weeping.

So love makes us vulnerable. The one we love has power to hurt us, to use us. They may lie or deceive. They may vanish from our lives.

Of course, love brings joy too. We celebrate success, milestones, spontaneous moments, rituals.

Then please don’t tell someone you never met that you love them. You may have been kind, you may have been gracious, but love is something elseIt is not an energy, but finds energy to invest the loved one.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” C.S.Lewis, The Four Loves

Published in Shelter Me

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Each Day Is New

A poem

Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash

Each waking, I greet a new day
I may have plans but surprises come my way

The kindness of strangers makes me glad
For who are lonely I feel sad

In my garden, spring flowers are in shoot
I celebrate that 
soon I won’t wear my boots

Each day there are seconds of more light
In two day there will be two minutes less of night

From this season of slumber and decay
New beginnings will come every day

Each day is new and brings it’s joys
Sometimes tears but that is how we appreciate joy

I have new friends as well as long ones
I treasure each like the warmth of the sun

Published in LifelineI

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Is it the idiot police?…

For four years Woodhouse wrote malicious notes to my various neighbours.

Her life is so meaningless that she checks whenever the house nextdoor was available to rent. She did me a great favour with the second one to those who moved in after she left. They moved out and ended the year of misery they inflicted on me.

The next neighbour showed me a note he got. He photographed it.

The police know who the malicious notewriter is, Ms Woodhouse.

Writer and psychologist. My health, a journey with two life shortening diseases

I have not posted in weeks and yet each day since my post on 24 12 2021 up to eight search engines have been at my blog. The least is two search engines. Also twitter and Facebook. It must be the idiot police in my town. Or the malicious note writer.

Well, I am fine. I know you waste taxpayers’ money by acting on a anonymous note which mentioned me. That you could have asked me if I had had a problem, I could have told you no. That would have cost you one phone call. But you prefer to waste police time and money.

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Two Letters

If we should love, I will not let our
union be described as two letters
in the same word. No, our love will
describe, create, and bring joy. 
How
useless a verb with no adverb –
it is tied down while the world dances
along
. A noun with no adjective bores
readers or ears
. We will not be a
‘room’, 
unless a cavernous one with
space for beauty and color, not a
meadow except it be joyous with
blossoms, riotous with shades of red,
of blue, pink and yellow. We will not
run unless it be crazily, fast or slow
.

Do not bind me to you in one word,
but let my meaning partner yours
.
A rippled pond, a mighty sound, a
sleepy hush.
 Let us not be happy
except wildly so,
 not fight unless with
passion.
 Two words have meaning
but a single word is hostage to itself.

I wrote this some years ago after someone described himself and his love as two letters in one word. I found that so limiting.

Published in The Lark

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My health…

has deteriorated significantly in the last four days. I am struggling to breathe. Even after nebulasition, I struggle as soon as I move. I don’t know what this means. It is not good at all . I will be spending tomorrow with my daughter.

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Unwelcome Intrusion

A poem about Sally Anne Parsons

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

You had to wait while I chatting
you have no awareness of yourself

Acted like we were long-lost friends
but you stabbed me and lied too

I accepted your failure, the price was high
I am 
conciliated but not reconciled

Your painted face just the same, a mask
so few see the real you, my daughter was first

Don’t try to speak with me again if you see me
I will depart your presence because you broke a trust

Don’t cross my path, I’ll turn away
there’s nothing left for us to say

Published in The Lark

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I should have laid down…

Ten days ago, I ran into my ex-husband at the hospital. He lives opposite it and seems to be forever roaming around it. We arranged to meet for coffee. This is ok.

We met for coffee and during the conversation I mentioned that I need boxes. He said he would get some for me. I am highly anxious about boxes at present. Time is rolling on and I have so few and only tiny ones. I really thought he would keep his word.

In my anxiety, I forgot that I tell myself, if I think of contacting him, that I should lie down until the thought goes away.

So, first, rain prevented him going to a supermarket and bringing them. Then the wind. My anxiety was climbing. I kept texting and then decided to stop. What was I doing? But yesterday I called him. I got such an earful of lies, twisted words, illusions and more that I hung up and blocked him.

He told me that I had said I was very upset when he left after staying here in 2018. No! I couldn’t wait to get rid of him. Then he said my daughter had come here with a gift and left very upset. During that time in 2018. What a lie!

I should never have met him. I should have had a lie down until the thought went away.

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Autumn Series

So glad Ireland beat South Africa yesterday. Great match.

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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.