THE GIFT

Standard

 

As it’s been much in the news, I’m adding my thoughts about assisted dying:

 

THE GIFT

‘Life is a gift,’ the placards say,

Opinion is riding high,

How dare you think you can give it back,

You don’t have the right to die.

 

Who knows how long your life will be,

Or how long the stars will shine?

Six days, six months, or endless years,

You don’t know the secrets of time.

 

Think of the life that would be erased,

The pool of memories dried, 

A grandchild taking a tottering step,

The radiant smile of a bride.

Some flickering candles on birthday cake,

The warmth of a partner’s smile,

The rhythm of dance, a plaintive song,

Love the gift – and stay alive.

 ***

Respect my choice, I hear you say,

The decision is only mine,

I shall drift in peace to an endless sleep,

And I shall choose my moment in time.

 

You can hold my hand, so I know you’re there,

You can answer my parting call,

Give me your blessing and let me go,

That’s the most special gift of all.

 

COPYRIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’M NOT SELLING SOCKS!

Standard

No, I’m not selling socks, if only I were! All is clear with socks, you buy them by sizes, colours, thickness and their composition. But if you are selling customized poetry it’s different. My service is unique and tailored to individual and specific requests. A number have been coming in recently, ranging for a speech for a best man, a poem about parental alienation and some requests for poems about love gone wrong.

There is nothing on the shelf to take down and wrap up, only the blank piece of paper, a pen and the notes sent in by the person requesting the poem. At that first moment, it’s difficult. Will I be able to think of anything different to say? Will I get stuck after a verse or two and have to abandon the task? Will I have been empathetic enough with the customer’s request? After all, this is a person I have never met, know almost nothing about and may live on the other side of the world. I may also have to do some additional research on certain subjects before I can even begin to think of the lines. I know nothing about the Incredible Hulk, or owls, or skeleton keys, but I’ve been asked to include them in verse.

Usually though, after the first few scribbles, some ideas begin to take shape. Sometimes the rhythm is at the forefront of my mind, and sometimes it might be a few key words from what the customer has actually provided. And so, things begin to take shape, though there are usually about three pages of crossed out verse before I get to a decent draft. Then I begin to feel pleased with myself that once again the creative muse has stirred me!

I always read the poem aloud before completing it, sometimes several times; that helps to iron out the glitches, though in this hot weather with the windows wide open I do wonder what the neighbours might be thinking.

Sometimes, sitting here at my desk in the attic I get a strange sense of connection with  the customer and have some certainty that they will like what I have written. But that doesn’t stop me being very nervous, once I have pressed the SEND button. I really look forward to the feedback and love to know how my poems are received.

After all, it’s much better than being thanked for sending a pair of socks!

 

SHELTERED

Standard

 

 

 

 

A while ago I was asked to write a poem about parental alienation. The sad notes that came with the email stayed in my mind, so I have written this poem for JB in Canada. I hope it reflects something of what she wanted to say to her Mum and Dad.

 

SHELTERED

I listen and I listen,

I long to hear his voice,

To share my mixed up crazy thoughts -

And discover I’ve a choice.

 

Choice to be a daughter

Of two people side by side,

Trying to split my feelings

Just tears me up inside.

 

But Mom says:

‘We’re not at home this evening,

We’re not at home all week,

Just call again some other time,

And then perhaps we’ll speak.’

 

I’ve heard those words so often,

But for me it’s just the same,

My heart feels crushed like frozen ice -

It fears this lying game.

 

I’m always on the side-lines,

Watching children in the street,

Their Moms and Dads beside them,

While us? We hardly speak.

 

It was both of you together

That gave this gift of life,

But the wounds I feel inside me

Are stabbing like a knife.

 

I’m hoping, oh I’m hoping,

To become your child again,

To be tucked inside  familiar hearts

And freed from loss and pain.

 

COPYRIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DISTANCE

Standard

 

This is my latest commissioned poem, written for someone who’s apart from his girlfriend and wanted to send her a birthday poem. He asked me to include references to his x girlfriend’s love of Nike shoes and Disney films.

 

 

DISTANCE

Distance comes between us,

Casts a shadow on my heart,

Reminds me of the fun we had

And your love of shoes and Art,

The Disney flicks, the music,

Your Wonder Woman ways,

And how I’d love to share with you

More endless happy days.

 

Yes, distance came between us,

And how grey my world now seems,

But happy birthday sweetest girl -

You’re the woman of my dreams.

 

COPYRIGHT

 

 

SCAMPI AND MORE SCAMPI

Standard

 

Just back from the Isle of Man where a group of us has just spent a few days walking. The walking was good but the food in the hotel was not. In six days the menu  was  repeated about three times and mushrooms in cream and scampi and chips are not my favourite foods.

We had an excellent leader in Christine, and this poem, which I read on the last night there, is for her:

I ATE A LOT OF MUSHROOMS

Yes, I ate a lot of mushrooms,

And munched on piles of toast,

But what I’d like you all to know

Are the sights that mattered most -

 

There’s Caroline in scarlet hat,

Who’s lost her man again,

And Joy who’s coughed, but soldiered on,

And Jules who’s semi lame.

 

There’s Derek poised with camera,

But we’re not a pretty sight,

So he snaps the trees, the hills, the streams,

The seagull’s soaring flight.

 

Wendy’s looking thoughtful,

A spaniel’s frolicked by,

But she mustn’t think of Kip at home,

That thought would make her cry.

 

Sandie’s looking dashing,

Her headgear’s quite a find,

Steve begged her not to wear it

And is stomping far behind.

 

There’s…

The golden glow of gorse bush,

The silver swirling stream,

The endless rolling Irish sea,

A train with whirls of steam.

The granite of the castle,

The mighty Laxey wheel,

The rattle of a bumpy train,

And the lonely whistle’s squeal.

 

Yes, we ate a lot of mushrooms,

And scampi, pie and toast,

But what we really want to say,

The thing that matters most…

 

Is that Christine was our leader,

Patient, thoughtful, nifty,

And never once on any walk

Did she mention £3.50!

 

[Our walks’ leader here charges us £3.50 per walk]

 

 

 

 

 

AND WHO IS LIZ?

Standard

Today is my sister’s birthday. She hates birds, but I knew she’d laugh at the card I sent her, part of which showed a parrot perching on the birthday girl’s knee.

Image

AND ON MY BIRTHDAY….

I’ve opened a bottle,

A quite lively fizz,

And I’ll share with my parrot,

The wonderful Liz.

 

I confess in my youth

I was startled by birds,

Their beaks and their feathers,

And their splattering turds..

 

But now that I’m older,

It’s really a breeze,

To let lovely Lizzie

Sink claws in my knees

 

She knows it’s my birthday,

I’ve taught her the tune,

She’s about to start singing

In this candle lit room.

 

She’s squawking so loudly,

Happy Birthday, she caws,

Whilst she flutters her feathers

In a birdy applause.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A WALK IN THE PARK

Standard

An old friend of mine achieved a milestone birthday a few days ago. He’s in Canada, so I couldn’t make the trip. This is what I wrote for him:

A WALK IN THE PARK

What shall I wear for my party?

My shirt with the brightest of stripes?

Or shall I dress more subdued -

In manner and mood -

And go for the dimmest of lights?

*

Shall I manage to stay very sober

Or give way to a dozen pink gins?

Shall I fear that my pleasures are over -

Or announce that the fun just begins?

*

What shall I say to my family?

I fear I may stumble, or weep,

But I know that they think I’m amazing

And won’t chide if I fail to speak.

*

I know that I’ll think about Mother -

Her hats with the feathers and veils,

And I’ll wish that she’d ghost at my party,

As I’m spinning my jokes and my tales.

*

I know that they’ll sing Happy Birthday,

As the candles all glow in the dark,

And I’ll say that I’m glad I’ve been given

A life that’s a walk in the park!

 

He said it was a lovely poem. He especially liked the reference to his Mother who was a very glamorous milliner in her day!