Here’s part of one of my latest poems, written for a best man’s speech. It’s mostly about the student days they shared eighteen years ago… LOVE’S TATTOO It was Thursday night at The Session, And the disco lights were aglow, When we started a life’s conversation – Was it eighteen years ago? * Remember the wonderful parties […]
As it’s been much in the news, I’m adding my thoughts about assisted dying:
‘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.
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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.