Thursday, 30 April 2020

My Sister Maud
I had a sister once.
Her name was Maud.
I never knew her,
never even knew of her.
No one said.
Not our father,
or his son,
not my mother,
no one.
No one spoke.
All were mute for Maud.
She never grew old,
never even grew up.
And her little life
became engulfed in silence.
My father cried
when she died,
I know it now
more than eighty years later
I know it.
When there’s no one living
who knew her.
When there is no one left
to tell me her favourite games,
her hopes, her dreams.
All are gone.
I know it now.
I even have a photograph
so that I can see her,
picture her as she was.
And I won’t forget her,
won’t forget that
I had a sister once.
Her name was Maud.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

After The Party
It was a good party.
“you’ll be seeing pink elephants tonight”
they laughed.
I didn’t believe them
I thought the elephants would be blue,
a better colour for me.
But it was me that was blue.
The elephant I was riding
was just
elephant coloured.
It was a very good party.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Keep Your Hat On
There was a time when going out
was an occasion to be dressed for.
You could not be seen,
should not be seen
without your hat.
You would be ostracised,
talked about,
left alone
Hats were mandatory,
a smart felt trilby or bowler for the men
and a fashion statement of flounces or formality
for the women.
Even later
my visiting aunties kept their hats on
while drinking their afternoon tea indoors.
They left them on in cafes and bars,
it’s the generational norm
from the time when one knew
the dress code and conformed.
But not everyone did so
even back then.
Some were daring,
daring enough to go without a hat
and they still found company.
Others followed the code
and kept their hat on
but still sat on their own
the code didn’t admit everyone,
some were left outside.
Keep Your Hat On by Lynn White There was a time when going out was an occasion to be dressed for. You could not be seen, should not be seen without your hat. You would be ostracised....READ MORE

Sunday, 26 April 2020

There are just two pieces left.
Two fragments of our dreams.
Two castles in the air,
the remnants of a game
we played
where there was no winner.
Like a game of chess
with an improbable ending.
Just two rooks left on the board.
More flying over
our castles in the air
leaving them behind.
The Stray Branch: Spring/Summer 2020

Friday, 24 April 2020

The Suitcase
Back then, we had a theory.
We thought that a suitcase
was easier to get into cars
than a rucksack and thus,
drivers were more likely
to pick up hitchhikers
with a small suitcase.
It worked like a dream
and it carried our dreams.
I came across our old suitcase
buried in a heap of debris in my attic.
It was battered from it’s long journeys
and even longer vacation.
Its clothing was torn
exposing its cardboard credentials.
I haven’t opened it yet
so it’s unclear
if it’s still full
or if it’s empty.
Once we packed it full
of our dreams,
but now
I wonder
if any remain,
caught in the lining perhaps,
or if they’ve all have been carried away
with our lost memories
or buried in the debris
of the past.
The Suitcase Back then, we had a theory. We thought that a suitcase was easier to get into cars than a rucksack and thus, drivers were more likely to pick up hitchhikers with a small suitcase. It w…

Thursday, 23 April 2020

When I was a child Lakeside
was my favourite family outing.
I loved the freshness of the cool air,
the grey bleakness of the water
and the windblown beach
that seemed to go on for ever.
I would roll up my pants
and race my sister to the water’s edge.
We’d dare each other into the water.
We knew it would be cold
too cold to let it wet much of us,
too cold to stay wet for long
but we loved the comfort of the thick towels
that would be wrap us round like blankets
We loved it like a perversion.
We loved it all.
I’m sitting there now
all these years later
and overdressed.
I hadn’t reckoned on global warming,
hadn’t expected to see people swimming
in the warm blue water,
lying on the beach
in the sunshine,
hadn’t expected that
I would be
so overwhelmed
and so overdressed.
Remember nature?

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Broken Hearted
Something new will come from it
I’m sure.
I tried so hard to hold it
to keep it from breaking
even though the signs were all so
in the end there was nothing
I could do.
The darkness filled you
to overflowing
and split your heart in two.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Marked Out
The marks are fading now
in the old playground.
It’s deserted now,
and since the crisis
no one plays games anymore.
I try to remember the the rules
but my memories are fading
like the laughter of children
like the marks on the ground
there are new rules now
but no games to play.

Visual Verse: An Anthology of Art and Words One image, one hour, 50-500 words. The picture is the starting point, the text is up to you.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

I saw him flapping around in the grass,
one wing at an improbable angle.
I chased him,
caught him,
wrapped him
in my cerise and navy school scarf.
Jack, jack, jacko..
Then it was a bus ride to the charity vet
who set the broken wing,
wrapped it
in plaster,
a heavy pot.
He was subdued on the bus home,
but still managed to greet my mother,
Jack, jack, jacko.
He perked up later after tea
and explored the living room
placing bits of straw artistically
and decorating them with pooh.
Which was why
he had to live
at school,
only for weekends.
Jack, jack jacko!
But he enjoyed bus journeys now
and greeted all the passengers,
hopping from shoulder to shoulder,
waking them up with a wang from his pot,
nibbling an ear here and a nostril there.
Most were
but some
were not.
He was close to becoming
the only jackdaw to be banned
from public transport.
Jack, jack, jacko!!
And then disaster!
the wing had not healed.
There was decay
and gangrene
and the trimming
of his lovely long feathers
to balance him.
No more hopping
from shoulder to shoulder,
well, maybe later
with practice!
But no more
prospects of a wild life
for Jacko
Jack, jack, jacko...
And no more home with me
said my mum as the school holidays
loomed threateningly.
Jack, jack, jacko.....
But nearby the vet,
a budgie had died
and it’s owner,
had a need and
it was love at first sight
for both her and Jacko.
Jack, jack, jacko!!
There were photos
in the press.
He was famous!
A local hero!
Jack, jack, jacko!!!

Saturday, 18 April 2020

The Vase

The kitchen looked tired and worn
like my mother did,
the last time I saw her there.
I felt no nostalgia for it.
It was not my childhood kitchen.
It held no special memories,
I thought.
And then, 
I saw the vase on the counter top.
My friend found it on the Kings Road.
Bought it and brought it home.
I’d asked her to buy me something, 
a souvenir of swinging London.
She bought the vase.
I never much liked it.
Dark and bulbous,
it spent most of it’s time at my mother’s,
though she didn’t like it much either.
Then time stole it away,
took it from my memory,
erased it.
And now,
here it is again, sharp as ever
bringing the past home
as it stands empty
on the counter top.
It seems that her death 
invested in it a poignancy
that it had not known before.

I took it home with me.

Look This Way
Look this way.
Turn away from the salt wind.
There’s nothing to fear.
Let me see your face.
I know mine looks a little strange,
but there’s nothing to fear,
It’s just that I’ve been away
a long time.
I have a long life history,
you see.
Look this way.
I’ve brought you flowers.
I found them when I woke up,
when I rose up.
I didn’t see who left them.
I hope it wasn’t you.
It would be discourteous of me
to return your gift.
But at least you know I’m no thief,
no grave robber,
just someone who has been away
a long time.
Look this way.
Let me see the salt wind
blow back your hair,
let me see your face.