Sunday, 26 July 2015

Agnes Ellen Turner

Dear Reader,

I thought this week I would present you with a poem about my nanny.  My parents were of the generation and class that thought it was quite normal not to look after their children during childhood, and sometimes beyond, but to hire someone else to do it, namely a nanny.  My father, an actor was often away and my mother was busy with her social life, so nanny was, in effect, my mother and I thought of her as such, and still do.  Nanny lived in a two up and two down in the backstreets of the city of Canterbury until she started work at the age of fourteen as a nursery maid in an aristocratic family.  She never married since all single young men she knew were killed  in the First World
War. Harry, the young man she was engaged to, was certainly one of them.

Agnes Ellen Turner

who wore her hair
in a long silver plait
wound round her head

who always had a brooch
on her sensible floral dress
worn with shiny black lace-up shoes

who as a child slept
five in a bed with
her brothers and sisters
head to toe

who had a fiance, Henry
who waved her goodbye
but didn't come home

who wore white face powder
with no other adornments
and smelt of lavender water

who wrote to me at boarding school
sent me Georgetter Heyer novels
wrapped in brown paper

who watched "Songs of Praise"
and listened to Dick Barton
a bottle of Guiness at her side

who three weeks before my wedding
knitted a woolly hat to wear
but she didn't make it
her breath ran out

nanny, who loved me
A musing for today.

A lesson I have learnt this week is not, at any cost, to eat a sandwich sitting in a deck chair on the beach when I go on holiday to Sidmouth next month.  If I do an aggressive seagull may swoop on the sandwich or perhaps peck at my head leaving blood running down my cheeks, or worse.  I did see too that a seagull had killed a small dog and attacked a tortoise and, if I was running the world, I would find some way to cull these dangerous birds.  There are many poems and books depicting seagulls as romantic figures but obviously this is not, in truth, the case.

Best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 19 July 2015

A Variation on the Tortoise and the Hare

Dear Reader,

I am going to tell you today about the following poem and why I wrote it.  I went to a rather boring poetry workshop  for a three day course and met there other poets.  Not that they weren't very nice but they were all very intense and there weren't many jokes to be had.  On the last day we were asked to write a poem with the idea of a myth or a fable as its subject.  I don't know any myths so I had to rely on my rather vague memories of fables read to me as a child.  We had only an hour to produce something and racing against time I produced the following poem and hope you enjoy it.

A Variation on the Tortoise and the Hare

The tortoise, shell-encased,
shy and timid,
was fond of quiet places.
He ate lettuce sandwiches,
drank bottled water
and did deep breathing exercises.
He was slow alright,
but kept on "keeping on", getting there,
although a little fearful
of what life can bring.

Then, he discovered anxiety pills
and grew bolder,
he opinionated more,
rejected lettuce,
ate avocado and prawn cocktails,
drank vodka,
and tried his hand at salsa dancing.
Confidence changed him.
He became the hare.

Ah ha the hare.

This hare spoke his mind.
He jumped and danced
texted and mobiled friends,
arranged outings,
and had a ball.
But the Gods were watching him,
they sent a "don't forget card"
to remind him of his tortoise life,
his quiet life,
the life that was right and good
for a tortoise.

He threw the anxiety pills away
and slowly his shell grew back,
he started reading again,
he talked less,
thought more,
enjoyed lettuce sandwiches
and drank bottled water.
He became the tortoise
that he was meant to be.

Musing this week:

Am I the only person to not appreciate the Pluto landing which seems to have caused so much excitement.  It is a very long way to go and, I think, took thirteen years to achieve. When you finally arrive it all looks grey,  grim looking, and empty.  No nice spots for a picnic or a  pretty country walk, no birds, no flowers,  in fact nothing, I would say, to recommend it.

Best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 12 July 2015


Dear Reader,

Since last week when I wrote my first blog I have been thinking about the best way to do it, and have decided to write it on Sundays.  This is the day, after going to church, that, universally I think, needs filling in a bit if you are not in your first youth.  I know people work in their gardens, or play bridge, or do the ironing, but still time seems to have a slower pace on Sundays, so it seems a good day for me to write my blog.

I will write the reason for the poem first, as I told you last week,  and then write the poem out for you to read.  Then the musing.   This could be anything but I will try to think of something that I find amusing or extraordinary, or perhaps, even sad, although there is so much sadness in the world today, perhaps we all need cheering up instead.  But we shall see.

My poem today is called "Camel".  I had been visiting a wildlife park near to where I live with the grand children.  We had looked at everything, enjoyed the monkeys and merecats, the rabbits and the guinea pigs,  then we came upon the field with the camels in it.  And they all looked so miserable that I felt miserable looking at them. This is the poem.


The woman stares at me
into my rheumy eyes, my sad face
sees a dusty, dirty animal
mud sticking to my coat
my miserable tail hanging loose
my hooves cracked, hump matted.

But I want her to know that this is not me.
I came from a land of warmth
of sun, of sand,
my arab owner loved me
understood me
he stroked my coat.
He rode on my back
Kelim rugs hugging my hanunches
water in large panniers
strung to my side.
We rode to oases, to Petra Rose,
he was my friend.
I weep for the want of him.

The woman walks away
but something glistens on her cheek.

A musing this week.

Thinking of the Greek crisis I remembered a quotation from Dickens.   It was Mr. Micawber from David Copperfield who said:  "Annual income twenty pound, annual expenditure nineteen pounds, nineteen shillings and sixpence, result happiness.  Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds, ought and sixpence, result misery".
Perhaps the Greeks ought to read more Dickens.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Introduction to my blog

Dear Reader,

This is my first attempt at a "blog" so please forgive me if it falls short of your expectations of what a poet thinks and writes.  I know poetry is not very popular, in fact, lots of people hate it, say it is incomprehensible, but I don't think that is the case with mine.  I try to write clearly so what I am trying to say is easy to understand.   My granddaughter thought it would be fun for me to write about my poems, and why I wrote them, so this is what I am going to try to do.  First of all I will tell you why I had the idea for the poem and then I will type it out for you to read and see if you like it.

Then, since I like musing on daily events, I thought I would share with you something I saw or read in the newspapers which you might have missed, and which I thought was amusing.

So I will write today's musing first.

I t appears that Larry, the Downing Street cat, is not performing his mouse duties well enough.  Yesterday, George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, saw a mouse running over the sofa whilst in an important meeting in Downing Street.  It seems that a colleague and George raced after it and trapped it in a paper bag before letting it out somewhere more suitable.
Larry was not available for comment.

The poem "Acknowledgement" which you can find on my blog page under "poems" was written when my granddaughter was about five years old.  We were going for a walk together and suddenly she asked me whether I knew her grandfather.  He and I had been married for many years before our
divorce and I found the question really upset me.  Small children don't really understand relationships
and she was puzzled by mine. I wrote this poem when I got home and, when reading it at gatherings people often came up afterwards and told me their own stories, relating to the poem, and say they felt emotional when hearing me read it.

If you have ant ideas for my blog please let me know as I would welcome any advice,
Best wishes,  Patricia