Saturday, 24 October 2015

Dorothy's Dilemma

Dear reader,

Thought for the Week.

I have had a really bad cough this week and  so I have had few interesting thoughts  except for how to stop coughing.  But I did think about  an 18 year old girl from Bangladesh.  Shumi Akhtar had been the victim of an acid attack from a man who had proposed marriage, which she had refused.  He then attacked her.   Her face was completely disfigured and she had lost her sight. But after eight months in a hospital she, very bravely I thought, decided she would go into the town and sit in a cafe knowing people would laugh and stare at her.  And they did.  So bravery is what I have been thinking about.  Whenever I read about someone being brave I am full of admiration, and  wonder how brave I am myself. Until we are tested we cannot know, but I am not sure how I would be.

The Dorothy in the next poem is Dorothy Wordsworth, taken from something she mentioned in her journal.

Dorothy's Dilemma

Dorothy slowly rode the hill,
eating potted beef and sweet cake,
she glimpsed, growing in green moss,
three primroses in full bloom.

Should she pick them?
December primroses in a jar
adorning the kitchen table
was a temptation, a pretty picture.

She pondered long, then left them
to enjoy the fecund earth,
their natural home,
their rightful place.
Days later, she saw with joy, nestling in the moss,
her primroses, flourishing,
uninjured by cold or rain
or human hand.

Very best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Safe Harbour

Dear Reader,

Thought for the week.

The newspapers have been full of the horrors of the world, everywhere some sort of sorrow. Even the Bewick swan flying here from the Siberia wastes portend a long hard winter ahead.  So I decided to quote from Francis Kilvert's diary for 18th October, in the year 1878, for a bit of cheer.  "Five of us drove in the waggonette to Oxwich Bay ...We had a merry luncheon on the bank near the churchyard gate, and great fun and famous laughing.  An east wind was blowing fresh and strong, the sea was rolling in grey and yeasty, and in a splendid sunburst the white seagulls were running and feeding on the yellow sands.  A wild merry happy day".   The thought is then : have we progressed for the better since 1878?    In many ways of course we have, and in many ways we have not.  Something to do with the loss of innocence perhaps?

Safe Harbour

Old love settles for a safe harbour,
a place of quiet embracing
rocked in a gentle sea.

Young love is daring, dangerous,
rich in its fulness
sticky in substance, ripe with seed.

Old love has a slower pace,
enriched with years of touch.
No need to preen and strut the hour.

The rib cage joins,
the bone becomes one bone,
the breath one breath.
Calm waters still seduce.

To all those Russian friends who have looked at my blog, many thanks.

Very best wishes,  Patricia

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Recipe for Blue

Dear Reader,

Thought for the week.

This week I learnt that Colin Firth's wife feels that, should you buy yourself a new dress or coat or whatever, that you should wear it at least 30 times before discarding it.   This makes me feel very old indeed and behind the times.  I still have, and often wear in the winter, a coat I bought at Marks and Spencer in 1985, thirty years ago.   Lots of the clothes I still wear I have had for at least fifteen to twenty years and I imagined  they were fine, but perhaps I need to get out more and buy something new.  Well it is just a thought.......

I was having tuition from a Professor of Poetry in East Anglia some years ago when she told me my poems were too ordinary, too unadventurous, that I was to try harder with something different.  I did my best and wrote " Recipe for Blue"  although what it exactly means I am not sure.  Still I got an  excellent mark for it ....

Recipe for Blue

Take blue from the mountain

and dye my bones,

crush lapis lazuli,

mix it in my hair.

Plunge my heart in forget-me-nots,

soak my maidenhead in blueberry juice,

add a pinch of larkspur.

Wrap me in the Blessed Virgin's dress,

shake over star sapphires,

fold in the clouds,

and bake slow.


With very best wishes,  Patricia

Saturday, 3 October 2015

The Man from Middlesbrough

Dear Reader,

My daughter, Jessica, who is my blog advisor, has discussed with me the format for this poetry blog, and has suggested the following changes.  The first change is that I will write a thought or two at the beginning of the blog and then write the poem.  A little of the poem's message is lost if, straight away you read "the muse" for the week.   The second change is that I will no longer explain the poem in any detail. Since my poems are very understandable I feel it is unnecessary to, I suppose, bore you, explaining what is easily understood.  Do let me know whether you think these changes are an improvement.

A thought this week.

I have been thinking about all the parents who have said goodbye to their student children, perhaps for the first time away from home, and how sad some of these parents must be.  Their children's bedrooms forlorn and void, and a new and unwanted silence in the house.  If your son or daughter was a great friend, as well as being your child, your loss is unaccountable, your grief terrible.  My thoughts are with you, all you empty nesters, and may your days be filled with new and good things.

After I heard that the shipyard in Middlesbrough had closed  I wrote this poem:

The Man from Middlesbrough

ordered another cup of tea,
lit another cigarette.

He held his head
in his history-stained hands,
nicotine fingers clutching
tufts of dirty grey hair.
He stared, not-seeing, at
the plastic tablecloth,
his mind numb.

His father, his grandfather,
worked in this shipyard
watched ships lovingly grow
from steel plates to proud traders,
built to sail from the Tees estuary,
into the North Sea
and the world's great oceans.

In his head the man heard the noise,
music to him, of drag chains,
when a ship pushed along
the greasy slipway, slid into the sea.
And the man thought of his mates,
of shared experiences from schooldays,
first girlfriends, first kisses,
walks in the Cleveland hills.
And he thought of the old canteen,
warm with steam from the tea urn,
from brotherhood.

The man wiped his eyes
with the back of his hand,
ordered another cup of tea,
lit another cigarette.


Very best wishes, Patricia