Sunday, 21 April 2013

Tell Me a Secret

Tell me a secret 
part of you I can treasure,
and revere, as essence 
of a closeness 
of hearts, 
give me open, and
welcoming arms 
that call, 
only my name,
out of longing and grace; 
let me watch as your seeking 
fingers trace in solace, all the rose-tint
of my gentle curves, 
tell me all the ways I can brighten
your world and lend me quiet moments 
to whisper these 
words that struggle
to form 
and decant; 
better yet let them be said 
with a tender, warm
and kisses like silk
or lace; 
better still to be drawn 
with a slow, 
dancing taste, of a tongue 
on fresh-salted skin;
the sort that frees 
sleeping truths 
from within all our deepest,
and most cavernous 
if naked and bare
we talk of our souls,
then we entrust our desires 
...and hearts. 

Saturday, 20 April 2013

First Flight

My soul feels the gentle sway 
of you,
hard footprints across my heart, too long a 
winter-wind has blown, and held us
only too far 
apart, Too many days 
have passed
without comfort; 
without solace 
in your listening eyes, 
too many mornings have come 
and gone without you, 
at my side. Too many nights now we haven't 
raced a sunset, 
too often we've missed its rise, all for want 
of moments to spend;
for a freedom-game; 
for time. So long since we have walked, 
both barefoot,
in grass without an autumn rain, 
or felt a fresh spring bluster fill 
our hair 
in a sun-dappled lane.Yesterday and yesterday 
since we felt summer's tender flame 
come creeping
and entice our spirits, to beauty 
and wanton things;
but yet it comes, my dear one;
beneath your saddle,
I felt the buds of wings.


Sunday, 14 April 2013

An Awful Palaver


Mr Chichester-Fortiscue (exasperated): “Insert the pole here, Mrs Ramsey…do you see, into this hole. There should always be something in every hole. I can’t do it all myself and hold these ropes tight to boot!”

Mrs Ramsey: “Well…yes Mr Chichester-Fortiscue, I quite agree…it is most preferable to fill all the holes at once. I’m trying, but I seem to be having a little trouble with this one. You see the pole feels rather too large. It’s a terrible squeeze, and it’s very long. I don’t know quite how to handle it on my own and I’m not entirely sure the hole will accommodate it. I’m rather nervous to try whilst I’m entangled in these bonds. Do you think you could push a little harder from your end and we might manage it together? I simply don’t understand it…I’m really very experienced, I’ve never had such bother before. Do you think the pole could be bent Mr Chichester-Fortiscue? Perhaps it’s gone limp in the middle?”

Mr Chichester-Fortiscue: “Mrs Ramsey! I assure you, this pole is neither bent nor limp!!! There is nothing wrong with this pole at all! It’s a very fine pole indeed. It simply requires some careful manipulation to perform satisfactorily. I feel perhaps it is you who are being too heavy handed in your approach!”

Mr Gatesgill: “Heavy handed, Chichester-Fortiscue? Oh no. I’ve always had her down as very conscientious. Slow and steady, I grant you, but she gets the job done, and done very well in my experience. Do you require some assistance Mrs Ramsey?”

Mrs Ramsey: “Oh, thank you kindly Mr Gatesgill…that does make me feel so much better about the whole mess. We really are struggling… Mr Chichester-Fortiscue is trying to insert his pole into this rather tight hole and it’s become an awful palaver! We’ve been at it for at least twenty minutes and I can’t feel a thing at my end yet. Usually it’s been snugly in by now, with just a little wiggle either side, but this time…in and out, in and out…and not very far in at that! It keeps getting stuck. I’m afraid Mr Chichester-Fortiscue thinks it ‘s my fault, and he’s rather losing his temper.”

Mr Gatesgill: “Right-ho Mrs Ramsey… Ah  yes…it’s nothing to fret about. I’ve seen this happen many times. Quite normal. It’s easily sorted. Now then…you take hold of the hole here and hold it open like this…yes that’s it, that’s wonderful Mrs Ramsey…and we’ll feed the pole in gently, bit at a time. Are you quite ready? “

Mrs Ramsey: “As I’ll ever be gentlemen.”

Mr Gatesgill: “Very well…push Chichester-Fortiscue…ah yes, it is rather a snug fit, isn’t it? Harder man, harder…put some effort into it! That’s better!! I can really feel that now! Is it coming Mrs Ramsey?”

Mrs Ramsey: “Oh…oh…I say, do be careful! Not so roughly Mr Gatesgill…you’re going to tear something…ouch! Ow! Stop…stop, I say…don’t just ram it in! You’re being too forceful, that’s rather hurting me!!”

Mr Chichester-Fortiscue: “My sincere apologies dear…old Gatesgill here can be something of a beast and a brute…can you feel anything yet?”

Mrs Ramsey: “Yes, yes…I think so Mr Chichester-Fortiscue…I think I’m just beginning to feel the end of it. Push it faster now, that’s right, Just twist it a little to the left…oh  yes, YES! That’s it!!! …now back to the right…that’s it…here it comes…push! Push harder gentlemen! Oh, that’s just the ticket, it’s all the way in! …Now then…this part goes up the bottom. Come and pull these ropes tighter Mr Gatesgill! Oh that’s fantastic…there it is poking out the other side! What a joy to behold after all that effort!”

Mr Chichester-Fortiscue: “A joy to behold indeed, Mrs Ramsey…damn fine tent! The boy scouts will be thrilled!”

Mrs Ramsey: “I’m so glad I could be of assistance, Mr Chichester-Fortiscue, Mr Gatesgill. You just be sure to show the Scouts a good time this weekend.”

Mr Gatesgill: “Oh we certainly will, Mrs Ramsey…I’ve thought of nothing else all week.”

Friday, 12 April 2013

#Fridayflash - What The Darkness Is For


If you have ever lain alone at night, you will know what the darkness is for. If ever you have seen that deepest blackness, the sort that folds you in its soft embrace; I can say, beyond doubt, you will know. The darkness will have spoken to you some way. And the things that the darkness is for, will be different for everyone.
Your darkness may be for thinking, for fretting, perhaps, about the things you could not control… All the might-have-beens. Or it may be a velvet cloak of filthy self-analysis, criticisms of all the you that still feels uncontrolled. Your darkness may be for reliving old guilt, for chastising yourself in regret; or it may be for living in freedom and joy, with quiet conscience and the lessons of before… The purpose of the darkness, depends only upon the sway of your soul.
Perhaps your darkness is all for feeling - if you are not the analytical type. For the blind acceptance of the here. The now. And the you that is, and ever shall be. Perhaps, my friend, you are just like me, and that is what your darkness is for.
You see, I lie alone in the dark on purpose. I always have done. Ever since. It allows me moments of quiet, to remember, to taste my past and understand an inevitable future, that in a matter of time, I know, will come. It allows me to know myself, to admit my wants. The things I have desired and can take now, beyond the bounds of my egocentricity. I keep myself, a myriad of treasures in my chest; and it is the darkness that lets me open the lid.
In the embered blackness, I can take from the box, all of my selfish trinkets. Count, one by one, all the reasons that I lie alone. And I lay each one, before my minds eye, like the stones and seashells, that she placed, in rows on our garden wall.
First, I can lay down her loaded words, the ones she gave to me, in a note intended as parting. All the things she asked me to be and to do in fine handwriting that didn’t quite say ‘goodbye’. Then I can lay down the bright, round buttons, of her favourite blue coat, and recall, how they matched her eyes.
I can run my fingers, smoothly over a lock of her hair, the one I cut, in the last hour, and tied carefully with a ribbon. Then, I can take her scent, from the chest of my memory, and stroke it the way I did her skin, in the final days, before it was dry, or thin, or paper…and when it almost still smelled of her.   
And I can think of the apple tree I planted above her, uninterrupted thoughts; as I take the most precious item from my box. The shrivelled heart she told me didn’t love me anymore, lies still now, and she could nearly be right. But my own heart still throbs when I hold its coldness…its desiccation, up close to my skin. It will never be over for me.
What she could not give, I took. To have…and to hold. Lest I die of its absence.
Her or me. Acceptance.
That, is what the darkness is for.
I sign and date it, and add this ode to my box, when I re-pack my cherished charms. When they come, I don’t want them to judge me. I want them all to know that I knew them, and all their darkness too. That we are the same, but for the sway of our souls.
I slide the box, with care, back beneath my bed…and in the velvet blackness, again, I lie alone.  


I confess, I walked these streets
and something inside me called
your name, and I pushed all my gentle
memories away, like they did not stab
at me.
And I watched all the diamonds fold and seem
to sparkle
in their lights of tomorrow,
and I could not deny any rubies of
sorrows, they dragged up
from my reflecting soul.
All told, I wanted
to stop
and rewind,
to say all the things that once
upon a time, hours ate
whilst I let them go by.
May sun in a cold, clear sky, was enough,
just enough, to remind me to breathe,
but it was not nearly enough
to deceive,
or blind,
from my heart’s recall.
So I confess, I walked these streets today,
 - wholly unforgotten again -
and I gladly remembered it all. 

The Rock

Ode to the place my soul lives...

and then,
when I sit atop you,
I wonder on all
that we have known and
come through; a childhood, the sunsets,
on which ledges I have stood, picnics and
laughter and the trappings
of a dutiful love,
and my hands, by instinct, caress the one
to whom I would gather my prisons and silently run,
whenever there was nowhere else.
For you knew all the times
I put myself on a shelf, of tomorrow and tomorrow
above the clandestine truth,
you knew my desires, all in vain,
you watched all my days, forced to be the same
and you cut my shackles free again, whenever
I had moments
to watch the clouds of your blue.
None of it was ever you
not really
just a means of wanton escape.
But you’ve stopped me in my tracks, each and every way,
with your views, all the days of my life.
And lying beside you, awaiting a sunset tonight,
I feel a ghost
of future and summer heat, in the sun:
And I can say now,
‘stay mine forever,
someday...when they ask...
I will share you with someone’.

Little Girls...


Fourteen. Four-teen.
She used to be fourteen. September 1999. Her grandmother made her a birthday cake. Green, royal icing turf and little fondant, red shirts, all the way around the edges. Her parents bought her a team scarf. Pride of the Treble year. In the picture, she is sitting at the dining room table, proudly holding it up, and smiling. Candles blown out. Little blue t-shirt with a daisy on the front: appliqué - “He loves me…he loves me not.” Hair drawn back in a ponytail, glossy waves in her combed-out curls – curls, at fourteen, were not cool.
School. She went to school when she was fourteen. Bright, they said. One of the fortunate ones, who excelled with what always seemed little effort; who took the higher exams without ever really noticing. She tied her tie with the yellow stripes far too short, on purpose. She pinned a shiny pig, and a treasured, team crest, to the pointy end of it. HER tie. Tuck your shirt in. No thanks. Fitted shirts don’t need tucking in, rather hanging out, to conceal skirts that are rolled up at the waist. Put your blazer on. If I must…playful smile…sleeves rolled up, long-embedded creases from the bottom of her backpack. Fourteen.
Rebellious? Not really. She affirmed friendships at fourteen that she would have forever. If forever is now? Lively, but loyal, wild moments, yet safely dependable…just an average year in an adventure of growing up. Growing up, and growing together.
She dropped a few trainers out of the third floor window, but nine times out of ten, her homework was in on time. She knew about the six week old, open tin of tuna under the science bench, but she wasn’t for telling who did it, and her investigations were always thoroughly researched. Her artwork and handwriting were called ‘beautiful’, but she guessed all the answers to her mental arithmetic. She had manners, but gave as much good-natured cheek as her grades allowed her to get away with. Ever the Artful Dodger. Ever as amusing, as she was infuriating. Survivor, by any means. Especially, a cheeky smile.
She wrote pages and pages of lines in good weather…lovely neat lines… I must not be late back from lunch, I must not be late back from lunch …And pages and pages of well-formed and well-argued essays. She had forbidden stickers on all of her books, graffiti in her planner, a middle finger up to 'the rules' in a lot of ways, but she always finished her work. Tomorrow was coming. Driven, ambitious…gonna fly. Gonna get away. Fourteen.
Life moved too fast, and was far too interesting, to waste a slip of sunshine on lunch. There would always be an ice cream van in the schoolyard (Yes mum…I had a salad…), and rays to feel warming her hair. Mischief, & freedom…were entirely different to malice.
She gave the rest of her lunch money away on the days she didn’t need it. Someone else always did. Half decent kid; half-grown. Big attitude, big fun…big, growing heart. Fourteen. No angel, no real trouble. Not a care in the world…it seemed.
Fourteen days after she left fourteen behind, she took a fourteen day holiday to a little, sunny island. Her parents took a day trip. A week out of school before half term, she stayed at the hotel, to read the English text she’d be missing in the lessons back home: Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.
Beach bag, book…bright orange bikini. Towel, sun-lounger…swimming pool. Hot day, pool side smiles… …Lone boy. Pool fountain…giggles… Discarded exam practice, mislaid text book. Boy…pool table… Chatter, laughter. Sweet shop…pool bar… Hotel room. Number 14.
Lesson: He loves me…? He loves me not.
All little girls will be fourteen someday. The good, the bad…and the mischievous. No angels, & no real trouble.
Most important lesson on which there will be an exam: No difference: all little Rapunzels in their towers... He loves me, he loves me not. 
My response to the Leeds Savage Club Writers' Group Task - Fourteen.



We could call this a moment
of heaven,
to taste,
or a gentle
talisman, to keep you safe
from harm
as you wander and roam;
we could call it  a bond
to bring you home,
a holy sanctuary’s shining touchstone,
or you alone, can call it
you choose.
It seems you have nothing
left to loose in the waning
of you.
You either do
or you don’t,
you will or won’t;
each silence, louder,
in an echoing dawn.
But everything moves closer
when it feels it
belongs, when it wants,
when it matters;
out of sight, but never mind: 
a tender calling
always resonant, and spoken,
in my guarding heart
I find.