Thursday, May 16, 2013
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Thursday, April 04, 2013
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Thursday, September 29, 2011
A drawer full of post-it-notes and not just the yellow ones. Another bulging with inner tubes in various sizes, to guard against all manner of deflation. And one for that novel by Emma Donoghue that we have two copies of as where else better? Nestled next to the little rice cooking ball that looks like a robot planet, that so appealed in the catalogue, shiny with potential just as any robot planet would be, but which we’ve never used.
A small shelf of books - the handful we have truly loved and can’t bear to part with. Another with framed photos of those people we’ve parted with and can’t bear to love. A row of jars containing nothing but air, sealed inside on memorable days. A bundle of envelopes that once held letters in various forms, the typed and the handwritten, the cryptic, coded and downright blunt. The letters themselves have gone but the envelopes bear witness to our first encounters with bad news in its many guises.
Coppers in a pot just in case we ever find something worth buying for just one or two pence. A dish full of seeds collected from things grown in our garden – things we didn’t plant, but which grew from previous seeds deposited by passing creatures. And a pill box brimful of apostrophes - the should have used, overused and those kept handy just in case.
Sunday, September 04, 2011
I think it's high time I re-polished my nuggets and dangled them here to delight those who prefer truth when it sparkles and burns and buys it's way into all the most (un)desirable places.
Inevitably drawn to pale foods he was the sort of man to heap his plate with potatoes and spend the meal searching for his meat. To drink two pints of milk straight from a summer doorstep and smile away the morning as they curdled gently within. To think of his mother whenever he caught himself looking at a woman's breasts - remembering her force feeding him rice pudding, and withholding blancmange when he'd been bad.
Friday, August 12, 2011
Friday, May 28, 2010
spotted last sunday. baby birds times two. the collared dove not yet smooth, and darker than it will become. like brewed tea taken less milky. the sparrow still fluffed with down the colour of ash. a little phoenix. both hopeless against the wind, content to go wherever it takes them.
at the corner point of the roof next door is a strip of metal that forms a curl. a roofer’s flourish it looks like it should support a hanging basket although that would float far to high for belief, watering or enjoyment. this afternoon, one foot on the tile, another on the curl, stands a crow. looking to each cardinal direction in turn. sparkling in the sun. if black can be said to sparkle.
this morning. a small green beetle-bug comes through the door. perhaps wind blown, perhaps self propelled. it lands on my hand. I try to shake it off, I am reading. it weaves between my fingers, round the back and in between. it has a long body, not a round one. I flick it off and it skids across my page. I grab it and feel it rattling slightly in my fist. like a word you can’t quite remember. I cast it out the door, badly. it sails towards the little bleached fir that we plan to plant round the front to replace the one that we uprooted at the end of last year. the one that had grown too big for us and for itself. but beetle-bug falls short, and lands in a web. I hope it gets free. I am reading but I would rather it was still stuck to me than to that web.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
today is all I have to do. brown blankets to the power of two. strawberry tea brewed strong with one heaped sweet. listen to short CDs, boys with guitars and easy accents. finger nails tap in time on the rim of this mug. net curtains parted slightly, hooked by a thread on a thorn on a pot plant. the street outside, a dagger shape slicing into view. a scrappy bookmark of the place I left off, that I’m meant to pick up again. but not today.
* * * * *
the garden grew indistinct. she thought she was falling asleep with her eyes open. but it was just a sea mist creeping through. not rolling in the way they usually do, steering round corners and piping between trees. this one seemed to form in the air itself. in every place between here and the distance the air grew thicker and the view thinner. as if something was turning down the volume on this tuesday afternoon.
Monday, March 01, 2010
I’ve always been drawn to mosaics, jigsaws and patchwork. Anything that aims to make a whole out of small somethings. I also regularly need to revisit the question of why I write. It feels reckless to do it without understanding my motivation. I’m not the type of person who would climb a mountain simply because it’s there. And the answer I’ve often come to is that I write to keep record. Noting the daily in an effort to distinguish the uniqueness of each. I think that’s a major reason why haiku suits me. Each is a little patch, and seen together they suggest some kind of record of experience. A patchwork of my days. Of course I like my flights of fancy too, my wild imaginings. Perhaps these are my play, where I fling the patched cape around my shoulders and pretend to be a kaleidoscopic witch for the day.
I’ve dabbled with reading diaries before, but never fully embraced them. Plath’s big green volume has been bowing my bookshelf for years. But recently I’ve dipped my toe into May Sarton’s coastal account shared in The House by the Sea. And I’m astounded at how much I’m finding there, how much relevance to my todays considering Sarton’s todays were almost forty years ago. I admire a diary keeper - their bravery as they allow me to hear their confession. The way they aren’t ashamed to be so indulgent as to write about themselves day after day. Perhaps we all hope to create something that will outlive and outlast us. Some people bear children to meet this need, while some of us prefer to make something we can burn if we change our minds.
Today I shall start to read the first entry in the fictional diary of Ruth which runs through Thaw, the third novel from Fiona Robyn. I’m interested to see how Ruth uses her diary, and if you are too you can read along for the next three months at Thaw.
Friday, February 19, 2010
I always enjoy spending time browsing through the posts at One Million Footnotes, not least because the most interesting text recognition scrambles appear when I comment there. And perhaps influenced by the mood of the place, sometimes I can’t help but make up sentences to nest these unexpected words.
A recent dubious flock hatched the following -
- He said he admired my fulogo and I admitted I had waited years for it to bloom that profusely.
- As they lifted the deadverd stones from their mahogany chest and laid them into a perfect circle they knew that tonight was the night it would happen.
- How ever much her grandmother combed or wetted them with spittle, she could never calm those unruly efrai that danced around her ears.
- The seeds of the pandea were bitter between his teeth. But they made his dreams taste sweet.
- The odabil was lost overboard, just as they rounded the lighthouse. It sunk slowly to the seabed and sometime later was appropriated by a shy hermit crab.
- It wasn’t the first case of outterea they had recorded, but it was the worst. It didn’t quite kill the villagers, but they were left distinctly altered, unaware that they’d made it into the record books.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
This is the tissue that carried two drops of oil of eucalyptus. That lay folded beneath your pillow. That let you sleep and dream away the fever. That helped you be a hummingbird.
This is the tissue that you fashioned into a soft envelope. To treasure the eyelash. That you found between the pages of a second hand paperback. The day you fell in love with a stranger.
This is the tissue you clutched. That we shared secrets. The ones you’d stood on for years. The ones that started to eat you from the feet up.
This is the tissue that caught your hayfever tears. Walking through the fields. Swigging cherry wine from the bottle. Looking down at the village we’d outgrown.
This is the tissue that blew overboard. Out on deck. Cross Channel ferry. Smiling and watching the others look seasick.
This is the tissue you found stuffed down the back of the sofa. As you sat with your coffee cooling. On the first Valentine’s day without a card.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I don’t believe in these snowflakes. The sky is laughing and running with scissors. It’s breaking the rules and snipping the corners off clouds, and dropping the litter in my garden. The trees and the shrubs are dancing with agitation. The wind is getting on their nerves as they try to make plans for spring.
Thursday, February 04, 2010
If I had the time I’d tell you a story about the girl who could speak to the rain.
I’d tell you how she would sit in a quiet room and let it patter at her window. Few people know that raindrops speak a language distantly related to Morse code. She would listen to their hopes, their everyday worries and their weekend heartaches. She was usually content to listen, a well mannered eavesdropper, and they didn’t seem to mind. But occasionally she’d reply, tapping on the glass with her fingernails. And then the raindrops would gather on the other side, in eager clumps and clusters. She’d share little matters of little interest – what she’d had for lunch or a snippet from a magazine. And they’d be thrilled. Few people care enough to learn fluent raindrop. Sometimes she’d wish a raindrop ‘Happy Birthday’ and tonnes of others would arrive in a flurry to cheer and toss the birthday drop around. Passersby would frown and pull their collar tighter to their neck. Sometimes she’d go to other houses and overhear other people’s raindrops. They were never as friendly as hers. To long ignored they’d hurl themselves cursing against the window pane – threatening to break in and drown the householders. Other houses had sad raindrops sliding slowly towards the sill, crying and muttering how no-one loved them.
I’d like to learn to speak raindrop. If I could I think we might forge a better relationship. We could learn not to mess with each others plans.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Once upon a time I built her a house of cards. To keep her happy, to lock her away.
For her second coming I’m constructing a life-size cinema made from spent matchsticks. I’m laying an orange carpet, and tearing out the flame retardant seats. I’m painting the walls the colour of
And she’ll get a front row seat. To watch the show. To see how quickly we all fall down. One huff, two puffs, three’s company and four’s a cloud.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I know a warm hearted man who believes that snowflakes are made of spite, with a little water and sky thrown into the mix, just to help them to fly.
these things fall silentlytears and snowflakesbeautiful and bearableonly in ones and twos
[with thanks to dandelion for the above image]
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Coaches spill dusty daytrippers onto an overcast promenade where they trundle back and forth for a few hours, before climbing aboard again - a strange anoraked tide that only rises in the summer months.
Children run, armed with open arms, towards shingle-speckled young gulls, who lift and rise and scatter from the pebbles, only to settle again, a little further down the beach.
For a few weeks blue and sand is not enough, this simple view obscured by whirling waltzers. The fun fair is back in town. High tide drowned by the sound of Phil Collins.
I text to tell you the whereabouts of me and my sandwich. A yapping gull hovers level with me and my breadcrusts. Do you want that on brown or white bread? she said - considering the depth of speckles on the young gulls, hatched this year or last.
Triangles of varied sizes slide westwards like folded paper yachts pulled by the string of the horizon. And a huge yellow buoy bobs like a drowning sun.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
When I was very young I had a picture book. I can’t remember what it was. Perhaps Beatrix Potter. Something clearly rural. On one page there were some leaves, and on one leaf there was a squiggle of white. And it always bothered me.
I didn’t think it could be a mistake. Surely the people who drew the pictures for the picture books didn’t make mistakes. I believed all adults had learned to draw properly, to stay within the lines.
By then I had learned to draw leaves myself. Although I probably made them all the same shape. Coloured them all the same green, unless the felt-tip ran dry, in which case the tree would seem spoiled.
I probably thought leaves were limited to trees, or either side of the stem of a flower, as if for balance. I didn’t realise that all sorts of growing things choose to wear leaves. Hedges and weeds and even the things we eat.
Probably come autumn the teacher piled the tables with pens of red and yellow and orange and suddenly I didn’t spare a thought for the humble green. But I knew that pale wiggle was peculiar, as I’d never been taught to add that to my drawings.
And then today I look out of my back door and see a leaf, in fact two or more. Right there, hiding under the bush where the sparrows form a disorderly queue for the bird-table. And there is that squiggle, just as I remember it from that forgotten story.
And while I might not have learned to draw better leaves, and might still throw a tantrum if my pen runs dry, I have learned to grow my own leaves, and I recognise the work of a leaf miner when I see it.
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
From my notebook, earlier this month -
“I put on sun block today because I decided to actually sit in the sun rather than just flirt with it.
Yesterday felt like a good day. Good to be within that particular Tuesday. A good day to pass through. Do I pass through a day or does a day pass through me? is a human life a digestive system for time?
On a daily basis we bite off chunks and nibbles. We chew. We flavour them with different names - work, rest and play. We spice them up or soothe them through our tubes. And slowly but surely with peristaltic grace they travel through our winding passageways. We suck what we need from them. We drain the life from each scrap and then discard the waste. The husks we have no use for - the leftover seconds, minutes or hours that offered no nutriment.”
And since then I’ve tried to pay closer attention to the particular flavour of each day, noting something special I tasted along the way.
- She said she was woken by the seagulls.
- In my hand, reflected birds pass through the lens of my sunglasses. Moments before they would have flown across my eyes. And I wouldn’t have noticed.
- The man I admired holds a large fish he has caught. Note the past tense.
- Every chimney seems to be sprouting gull chicks.
- The cheapest flowers are also the ones I would choose.
- So many bees. I can still hear the buzzing when none are near.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
A few last words on behalf of the tulips -
* I thought something had died when I looked out of the window this morning. Pieces of red strewn this way and that. Bold stains on shy concrete. Red enough to make the bricks blush. Thankfully the victim was only the tulips - given up the ghost for another year, petals thrown to the wind.
* An evening wind teases fallen tulip petals. Spins them in ever decreasing circles - their red deepens as the light retreats.
* They looked like they should taste of burnt cherry. They look like they should feel pain. Unashamed to fall apart so publicly. I wish we could live like tulips. Not for long, but vividly, bravely. I wish I could burn myself into memory and leave bloody fingerprints on your page.
Out with the old, in with the new. Some plastic wrapped blooms that sit pretty in a vase on a windowsill. And they too draw me in. Into their light filled rooms, their hearts bursting with sunshine and serenity. Delightful, but nothing like their wilder cousins.