Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Rise of the Phoenix

The night before last my garden fire like my enthusiasm was in danger of burning out but all was not lost. Returning to the fire the following morning I discovered it like my dream for a healing garden had not died completely over night. A faint wisp of smoke, a message from spirit, caught my attention and by nuturing the glowing embers back to life and blowing my breath into the tiny flames my passion for the project was reignited.


Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Anger, Apathy and Avoidance

Greeted by blue sky and sunshine upon waking I decided it would be a great day to spend some time in the garden. My outer garden like my inner garden is I think it's fair to say a little cluttered. Wanting to create a healing space in a section that has become overrun by raspberries I set off all fired up to clear the plot. Accompanied by my grand pup Leif (an eight month old border collie who is a keen digger) I got to work. The canes I soon discovered were well rooted but I persevered and made reasonable progress. I also started a fire to burn the slowly growing mountain of twigs and dead vegetation as the garden waste bin was already overflowing. Little did I realise at this stage that I was about to learn just how much our inner and outer landscapes are connected.

As the hours passed I began to notice I was feeling a tad frustrated at the slow progress I was making. By the time the light was fading this frustration fuelled by a slow and constant trickle of negative thoughts was becoming uncomfortable if not to say unbearable. The relentless drip feed of "You'll never get the task completed. Give up it's too big a job. You don't know what you're doing" ad infinitum was seriously pushing my buttons and more than a little pissing me off. Yes I was no longer dealing with frustration I had crossed over the boundary into anger.

Anger for many of us is an uncomfortable feeling and if like me you are an Enneagram type 9 it is an emotion we try and avoid until it can no longer be suppressed. When we 9s do eventually reach detonation point our anger usually takes one of two routes. It either manifest as rage directed at some poor soul who happens to have irritated us with some minor misdemeanour or still not wanting to acknowledge it we turn it inwards and become depressed. Today for once in my life I did neither, I also fought that other huge urge of a 9 - the tendency to ruminate or over think. No instead I just said quite calmly to those around me that I was feeling fucking angry, did a good impression of a tantrum which we all laughed about and then contemplated spending some time complaining at the conscious complaining shrine. (For any of you not familiar with a conscious complaining check out
http://newconnexion.net/articles/index.cfm/2010/11/Conscious_Complaining.html
- I highly recommend the practice)

After dispersing the anger in a healthy way I suddenly had one of those aha moments. At times I really struggle with apathy and procrastination and today whilst tending my outer garden I learnt why. Putting off difficult tasks or delaying jobs that seem overwhelming is I discovered something I have a tendency to do as it avoids having to deal with difficult emotions. This is a flawed strategy as the jobs or tasks don't disappear but merely stack up until both my inner and outer landscapes are so cluttered I can't ignore the issues any longer. I then usually get angry with myself or someone else who also has a tendency to procrastinate. By projecting my apathy and procrastination onto someone else means I don’t have to acknowledge my shadow. I should really be more mindful of what I find most annoying in others for as Carl Jung wisely said “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves”.

Well I'm sure my garden has many more valuable lessons to share and I have an inkling the conscious complaining shrine might have a regular visitor over the coming weeks as work on both my gardens progresses!!


Saturday, 26 December 2015

Perfectionism and the Inner Critic

How many of us I wonder have a beautiful bound unused notebook or journal hidden away in our cupboard. If we were to dig it out we would probably find it in pristine condition, perhaps even encased in its cellophane wrapper. Why has it remained unused? What has held us back from making our mark upon its blank pages? Maybe we simply haven’t found a use for the book yet or perhaps there is another deeper and more uncomfortable reason. If we are prepared to dig a little into our shadows what can this flawless, new, immaculate, book tell us about ourselves?

Over my lifetime I have acquired a number of such notebooks. Some I’ve been given as presents and a few I’ve purchased myself usually during moments when I’ve entertained the thought of writing a journal or creating a sketchbook. Sadly many of these books where banished to the dark recesses of a cupboard to only be rediscovered during a much needed declutter or a house move. At those moments I’ve then been faced with the dilemma to ditch or redeem the items. Usually the latter has prevailed when I succeeded in convincing myself that I do have a need for the books.

So if I feel a real need to use these books what is stopping me? I could probably come up with umpteen plausible reasons and to an extent all would hold an element of truth but if I’m truly honest the main reason is the F word. Yes you guessed it FEAR. My fear of making a mistake on the pristine, unblemished pages of each and every one of these books is holding me back from expressing all those ideas and creations I have spent hours contemplating. My inner critic, that annoying little F….. (yes that’s the other F word!) has stymied my creative being. Oh but that can’t be so I hear you say, what about all those drawings you do or poems you write? Well yes I do have a note book for my poems but I only write in it in pencil. In that way I can rub out any mistakes. For my sketchbooks I have a different approach. I have books and paper which I draw upon before editing and putting in my sketchbook proper.  

Whilst these approaches represented a quantum leap for me and got me out of my thinking head and into doing mode I would have to agree they are a little OCD. Yes my number of notebooks residing in the dark is diminishing but my negative inner critic is not. No this ever present and persistent voice from the shadows is most definitely still requiring a script rewrite. With this in mind I have decided to embark on a new approach. Inspired by Sandra Ingerman’s book How to Heal Toxic Thoughts my negative inner critic is about to find itself in the alchemist crucible where hopefully in time it might be transformed into a more encouraging and compassionate voice.  

Now in case you aren’t aware all good alchemists have a recipe book or some would call it a spell book or book of intentions. Well with no shortage of notebooks I am assigning a particularly beautiful red silk bound notebook with handmade paper pages to this task. It will become My Little Book of Intentions and Prays. I am under no illusion about the enormity of this transformation task. Rewriting fifty years of negative scripts isn’t going to be a walk in the park, for a start I have to write in my newly assigned book!  Dilemma number one - should I use pen or pencil? If I use pencil I can rub out any mistakes. Alternatively I could write on a piece of paper which I can stick in the book once it has passed my, as yet to be agreed, stringent criteria. Using this approach might avoid the need to tear out any pages. Yes my school exercise books were probably thinner than most, I wonder if my teachers noticed? Perhaps they thought I was a particularly diligent student who wrote a lot.

In case you are wondering, yes I have written in my book and yes it was directly onto the page and in pen. It wasn’t easy I admit but I managed and the book still has its full quota of pages!! Finally a wee poem for all you perfectionist out there, I know your problem oh so well but rest assured you too can tell your inner critic to shut the f… up; compassionately of course.

Perfectionism

I cannot write
For fear this white
Unblemished page
I might just blight

Stories, poems, odes
All remain untold
Trapped within
This human hold

An exquisite red silk book
A pristine gift, a writer’s hook
My inner critic screams
OVERLOOK

A misspelt word, a blemish, a blot
Will never I’m told be forgot
Safer then
To forgo the lot


Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Rooting out the Truffle of Truth

It's funny how things come into our awareness. How our outer landscape mirrors our inner landscape. This whole thing about dishonesty, deceit and the search for truth that has been going on in my outer world is, as always, a story of two parts. I realised this yesterday when I looked out my window and saw a wild boar in the top of a Scots Pine tree. Not a real boar of course but the shape of a boar created by the needles. Curious I looked up the meaning of the wild boar totem and to my amazement discovered the symbology of the totem is truth, courage and confrontation. As I pondered this a wee while an image of a boar rooting out a truffle of truth came into my mind (see doodle below). Soon after other articles and images started to mysteriously pop up on my Facebook page.

It began to dawn on me that these messages weren't to do with vindicating my own behaviour in a recent altercation with a mate although I am sure my ego would love that to be the case. No these messages were telling me something about my own inner landscape. They were telling me that if I am to find my true self, my connection with the greater consciousness, the divine, the universe, whatever you choose to call it, I need to excavate through my own lies, dishonesty and deceit.

I now see my obsession with finding out the truth as to what was going on between my mate and I was ironic as I have hardly been living an honest life myself. Me seeing him at times as being narcissistic was merely a projection of the narcissist that lives within me. He is part of my shadow. I was denying he existed because I didn't want to accept and own my own shadow, yet in truth there is a narcissist residing within all of us. We are after all beings of duality - yin and yang. I find it interesting I label my narcissist he, may be that says something about how I view men. (A note to self - further work required on men and narcissism). Anyway I project my narcissist because I fear him and cannot own him, yet in reality he probably represents the most wounded aspects of myself. I am now going to do what Rumi advises and welcome him into my human guest house with all the emotions and feelings he brings for he has much to teach me.


The Guest House by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought,
the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Nightmare

The storm on Friday night felled the old horse chestnut tree in the wood behind my house. In Autumn when the leaves fall from a horse chestnut it leaves a scar on the twig which resembles an inverted horse shoe with nail holes. It started me thinking about the Goddess Epona again. Epona was called 'Mare' (MAH-ray) by the Irish of Dalriada, she was the bringer of dreams good and bad. The English word 'nightmare' is derived from her Irish name and her association with horses and dreams. Epona is often depicted riding a white horse. Anyway all these thoughts swirling around in my head found their way out in a poem.

Nightmare

Beneath the gnarled contorted skin
A nightmare stirred deep within
She feared not the baying pack
It wasn't her scent the rabid beasts tracked
Their quarry, her protector, her cage
Who's ravaged ageing frame
Stood testimony to countless battles raged
Against Winter gales and torrential rain
He'd held his ground
He remained unslain

In for the kill the howling hounds attacked
Splitting, stripping
The wooden armour from his back
Eighty strong they tore at him
Ripping limb for limb
Then I heard that final ear splitting crack
Slain, his dismembered trunk
Lay strewn across a storm teared track
Now freed from a Horse Chestnut skin
A white nightmare soared from deep within



Monday, 23 November 2015

Love Addiction

Love is like a roller coaster
Full of highs and lows
When we are together
A river of ecstasy flows

Distance is the killer
That's when the darkness comes
Anger and resentment
Are what my life becomes

But this love is a false love
A fantasy that grew
Where unconditional love was lacking
Addiction did ensue


Friday, 23 October 2015

Nonconformity

This little fella was destined to become a Christmas decoration but after knitting several identical ones I feel a piece of artwork starting to emerge. A couple of poetic lines popped into to me head too.

Nonconformity

Isolated I stand,
against the growing monoculture of human kind,
The larch does not conform,
laid bare in winter she looks forlorn,
But she like me is not depressed,
She merely rests to await her time.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

A Work in Progress

Remember if you woke up this morning feeling broken, a thousand shards scattered, beyond repair, do not loose hope. Pick up the pieces you can find and work lovingly with them. Reshape them, add new ones and in time you will become like a beautiful glass sculpture. As you grow a little each day your light will begin to radiate outwards; a beautiful rainbow of colour. You can heal, you are the artist, become the sculpture of your lifework. Work with love to create something truly beautiful.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Soul Searching

Bleak and cold the desolate landscape I roam,
Devoid of vibrant hues and tones,
Lost beneath an impenetrable freeze,
Darkness has come to bedeck my home,

Winter's army mercilessly invades,
Takes no prisoners, no slaves,
And my defeated soul, long tortured, retreats,
To the place where demons grow,

Lost in Hades' world where fear resides,
I do not die,
I sleep and dream of Spring,
And glimpse those vibrant colours that reside within.


The inspiration for the poem came from a painting by artist Graham Wallace. The artwork like all of us is a work in progress.

https://www.facebook.com/Graham-Wallace-Art-278319268894770/ 

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Fake Friends

Fake friends are like a fake tan; they're all over you, very superficial and don't last long. Don't waste your investment on a fake bake.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Aylan

From war and famine you fled
To be washed by waves of derision
Hatred and prejudice by a minority spread
Fuelled by selfishness and capitalist greed
They have no compassion for different colour or creed
Cold and lifeless amongst the jetsam of western life
Lies you a small precious jewel
Another victim of separatist strife
Sacrificed by Westminster suits
And a virus of hatred spread by tabloid type
I weep for you and the other lives lost
Whilst the bigots strut and squawk over migrant costs
Armour plated they feel no shame
For the death of a child, for the suffering, the pain
No EU policy is really to blame
But I'll not forget
I will remember your name
It was you who ignited Europe's compassionate flame

Monday, 24 August 2015

Secret Lives

Connected in space and time
You on your keyboard, me on mine
Through silence our words are spread
Communicated by fibre optic thread

In separate rooms we always meet
Perching like birds to chat and tweet
A heart to heart in the early hours
Allows our relationship to flower

You tell me all about your life
Omitting one small detail - your wife!
And I recall last week's amazing trip
Unbeknown to you delivered by needle tip

Off Course

I think we all have those moments in life when we feel like we have lost our way. We feel like we are drifting at the mercy of the sea that is life. We list, we yaw, and yes sometimes we sink to rest amongst the detritus for a while. However withdrawing to the depths is not about giving in. No, it is about giving ourselves a much needed rest. We are creating an opportunity for things to settle and once settled the water clears and we are able to chart a new course.

Off Course

Lost, aimlessly drifting
No place in mind
Pulled, pushed
To then fro
Like the shifting sand
No destination planned

Sail torn, untethered
Beaten by the storm
Shredded
Hanging heavy
With no energy to give
Destined to remain adrift


Saturday, 22 August 2015

Does Your Poem Suck?

A helpful article if you're trying to figure out whether that poem you just wrote truly sucks!

WORD UP: For Beginner Poets: How to Know If Your Poetry Suc...: Written  by   Ami Mattison   Poets at all levels of experience worry about whether or not our poetry sucks.  Often, as we contemp...

Midwife of Words

People sometimes ask me why I write poetry. A fair question especially when I contemplate the time I spend mulling over my thoughts. Yes I must spend, minutes, hours, days even, swirling thoughts around in my psyche, feeling their energy flow this way and that. Sometimes its good energy and it resonates with a lulling harmonious rhythm that sings to my soul. At other times it is not so good energy. It thrashes around my inner house leaving emotional devastation in its wake.  The mind monkeys enjoy the feast. They love a good story another drama that will perpetuate the cycles of unhealthy behaviour.

I guess the act of writing allows the energy to flow, to move from that void within where it has been spiralling round. It enables it to flow outward. To take form. No longer lost within those dark depths the words can now dance across the page. Black on white, darkness finally meeting light as a poem is born. Birthed by the poet; the midwife of words. 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Giver, Taker, Matcher, Faker

Are you a giver, a taker, a matcher or a faker? I guess the truth is we have all at some point in our lives been all four.

Adam Grant on Givers, Takers, Matchers and Fakers. An interesting podcast that discusses why we should all strive to be givers.

Who Are You?

In life
There are Givers
There are Takers
There are Matchers
There are Fakers
Which one are you?
Me?
I've been all four
And the doormat
At the door!

Almost a Quintilla

Out walking this morning I felt the first breaths of autumn upon my face and as I contemplated it's arrival it whispered a poem in my ear. Four syllables less a line and it would have been a quintilla.

The Hawthorn Tree

I feel the chill of autumn faintly here and there,
Whispering lullabies within the morning air,
Go find your golden robe and stunning crimson dress,
And as a final touch, certain to impress,
Sow rubies in your fading emerald hair.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Unlocking the Poet Within

My relationship with Stephen Fry is improving. I no longer feel like hurling him across the room accompanied by an ode of expletives!!

Clutter by the Metre

And now Clutter hopefully abiding to the rules of poetic metre!

Clutter

Detritus of modern living,
Seals me in, fast, unforgiving,
Each day another claim for space,
Card city grows at endless pace,
Spilling throughout the white walled room,
Harbinger of impending gloom.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Clutter

Back to my own unique poetic writing style a poem about a subject a little too close to home!!

Clutter

Trapped amongst the detritus of human life,
a battle is lost, chaos resides,
Empty boxes like skyscrapers rise,
and unfiled papers fill space,
where dinner once presided
Each morning ever more junk arrives,
deposited by postie's daily incoming tide
Materialism, consumer driven,
creates more waste, to fill
that once uncluttered space.

All Metered Out

I'm all metered out, struggling with metre and foot!! Think I might have to stick with my own unique style and develop a new blog - badpoetry.com.  I'm going to follow the advice of this site - http://www.newpoetspress.com/writetips.html  which is basically write what my soul wants to sing. If my words sing to your soul too then that's great and if not, no matter. They are after all an expression of me and not you.

The Craft of Poetry

I've been exploring the craft of the poet with the help of Stephen Fry. Today my journey has taken me into the mind boggling realm of metre. As metre is all about beat it's quite ironic that I should choose my poem Time to measure against the yardstick of metre. Lol there's an interesting conundrum - measuring a metre with a yardstick!! Anyway without more a do here is Time reworked so it conforms, I think, to the rules of metre. However upon further reflection I think my stressed and unstressed syllables maybe somewhat awry.

Time

Clocks are ticking
Seconds clicking
Hours are passing
Days amassing
Memories made
Years on can fade
New births, first breaths
Last gasps, sad deaths
Life's for living
Love for giving
C'mon make haste
Create not waste

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Time

Time
Clocks ticking
Seconds clicking
Hours passing
Years amassing
Memories
Of ceremonies
Of new births and first breaths
Of growing old and sad deaths
A lifetime to live
With love to give
Time
Make haste
Too precious to waste

Friday, 7 August 2015

Hidden Love

Where do you keep your love
Behind a thousand locked doors with no key
Beneath the ice for a lifetime's sleep
Oh where do you keep your love

Where do you keep your love
At the bottom of an ocean fathoms deep
Within a well no vessel can ever reach
Oh where do you keep your love

Where do you keep your love
At the top of some inaccessible lonely peak
Behind fortress walls unmeasurably thick
Oh where do you keep your love

Where do you keep your love
Deep in a forest, dark and forbidding
Covered in earth, protected, hidden
Oh where do you keep your love

Tell me, where do you keep your love
So I can feel its warm embrace
Your tender kisses upon my face
Tell me, where do you keep your love

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Death

There is no right time to die,
To bid farewell, to say goodbye,
Death, that final chapter, awaits us all,
Like autumn leaves we each succumb and fall,
And those footprints we left across the shore,
In time will fade, to exist no more.



Sunday, 28 June 2015

Hidden Depths

Within those unmapped expanses, raw, untamed, where silence reigns,
I loose myself again, and again,
And drifting on unchartered seas, where each tear shed adds to stories fathoms deep,
I think of all those precious memories I keep,
Of love and joy, of loss and grief,
A myriad stories that bring torment or bring relief,
Like the fisherman's net that trawls those vast and unforgiving depths, I plunge, I sink,
And there beneath those dark still waters, pearls of wisdom I do seek.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Feel It, Write It, Don't Think It

I sometimes wonder if people who read my poems think I'm melancholy. Yes I do believe there is a beauty in sadness. A raw beauty that reveals our vulnerability, our soul. When we are at our most vulnerable, when the walls of ego have crumbled we are finally able to truly connect. 
Sadness like joy is an emotion but because we construe it as negative we try our hardest to avoid feeling it. But we cannot avoid it, it does not go away. We merely suppress it for a while until it finds another way to seep out from our psyche, from our unconscious. Frequently it will seep out into our thoughts but because we have not allowed ourselves to feel our sadness when it first arose we now become locked in our thoughts. We think and think about what made us sad and in so doing prolong our suffering. 
What I am learning over the years and it is years because I appear to be either a slow or stubborn learner is that expression does shorten our suffering. If we can allow ourselves to feel our negative emotions at their time of origin we are less likely to become locked into our perpetual thinking/rethinking cycles. For me I have found writing poetry is a way I can engage in a non judgemental way with my feelings. I can express what I feel without analysing it. And because I find negative feelings more difficult to express in physical ways I tend to write more poems about them. "Feel it, write it, don't think it" is becoming my mantra.

Sadness

I awaken from a deep but unreplenishing sleep,
Within - a stone encased in ivory bone, heavy, slowly sinks,
A thousand oceans wept but yet no solitary tear shed,
And my eyelids leaden; open I will no longer keep. 


Thursday, 14 May 2015

The importance of being mindful

When things don't go as well as we had hoped and we can put aside our fears of not being good enough we create a rich environment for learning. Today I had a group of teenage mums and toddlers come for a nature play workshop. It was evident at the outset that many of the mums felt out of their comfort zone in the countryside setting. Concerns about getting dirty and a preoccupation with mobile phones prevented mother and child from connecting in the moment. So preoccupied were the mums that they failed to observe how absorbed their child was in something as simple as watching and listening to the rain. 
In the past when I have led an activity where people failed to engaged I have become preoccupied with my own fear of failure. This time however and I don't know why I was able to put my fear aside. I let it go and became an observer. What I learnt was fascinating. I realised that whilst we think we are connecting with our children because we are physically present the truth is we are often anything but present. Our minds are preoccupied with thoughts and fears to such an extent that we are unable to connect in the moment. After the session I started to think about the impact of this behavior on the attachments we form with our children. 
Attachment theory is something I find fascinating as the attachments we form as children follow us into our adult life. How could I rework these workshops to promote a deeper connection between parent and child? How could I encourage parents to be more present? It then hit me - perhaps mindfulness was the way forward. So here I am off to explore the subject of mindful parenting and when reading I'll try and be mindful not to become preoccupied with the thought "What a bad parent I've been".

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Inside of Me

If you looked inside of me
you would find a heart that beats
An ancient rhythm of earth and sky
that governs all things and never dies

If you looked inside of me
you would see a heart that beats
A rhythm that pulsates through my skin
and every cell in harmony sings

If you looked inside of me
you would find a heart with scars
Those harsh words, those minor slights
my heart bears testimony to every fight

If you looked inside of me
you would feel a heart that loves
A love that cannot be constrained
a pure love, raw, untamed

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Call of Home

Across Tees and Tyne and Tweed I hear you call
Across seas of green and urbanscapes built on coal and steel


Goback, goback, I hear you call
to bridge of blue and riverside roar

Goback, goback, I hear you call
to stone walled dale and purple moor

Where we talked of youth and years apart
and dreamt of love and shooting stars

Transporter blue and Ayresome roar
we spent our youth by river and shore

Until we grew and fled the nest
and left our roots for pastures new

Goback, go back, I hear you call
to bridge of blue and riverside roar

Goback, go back, I hear you call
to stone walled dale and purple moor

Where we loved and lost but we never forgot
Our love of home and our Boro red

Bride of Woods

From a rocky knoll amidst waves of russet fronds,
crisp to the touch, washed in autumnal sun,
I spied a fleet of silvery masts,
still amongst a purple mist, that oh so softly clung,
Like fleece jettisoned by flocks of passing sheep,
who roamed the fells and vales beneath my feet.


The ghostly galleons upon which I gazed,
once sailed forth on an October day,
In their millions they'd drifted there,
wave upon wave, borne on autumnal air,
To colonise an ice scoured sculpted land,
where masts of oak and ash would fail to stand.

I marvelled at the patchwork scene,
the undervalued birch bequeathed,
A pale skinned beauty, Bride of woods,
with silver robe and purple feathered hood,
She came and broke the Cailleach's spell,
to tame the bleak and barren fells,
Now where many had feared to go,
a multitude of species grow.




Autumn Robes

Robed in russets, mauves and greens,
carved stone jewels scattered across a once verdant scene,
Your autumnal wardrobe has finally arrived,
with rich warm colours that slowly, gradually, subside,
Maybe later ermine will again be in vogue,
as days shorten and darkness brings the winter rogue,
Stealing colour, light and heat,
a pure white palette as colours to the earthy depths retreat.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Bad Diet

I lay awake in the dark and something stirs,
It chatters, it positively purrs,
This story is good my monkeys spin,
My negative thoughts are set to win,
The diet I feed really does not appease,
It wounds my soul and creates dis-ease.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Clear Water

The water swirls, murky, churning,
I cannot see, I trawl,
I dredge but my hands are empty,
I cannot see, I cannot find,
I'm empty, barren,
No seed lies within me,

I sit in my despair,
Lost, lost for words,
I'm blind, nothing to find,
But as I sit there is a clearing, a settling,
The silted waters so long swirling still,
They clear, the well begins to fill,
Up it rises, higher, higher,
It laps the brim,
No bucket needed to dredge the murky depths,
There is an outpouring, a richness from within,
My wild woman is manifest.

Selkie

Now and then that gentle lulling rhythmic roar,
of waves breaking upon the shore,
would waken me from my daytime sleep,
And as I paused and sensed those shifting sands beneath my feet,
the sirens would begin to sing,
An ancient almost forgotten song,
calling pleading from deep within,
I dreamt a thousand ways to escape,
this net long cast that held me fast within my living fate,
For I longed to swim and dive those depths,
and feel the salt, wet, refreshed, upon my selkie skin.


Home

Across Tees and Tyne and Tweed I hear you call,
Across seas of green and urbanscapes built on coal and steel,
Goback, goback, I hear you call,
And I feel the pull of stone walled dales and purple moors,
Where we talked of youth and years apart,
And dreamt of love and shooting stars.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Shadow Play

You shone your light upon my show,
Lovingly, compassionately, you watched it grow,
With your tender light I saw the shadows play,
Romances, tragedies, battles, day on day,
The puppet actors I met them all,
Athena, Medusa, Venus, I watched from the stall,
You see they all reside in me,
Waiting for that moment to break free,
Too long imprisoned in their dark cage,
They're desperate to seize the centre stage,
To cast their shadows for all to see,
Accept them, love them, for they are me.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Bridges

When I stand and gaze upon a bridge,
I do not marvel at its beauty
Instead my thoughts are those of love
Love spans the rift that lies between us
A connecting thread reaching out across the void,
melting hearts and opening doors,
Its warm embrace can even crumble walls
And where love can truly flow,
empathy and compassion will grow
So lets not build one bridge but many
Its time to cast our love further out
If we each build bridges to a few,
a net will form linking me to you,
and you, and you
And as the bridges grow and love is spread,
a peaceful world we'll build instead.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Rift

I can not build a bridge to you,
The rift is too deep the walls too high,
Your fortress, impenetrable and cold,
Shields your wounded heart and soul,
The thread that linked us lies severed, shredded,
Those loving strands we once wove together,
Separated, perhaps forever,
Unravelling there before our eyes,
Dramas, stories, even lies,
We weave such pain within our lives,
Why? To make each other cry?
But within my heart love still resides,
It does not hate, it hopes, it waits,
To heal that rift, that cast us so painfully adrift.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Medusa

When a man fears a woman's vulnerability, her wisdom, her intuition, he sees Medusa. Fear replaces love, criticism replaces compassion, dark replaces light. As fear spirals out of control man raises his shield to guard his heart and wields his sword to attack. The woman he once so loved is now judged and rejected. She becomes his Medusa.



Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Word Weavers

We weave magic in the words we say,
The sacred blessings we pray,
Those phrases we decant,
Those mantras we chant,

Remember you wound or heal,
With those words that you deal,
It's your karmic wheel,
How do you feel?

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Stuck

We are stuck,
We cannot move,
Held fast like glue,
We are stuck,
Locked in the past,
Trapped, held fast,
We are stuck,
No flow,
No get up and go,
We are stuck,
Inaction feels safe,
No danger of mistake,
We are stuck,
No risk of offence,
No need for defence,
We are stuck,
Oh fuck! We are stuck.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The catharsis of poetry

When I started writing the poem below I was struggling to process some pretty deep and dark emotions. I was swirling around in that little pit of despair that we all get a bit stuck in from time to time. What I am discovering however is that poetry is a great form of catharsis, it is my string out of the labyrinth. Each time I meet my Minotaur I fear him a little less. The journey into the labrynith is always an adventure and yes a challenge, or perhaps I should say it's a quest.

Minotaur
I am broken, so broken, shattered,
a thousand shards scattered,
I am beyond repair,
lost in my darkness, my despair,
It rains,
a ceaseless never ending pain,
Burning, scolding, unrelenting,
demon tears forever tormenting,
There is no place to hide,
in this labyrinth where fear resides,
Blind ends, closed doors,
I finally meet my Minotaur.

Poetry and the state of being

A good friend recently said to me that I must be very relaxed when I write poetry. Up until that point I had never really considered my state of being when I write. After pondering the thought for a while I quickly realised I am frequently anything but relaxed. No quite the opposite in fact. I write when I am deeply moved. An event, person or place must stir my emotions to such a level that it connects with my whole being, it touches my very soul. The emotions maybe good or bad although I don't personally subscribe to the belief that any are truly bad it's how we process them that frequently causes us problems. Anyway thank you Mark for shining a light upon my emotional landscape of poetry writing.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Winter Trees


There is an inherent beauty in the starkness of winter trees. Uncloaked of their leafy apparel the bark of bare trunks and branches resonates a true raw beauty. Outside my bedroom window is a stand of poplars. They are some sixty feet or more tall. In autumn before the heart shaped leaves cascade down I have on occasion bemoaned their height as they blocked out the last hour of golden autumnal sun. This morning however I find myself full of remorse for such a thought. Brushed by the palette of the rising sun the stand is a blaze. Flaming tongues of red reaching upwards to lick a clear blue canvas as if to taste and melt the frosty morning air. Over the past month I have been entranced by these poplar silhouettes and nature's ever changing palette. Earlier in the week after a long lie in I was greeted to a vision of pure gold embroidered on a cloth of finest grey. It was the calm before the storm.

Peace

I am an Enneagram type 9, the Peacemaker. Perhaps that is why I have tolerated so much over the years; mistakingly believing it would help me maintain my own peace! On a whim I decided to look up the term on Google and am reliably informed by The Free Dictionary that a peacemaker is:

- One that makes peace, especially by settling disputes
- A person who establishes peace, especially between others
- A conciliator, make-peace, pacifier, reconciler, go-between, intermediary, mediator

I also discover to my amazement and revulsion that a peacemaker is a belt-fed machine gun capable of firing more than 500 rounds per minute; used by United States troops in World War II and the Korean War

I ponder the last point, a gun called a peacemaker. Does a gun really bring peace or is it what my long suffering English teacher would have reliably informed me was an oxymoron. Yes I would agree that after you have blasted every living thing into oblivion you could argue you have removed all animal and human threat to your survival and peace may reign but at what cost? Sat amidst the bloodbath of the massacre you waged in the name of peace are you truly at peace? History has taught us that war rarely brings prolonged peace.

The peace we win is merely a manifestation of our own inner landscape. How long will peace reside there? Can you live with what you did in the name of peace? Have all your fears and negative thoughts finally been eradicated? The reality I suspect is that peace will only remain as long as you permit it. Once you allow the next toxic thought to take root in your inner garden and you tend and cultivate it with fear you are once again in danger of manifesting your own inner reality. The cycle, the gestalt will begin again, you have not learned the lesson of unconditional love.

So how can we maintain peace? I hear some smart arse, well in my case a demon monkey in my mind, helpfully suggest I turn the gun upon myself. How will that help? What sort of energy will that send into the universal consciousness? Time for some research into the practices and teachings of the ancient eastern civilisations and the realms of meta physics. Another step on my own inner journey.

Our Stories

Distance does not cause the rift,
that casts us oh so painfully adrift,
It's not the words we fail to say,
or loving deeds we struggle to convey,
No my love, we reside in different books,
Lost in our dramas we're not free to look,
I can't see you and you can't see me,
We only see what we wish would be.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Lessons Learnt




As 2014 drew to a close I started to think about what the over riding lesson was that I had been trying to learn during the year. There is always one I reckon, the one you keep repeating over and over. You would think we would notice that we keep finding ourselves in the same situations, having the same thoughts, repeating the same patterns but no we frequently seem oblivious. It's as though we are asleep.

Rather than ruminating over all the negative situations I had found myself in over the past twelve months, a sure recipe for getting lost in my mind labyrinth, I decided instead to think about my poems. Why? I'm not really sure, perhaps it was what my good friend Peter would call pre-symbolic thought - the thought before you squeeze it into words.

So I reflected over all the poems I had written during the last year and paused at each one for a brief moment to feel what energy resonated within me. What was I doing? I was looking for the one poem that triggered something in both my heart and my solar plexus. The heart because I wanted to feel with my soul and my solar plexus because this place is linked to my sense of self, my ego, It is connected to both power and fear. It's that spot that triggers those mind monkeys. The pesky little fuckers who pop up every now and then to help you do such an excellent job of self sabotage.

Well it didn't take me long to find the one poem and I had to laugh at the synchronicity and irony behind the title - Letting go.

Sometimes in life things aren't meant to be,
as it is with you and me,
And though lost and hurt in my despair,
a shattered heart, bleeding, aching, for repair,
I'm not the missing piece of which you speak,
I cannot make you whole, complete,
You see my love, you are already whole,
all pieces reside within your soul,
The lesson for me is letting go,
and through this act peace can grow,
My love for you was always meant to be,
but not to hold you fast, no, it was to set you free.

Yes 2014 had been very much a lesson about letting go and as the year drew to an end I found myself thinking about how tightly I held on to things that were no longer healthy, that did not help me grow. I'm surprised my knuckles hadn't turned white with the extent of my clinging. Well it's time to give my knuckles a well earned rest and to stop prolonging my suffering. Why do we do that? If a friend was suffering we would have compassion for them but yet we struggle to have compassion for ourselves. I'm not a big believer in setting New Years Resolutions, probably because I fear failure. Well maybe this year I should at least put out the intention to be compassionate to myself and when I don't quite hit the mark give myself a big hug and not let the demon monkeys beat me too hard with a stick.

Wishing you all unconditional love for 2015 xx.