sestina to spring

I sit under the gaze of May’s fresh sky

the clean white blossoms, scattered, gleam like pearls

and bring alive the undergrowth of green 

where April saw but shadows of this hope

and now there lives a riot of survival 

amidst the death and worries of the world 

~

spreading like a fog over the world 

darkening the swiftly clearing sky

humanity’s concerns for its survival 

life now held as carefully as pearls 

no longer will our spring be one of hope

no longer will our leaves thrive and be green 

~

but look up now, see Nature’s arms of green 

reach down to spread her love across the world 

her breath floats on the wind and whispers hope 

a new found clarity has filled the sky 

Earth’s oyster opens, bright are all her pearls

the flowers dance with life not just survival

~

but we live on a knife-edge of survival 

our skin turns grey while Nature’s face is green 

we longed so much for riches and for pearls 

we lost the life that used to fill our world 

our lives fall short beneath the endless sky

horizons bring us fear, no longer hope 

~

yet all there is for us to hold is hope 

the hope that there is more than just survival

that we will feel the warmth of summer sky 

that we will turn to find the richest green

and look upon this place – not just our world

a living heaven, more to us than pearls 

~

in store for us are love and life, and pearls

when we look straight ahead with eyes of hope 

Nature holds the power of our world 

the will to bring disaster or survival 

to give us red, and pink, and blue and green 

a promised arc as sunset fills the sky 

~

a sunrise soon will greet that same bright sky

the trees and meadows all will grow back green

the world will tell the stories of survival 



companionship

hold me close 

and tell me, that this storm

ends somewhere soon

~

show me, when the sun comes 

how the rainbows bend their painted curves

into a smile

~

hold my hand

I’ll let you hold my fears

like thawing snow

between your fingers

melt to nothing on the ground

~

take away

the parts of me I keep unseen

held within your palm –

the parts of me you love

~

when this is over

look at me – we’ll see 

a thousand routes and roads

where the lines around our eyes should be

~

we’ll thrive where once we slept

smile where we once wept

run free and smooth

as your fingertips

in journeys made across my cheek

~companionship

book review – good omens

What better book to be reviewing right now than Good Omens – a collaboration between Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman recounting the comedic events leading up to the End of the Times, and the efforts of the unlikely duo of demon Crowley and angel Aziraphale to stop it in it’s tracks. Indeed, I myself have felt like I could be living in this book during recent weeks; the chaotic events of the novel seem no more unlikely than the current global pandemic.

I first fell in love with this story and it’s characters after watching the Amazon Prime TV adaptation of the book. Normally, I would never dream of watching an adaptation before reading the novel itself, but in this case, the casting and portrayal of the characters in the TV show did complete justice to their literary counterparts. David Tennant as Crowley and Michael Sheen as Aziraphale made the perfect combination, and I couldn’t wait to read the book as soon as I’d finsihed the show.

I’ll be honest, it’s taken a couple of months for me to finish the book given the general turmoil of the world and my consequent lack of focus. However, I think this book will definitely be one I will lovingly return to time and time again. The standard of storytelling is excellent, and aside from the inventive and hilarious plot, the characters of the novel are incredibly well rounded. Not only Crowley and Aziraphale, but secondary characters and even those who are mentioned only once of twice, are described so well they seem as though they are real people who could jump out of the page at any moment. The plot, and numerous sub-plots, are expertly crafted and interlaced, and the end of the novel ties up any loose ends perfectly.

I’d highly recommend Good Omens the book to anyone who wants a good, lighthearted read, as well as the TV show which in my opinion perfectly replicates the novel.

outbreak

It all happened so fast, and it’s hard to say where it all began. It is evident now though that there is a dividing line between before and after. A ribbon tying up our lives as they were, and then an infinite section of time, in which no one knows if life will ever be the same again. We feared and anticipated so many things for this year; a global pandemic was not one of them. Everything is so unimaginably different, and yet simultansouly so mind-numbingly the same. There is no routine, and yet every day is a repetition of the day before. There is nowhere to go except the bubble we’ve created inside these four walls.

Unable to go out unless exercise and essentials deem it neccesary. Unable to meet, hug, touch each other. Look around, and everything is shut down. Shops are closed, schools are shut, exams are cancelled. It’s like the whole world ground to a halt, and we slowed down with it. We’re still carrying on and living our lives from one day to the next, but it feels like we don’t really know who we are or what our purpose is anymore. It’s an effort just to pick up a pen and write. In a world where even our own survival is thrown into question, there is little room for inspiration or creativity. The world is in turmoil around us. People are dying, and we cannot discredit the gravity of the situation.

Now we have what seems like a undefinable amount of time ahead of us, the pressure is on for us to pursue the things we don’t normally have time for. All around us on social media and in our conversations is the nagging sense that we must improve ourselves, do something useful with our time, make a difference to the world. In an ideal world, we would. We’d become perfect versions of ourselves, make the world that we will return to after this somewhere we really want to be in. But this is not a perfect world; if this year has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected, not to attach ourselves to a vision of how we want things to be.

The changes going on around us don’t mean we should destroy ourselves trying to be people we’re not or attempting to do things that are, realistically, unacheiveable. We cannot expect to thrive in this uncertain environment. We are surviving, stronger with every day we wake up, and that is all that matters. Perhaps we should use this time, not to recreate ourselves, but to really see ourselves for who were are. We are enough. In the middle of the chaos, breathe, and remember we are miracles, simply because we exist.

patchwork city, broken seams

this is the place I see my broken dreams

~

circle of clarity

where grass softens, sinks

to carpet a moment

in the growth of tears

~

the muddied steps

across the years in synchrony

worn down to roughened earth

with thoughts undone

~

this place where lovers kiss

the desperate weep

the lonely think

remains alone

in loneliness content

~

the cold does not seem cold

up here

my pounding heart

turns to an ache of memory

~

an old wound

which will heal as days decay

~

this is my place

from here I can see everything 

the heights and depths

I thought I’d lost

the distances I couldn’t see

~

and history

a knife that cannot reach me

is written only in the walls

of smooth unfathomed concrete

down below

behind the ancient crumbled shapes

of secrets older than my own

~

from here I sing

the lyrics of my life

for no one but the wind to hear

and yet I think

the world could hear me

and I wouldn’t care 

~

my life is stitched within the city’s seams

this city – journal entry

There are crevices of this place that I’ve yet to explore. Tumbled buildings and moss hide around the corners of the concrete and plastics. Apartment blocks rise up like giants looking down on the shadows of their past. Left to my own devices, this city could become anything to me. The horrors, the mysteries. The irony of finding myself to be less alone when there is nobody around me but old bricks, trees and history.

Sometimes it feels as though I am dreaming, like I see everything but nothing I do would change it. People and cars rush past. I wonder if they’d notice if I spoke, touched, reached out, jumped into the road as if nothing could hurt me. And yet I think these streets can feel me; they breathe with a life of their own. Every step I take makes me a part of them and their story. They will remember me long after I am gone, tiny particles of my DNA engrained within the cracks of the cobblestones. When night draws in its breath to sigh across the world, I wonder if any part of me remains within the memories of people with whom my path has crossed. Am I gone? Like the wind – the air, always there but rarely noticed. Am I traced upon people’s faces, written into their lives?

People are not like bricks and mortar. There are fragments of buildings in this city that have stood for years, and will stand for years more. But lives change. Memories die like summer blossoms. Feelings fade as fast as the writing on a wall when the rain comes. We must make our mark while we can, leave something behind so we are not nothing. Paper, words blowing in the wind, a photograph, a thought, like a message in a bottle from when we called this place home. And then we are not gone.

writing reflection – sestina to winter

I was recently set a uni assignment which involved constructing a strict form poem and writing a reflective essay about my progress in drafting my piece. This was really useful as it made me think more about the process of writing. I rarely rework what I write, and usually content myself with my first draft, but creating multiple drafts of my poem made me consider how my language and imagery could be developed to be made more effective. Below is the final draft of my poem, in the Sestina form:

 

Sestina to Winter

 

With death’s farewell leaves slumber on the ground,

hands held like friends of nature – loved and lost.

Like layered gravestones in a churchyard sleep,

they caught within their veins the dying sun

and, decked in green, they smiled till summer’s end

now restless sleep blows them across the earth.

 

In summers gone, naive, I held the earth

in my belief that this was solid ground,

my faith that growth in trees would never end

and in my dreams of futures never lost.

But now I dream upon a setting sun

and realise that the world is soon to sleep.

 

It will not be in peace, but raging sleep,

the curtains closed against a storm of earth,

the weeping face of clouded, rain-washed sun

and bitter fall of rain tears on the ground.

Colours of the world paint what we’ve lost

on canvas in the patterns of the end.

 

If we could only see through winter’s end,

endure beyond the hoar-frost’s clock of sleep,

regain the life that through the snow we lost.

Perhaps, and only then, this weary earth

would seem more than a stretch of empty land,

Bring  life again in blessings of the sun.

 

A lonely pilgrim, Winter worships Sun,

her prayers cry out that this is not the end –

we are much more than martyrs of this land,

content to humbly fall to death’s cruel sleep.

There’s more to find than pain in winter earth,

And more than futile tears for what is lost.

 

Perhaps someday our lives will not be lost,

when beauty reigns despite the absent sun,

and we’re content to walk this breadth of earth

in search of landscapes rich and without end.

We’ll wake with joy when we are told to sleep

to cherish and to heal this barren land.

 

And then the earth will have no mortal end,

and though we’re lost, we’ll watch a glowing sun

rise from its sleep, live to rebuild this land.

 

 

Photo by Seyedeh Hamideh Kazemi on Unsplash

 

solitude – journal entry

During my first few weeks at university, I have had so many things to do and think about, and I’m happy to have had the chance to channel this into writing. As part of my homework for my course, I was asked to begin writing a daily journal. I’ve found this really fun, and beneficial in that it makes me write something every day. Below I’ve shared one of my journal entries 🙂

1/10/19  9:00pm

The hum of traffic fills my ears. My brain is tired of processing and filtering all of the information from the day. People rush past, and I need to be on my way, but just for a moment I stand there. Still.

Everything continues around me. Traffic and people hurtle past, all on their way to somewhere, part of a story into which I can gain only a glimpse. It feels wrong to stand here doing nothing in such a busy world. Even though it’s getting dark the city still feels so alive. Lights illuminate everything, blurring the distinction between night and day, and I wonder if this place ever sleeps. I look up to the sky – the colour of my mistakes, my grief streaked in a clouded white stripe along the horizon. But this is not the place for regret.

It seems like history has outlined itself in the silhouetted shadows of every building around me. In every brick, every corner, every face of each person passing, I am reminded of things that were, things that are, things that could have been. Everything has played a part in bringing me to now. Here, in the grimy puddles at the edge of the roadside, I am reminded that I have a choice. For once in my life I don’t turn in uncertainty to glance at who stands beside me at the kerb. I no longer think with impending doom that here, with my toes inches from the tyres grinding against the road, I am one step from my fate.

I can choose to move when I want to, to cross when I’m ready. I cannot be beckoned by someone on the other side, nor pushed by someone behind me. That’s the beauty of being alone. This is not loneliness any longer, but the freedom to be solitary and be content with it.

 

 

 

a new start

In two days time I’m moving away to university. I’ll be living in a brand new city, and starting a brand new life. I’ll meet a ton of new people and will be exposed to new experiences. This will be a big step for me in terms of taking my life into my own hands and becoming the person I want to be. I will be lucky enough to be able to start a clean slate and build new friendships without holding onto the past.

Not only is this giving me the chance to develop as a person, but also to develop my writing. I will be studying English with Creative Writing, so for the first time will be able to focus on doing what I love. For several years I have been busy with GCSE and A Level exams, and my writing has been placed on the back burner. Now though, with the right people and resources to harness my love of writing, I’m hoping that I can improve my work, and begin a career. From about the age of 9 I have known that I wanted to be a writer, so my choice of uni course came easily to me. With uni now just around the corner, I feel the desire more than ever to make that dream a reality.

I currently have a novel underway, and will definitely be pushing forward to get that finished and hopefully published within the years I am at university. I have also been writing a lot of poetry recently, a lot of which has been posted on my blog. Poetry is my favourite form of writing, as I find it comes easily to me. Nevertheless, during my course I hope to try out some different forms of writing such as flash fiction and scriptwriting, which I haven’t tried before.

I realise that many people aren’t as fortunate as me and do not get the opportunity to attend university or pursue an education. This makes my transition to university all the more monumental, and I feel very lucky to be beginning this journey.

Photo by Carolyn V on Unsplash

 

poem: strong

I want so much to be strong

To stand, to fight until the dawn

Then night draws in

I’m tired

Of holding on

 

I want to keep my head

Above the water

Trying, ever trying not to sink

Within the swirling current

Shaken by the waves

 

I guess that every woman

Has a weakness

Whether me or you

It doesn’t seem to matter

 

I wish this world would learn

That falling doesn’t mean you’re dying

And that failing

Doesn’t mean we haven’t

Given all in trying

 

Why tell us weak is opposite to strong

When weakness lives to strengthen after all?