Poem: what we do in the dark

No one needs to know

what we do in the dark

what we see in the quiet

sheltered spaces of our hearts

in the silence we breathe

secret speeches of thought

the forgotten words

we were never taught

no one recognises

the longing of the soul

for something more than this

something free and whole

so sit with me a while

speak in tongues unheard to them

whisper words uncensored

of the things they will condemn

of the joyous leaps of feeling

freedom from the world’s pretence

smell for once the flowers

and taste the tastes intense

February Reads

I’ve had a busy month of exams, so I haven’t had a lot of spare time for reading. However, the one book I have read turned out to be one of the best I’ve read in a while…

The Fault In Our Stars

John Green

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book broke my heart (in a good way, if that’s possible!). It’s been a few years since the book came out, and I never really caught up on the hype, so I thought it was about time I gave the book a try. It’s not a literary classic, but in my opinion it needs to become one in the future.

It’s rare that a book captures my attention so much as this amazing piece of fiction by John Green did. It’s also rare that a book makes me cry. Somehow, without really realising what was happening, I became so invested in the characters of Hazel and Augustus and their story, that their emotions, their happiness, their pain and losses became my own. I quote Hazel in my reaction to this book:

‘I fell in love the way you fall asleep. Slowly, and then all at once…’

Without giving away too many spoilers, the book follows the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster, a terminal cancer patient whose survival has been temporarily prolonged by the latest miracles in medicine. Her life seems pretty dull and uninteresting to her. That is, until she meets cancer survivor Augustus Waters, with whom she falls in love, and experiences, as she terms ‘our little infinity.’

With this book, John Green made me more appreciative of life, with the realisation that, although nothing lasts forever, there can be an infinity in everything. I believe his characters will stay with me forever.

One of the things I love about this book is that, throughout, John Green address illness in a way that normalises it. The characters joke about their illness in a way that makes the subject of cancer seem less taboo. Even so, Green does not shy away from the harsh truths of illness, and of grief. Even if, as a reader, you have not directly experienced illness such as cancer, you know what it is to be human, to feel grief, and to hurt. Suffering in some form or another is part of our experience in this world, and comes hand in hand with happiness.We surely all have an Augustus Waters in our life, in one shape or another, and are all, in some ways Hazels – trying to make the most out of the short time we have on this earth.

I highly recommend this book to anyone, as a reflection on what it means to love and lose, and to experience infinity in the space of a few pages…

Pataphor

Pataphor is a technique in which a metaphor is treated as if it were literal. My take on pataphorical writing is below:

My heart is a burnt book

My heart lies on the ground at my feet. I kneel down and gently brush its charred cover with my fingertips. The edges of the pages are as black as my future now that all which was once inside of me has been destroyed. I remember when the pages of my heart were new, the paper clean, white, unspoiled. The story was easy to read then. Now I will never get to find out the ending. The concluding chapter of my story lies burnt before me. And I can’t get rid of the ache in my chest, like someone tore a hole within me, ripped me apart. As I lift my heart up gingerly, the pages begin to flake and crumble, and the tiny remaining shreds of me dissipate into the air to be carried off by wind.

Diamonds and Dust

Life is like diamonds and dust

in heart’s wasteland

the choices we make

and the routes that we take

and all to hold onto

the diamonds in which we must trust.

People tell us

to search through the dust

with an animal lust

to find diamonds bigger

our choices attacked by mistrust.

Then we’re stranded

our diamonds discarded

and hearts disregarded

when all that we wanted –

that first diamond found in the dust.

January Reads 2019

I’ve begun another year of reading, and this month I have branched out into a few different varieties of books which I usually may not reach for, including poetry and non-fiction…

Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald: The Official Screenplay

J.K Rowling

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

After seeing the latest film in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, I decided to read the screenplay. I was excited to see how the film translated to book format. I both watched and read the screenplay of the first movie, but I have to admit that the storyline of the sequel is poor in comparison.

The story follows Newt Scamander who is enlisted by Albus Dumbledore to help in his plan to thwart Gellert Grindelwald. However, the character development of the story is almost non-existent, with some aspects of the plot being vague and unclear. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading the book for some light relief, and I will never turn down an opportunity to re-enter the magical world of the Harry Potter universe that I loved as a child.

Milk and Honey

Rupi Kaur

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I was initially reluctant to buy and read this poetry book, after I heard criticisms of Insta-poet Rupi Kaur’s work being overly simplistic. However, I love this book. Kaur’s emotive poetry really speaks to me.

Her poems may be simplistic in language, but they address subjects of love, loss and female identity which are much deeper than their appearance would seem to suggest. To me, poetry is not necessarily about using complex language or imagery, but about expressing yourself in a way that conveys your ideas and emotions to the reader. That is exactly what Kaur does in Milk and Honey, which is one of the reasons I fell in love with this poetry collection.

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies

Scarlett Curtis

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Non fiction isn’t usually something I go for, but I really enjoyed reading this book. Narrated by Scarlett Curtis, the books draws together extracts from influential women including Emma Watson, Evanna Lynch, Jodie Whittaker and Zoe Sugg, who discuss their experiences of feminism and what being a women means to them.

The definitions of feminism presented in the books don’t always fit with my own, but it is such as subjective term and differs so greatly depending on circumstances and experiences. I have found it enlightening to discover new aspects of womanhood presented from viewpoints which I may not have considered before. Even if you don’t consider yourself, I would recommend reading this book, as it really helped me understand varying opinions on feminism and female sexuality.


That concludes my January reading, and I hope to continue adding good books to my list of reads to share next month…

Midnight Breeze

Sky streaked with dusky pink

the colour of dreams,

I walk the sighing streets,

unloved when there my heart remained

and cherished now I’m changed

~

Silent sounds of the budding year

echo in the sleepy shadows

drifting into last year’s slumber

tucked away in turfy sheets

while memory’s flowers grow

~

The promise of delight

with closing red, the sky

lights up my prospects and the going on

and strokes away my tears.

Morning need not come with fear, but ease

for laughter sings upon the midnight breeze.

Hello, 2019!

Goodbye 2018, and hello 2019! Here’s to a happy and successful year.

Blank pages and new starts have always intimidated me. Starting a new year is like writing in a new notebook. Everything is fresh, clean and unspoiled, and I’m always afraid to ruin it.

Life is not like writing; the pencil lines cannot be erased, nor can words be crossed out when they don’t rhyme. Looking back on a year is like hearing someone read out your work, and listening to all its clunks and mistakes.

We all have something to say, and the truth is we can’t always say it right. But when other people read our work, they probably don’t notice the flaws; it’s the same in life. There’s no point stressing about perfection, because the mistakes don’t really matter that much. We don’t need to be perfect to carry on with our lives and be happy.

So here it is…

Merry Christmas!

Christmas time is here again, and another year has passed. I haven’t been writing much lately, and haven’t been having so much creative inspiration. I have always found that writing is much easier to do when an idea comes to me; if I sit down with the intention to write, but have no ideas, it always proves difficult.

What’s strange about my recent lack of writing, is that I have actually been feeling much happier than I did earlier in the year. Somehow, it’s easier to write in sad times than it is in happy times. It been an adventure of a year for me; I’ve experienced mental highs and low, faced love and loss, had to say goodbye to people through death and through growing apart. In dark times, words were all I had to turn to. Death and heartbreak are easy to write about, as proved by poets for centuries.

But now it’s Christmas, and although everything may not be good, I have, to an extent, learned to face it all with happiness. I really don’t want to sound like a clichéd line in a Christmas card, but I honestly feel that Christmas is different this year. People ask me what I want for Christmas, and I genuinely don’t know what to say. I’ve made it through 2018, I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to have spent it with, and I’ve realised that this is all I really need. The lessons that I’ve learnt, and the experiences I’ve had, are worth more than anything that I find under the tree on Christmas day.

I’m fully aware of how cliché this sounds. But if we’ve all heard it so often, why haven’t we done anything about it? The average household spends around £500 on Christmas, with the average child receiving 16 presents. Why then, is it so common to hear people complaining about having to spend time with family at Christmas? Why, when people have already spent and received so much, is shopping in the sales the first thing they want to do after Christmas? If we keep spending and spending, and are still not happy, when are we going to realise that, perhaps, money does not equal happiness.

Presents and food are integral parts of the holidays, a fact that cannot be disputed. But this Christmas, I’m placing more worth on the people who are close to me. On Christmas Day, I will be sparing a thought for all those souls who are lost and lonely during the festive period. Merry Christmas everybody, I hope you have a happy and peaceful holiday.

My writing progress

So a few weeks ago, I decided I would try and write something, anything, every day. I have to say I’ve surprised myself with how easily the words have come to me. The effort only comes in having the motivation to sit down with the intention to write. The writing isn’t the difficult part.

It has been difficult, in between a busy sixth form timetable and emotional ups and down, to motivate myself to write, and to post on my blog. I think part of the problem is that I become overly concerned with the quality of the writing.

Words, I think, are almost like water, and if you stop writing they stop flowing. Regardless of how good the relationship between the words is, you need to be committed to keeping the writing going, even when it seems like it’s going nowhere.

Caged

I have always felt so

caged

like a bird whose wings were clipped

for its own safety

now unsure

where it belongs without its flight.

~

I’ve always felt

contained

emotions wound

like thread upon a spool

wrapped up and ready,

soon, to snap.

~

They tell us freedom brings danger

that we shouldn’t step

too far and cross the line

better to hide how we feel

what we want

what we love.

~

And I fear that

when I fly, untaught

I’ll fall

and face the consequence.

But my wings are broken anyway

I may never see the sky.