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Today is National Poetry day here in the UK and this year, the theme is Light.

It’s been a long time since I shared a full poem with you all so here’s one I originally began back in November 2011.  Iit’s the opposite of the theme really, but the closest I could find quickly!

I last worked on it in June 2012 so it may get a light dust over but I’m pretty happy with it.  It’s about me sitting in my lounge working on the computer and being too lazy to get up and turn the lights on – you really can make a poem about anything 🙂

I hope you enjoy it.

Light, Left off

It’s darkly night: the laptop glow falls onto

Fingertips painted like papal robes.

Open curtains show a shadow world

Where distant windows light up,

Like animal eyes on the side of the road:

Watching, and waiting, for a moment to pass.

 

A streetlamp I can’t see appears,

Refracted, on the rain-stained glass,

And car doors shut – the sound, a full stop

On the working day. To the rear,

The garden is a black hole, the darkness

Eating the room around me

 

And bringing with it November’s chill to,

Snakelike, twine around my body.

Isolated on this island of cold light, I

Feel the draw to the otherworld;

So, I claim a blanket, turn off the screen, and sit.

Become another secret in the unseen world.

 

Happy National Poetry day, everyone!

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I’ve just got in from writing group, where we have decided to set ourselves a little winter challenge – to each produce something for our local newsletter for publishing between December and January.

To get us all in the mood we spent some writing time on a few seasonally appropriate haiku. Now, as I’ve said before, I love this form of writing as it’s so accessible to writers who are new to poetry or who lack confidence in writing poetry.

I thought I’d share one I wrote today, just for fun:

An eiderdown fall:
The world is feathery white –
Our noses are numb.

Happy writing

EJ

🙂

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After last week’s joyful discovery on my bookshelf I rummaged and found something else I’d forgotten about!

Book 35 – The British Museum Chinese Love Poetry, edited by Jane Portal. This is another short book of poems, this time written by Chinese poets covering a period from around 600BC (if not earlier) to the late 20th century. The poems are all on the theme of love but the nature of that love is not necessarily romantic – friendship and familial relationships also feature. As with last week’s book, the poems are written in English, and accompanied by a beautiful piece of art. Each poem has one phrase written in Chinese calligraphy next to it.

The short introduction to this book did not give me as much of an insight as in the book on haiku – that was exploring one style of poetry whereas this was giving general information about conventions covering centuries so inevitably couldn’t be too definitive. However, I personally would have appreciated more information. However, the information was fascinating – to understand the poetry, you need to understand the messages within the poems that are culturally distinct, and the introduction helped with this. For example, a fish in a poem is a symbol for a happy marriage – which I would not have picked up simply reading the work

I really connected with some of the poetry, but inevitably due to the different styles and approaches some were not so successful. However, the imagery of many was beautiful and evocative, and I think with more time spent learning the symbolism I would understand and appreciate the messages more.

I was blown away with the thought that some of what I was reading dated back to before the birth of Socrates: for written poetry to exist in a cultural tradition for so many centuries is inspiring and humbling.

Overall, I enjoyed reading these poems but some didn’t engage me as much as I’d hoped. I think part of the reason is that the meanings are hidden behind a veil – once I get to grips with that, it’ll be like opening a gift.

Happy reading,
EJ
🙂

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This week, I got a lot of words written, and a big step closer to the end of the whodunnit, but I still won’t finish it before I meander off on my trip to Germany as I’d hoped.

I have, however, got a plan.  When I am away, I will be spending a lot of time travelling, and I had intended to use this time to read and catch up on the 52 book challenge.  However, if I split the time 50:50 between reading and writing, I should still be able to get plenty of reading done, and keep up my writing momentum.  Win-win, I hope…

I do feel a little bit more positive about my writing this week for other reasons, though.  A chance discussion with a friend at work led to a discovery that his father is a poet, who has published his own anthology after many years of his work appearing on the radio.  Not only did I get a copy o said anthology as a gift, which was lovely, but I also passed him a couple of my favourite poems for some feedback.   I feel ludicrously brave!  I also shared them with another work colleague who said very  kind things indeed.  I think she was surprised how much she liked them.

I want to get back to my poetry sooner rather than later.  I have so many thoughts and feelings about the world right now that the best thing I can do is write it out – that’s one of the ways I process things I am unable to verbalise.  I’ll definitely be taking a notebook to carry about when I am away.  I might even try to work in some German words, which are often perfectly precise although rather hard-sounding.

I read an article today which discussed the formation of German words but due to the nature of the article I have decided not to link to it; still, it’s given me something else to think about over the next week.

I’m pretty sure there will be a lot of thinking when I am away.

In other news – following on from the 100 novels list is the start of an alternative list for me to look through, although I also have a number of borrowed books to read plus this week’s lazy one to finish off first.

And finally – due to the travels this week I won’t be doing my normal update-type blogs but hopefully will at least have a chance to get something written before I go.  No promises though – I haven’t even started sorting myself out yet!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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I know this one is a bit of a cheat, but I looked back at the challenge and it says ‘books’ not ‘novels’ so I’m going with it. It’s all I have to offer anyway!

Book 34 – The British Museum Haiku, edited by David Cobb.  This is a beautiful book of about 70 haiku by writers spanning five centuries, presented in Japanese (calligraphy as well as transliterated), with English translations.  The haiku are accompanied by some glorious images from the British Museum’s Japanese art collection.

I love haiku, as a form of poetry and as an example of cultural differences in the way ‘traditional’ poetry is composed.  I also love Japanese calligraphy and brush painting, so this book is a literary and visual gift, to me.  The opening notes on style and form of haiku, and the way seasons can be structured and inferred in the writing, were short but incredibly enlightening and have made me want to try this form of writing again, with more knowledge behind me.

It didn’t take long to read – I sat and read it over a single lunch break – but some of the haiku have really stayed with me, and there are a couple I’d like to put up in my office at work so I have something beautiful there every day.

I adored this book and I will be dipping into it over and over again, finding new inspiration and new understanding each time.

I just wish I’d read it properly before!

Happy reading,

EJ

🙂

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I’ve been feeling a little rough – these really busy weeks have taken their toll and although it’s lovely to have lots going on sometimes I need to have a day’s holiday to recharge my batteries.

So yesterday, my husband and I went on a little ramble.  We headed out to see an archaeological dig which was open to the public, then off on a coastal drive with a stop at a country pub before heading home for a rather marvellously French inspired afternoon tea.

On our travels I got this picture.  It really was a gorgeous day; sunny and warm, with a light breeze to keep from getting overheated. Those cliffs on the far left are the White Cliffs of Dover, and the two tiny white blobs are ferries going into or coming out of the harbour – you can just about make out the harbour wall.

Just a bit of Dover

 

I always love to look out from the southeastern coast of England and see the coast of France.  I like to think when I wave over, someone there is waving back 🙂

What you can’t see from here, although I got some photos of these too, are the imposing Dover Castle or any of the Martello Towers that dot the coastline in this area.  It really is a reminder of how relationships between European countries have changed over time – and I for one am glad I’ve grown up in a time of friendship and community with our neighbours.

I do love to see the history of a place uncovered.  I watch a lot of documentaries, and even those with a decidedly unlikely theme often give me an insight into a part of the world that is unknown to me: its geography, history, folklore, culture, all tied into the roots of its existence.  This often influences my poetry, and the courses I take are frequently determined by whatever random programme I have seen that sparked my imagination.

I can’t ever know everything, of course – and the more I know, the more aware I am of the limitations of my knowledge – but the more I can learn the more I understand who we are, and how different people understand the world we inhabit.

In turn, the more I can bring to my work either in terms of language and imagery or in terms of creating peace poems.

This weekend enabled me to learn new things, and remember things I was once taught.  It gave me a chance to see, literally, what was buried in time – a real, live dig is a very different place from a visitor site and it was great to see the earth being treated with such respect.  It gave me a chance to sit back and be lazy, and learn, and absorb.  It gave me some ‘me’ time.

So I’ve had a chance to rebuild my reserves, and in a way that has invigorated my imagination: next week I’ll use that to expand on the work I did this week, and get the whodunnit another step closer to its conclusion.

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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Firstly, apologies for not being here yesterday. It was a frenetic day, at the end of an extremely busy weekend. We spent a great deal of the weekend in the car driving up and down a variety of motorways, attended two charity events, a big barbeque, and spent time with my husband’s cousin and her daughter, who are visiting from the North of England. We were already squeezing things into little gaps, and doing it badly.  However, with one family member becoming unwell over the weekend we ended up spending more time than expected at a local hospital.

Luckily, they were allowed to leave and we could take them home, but it was inevitably a bit worrying for all concerned.

We needed a little pick-me-up yesterday after dropping everyone off at their various locations, so we drove home via the beach and got an ice cream!

I did get some writing done but as Friday – Sunday were so busy it wasn’t quite as much as I had planned; I need to catch up a little over the next few days. I managed about 4 hours on the whodunnit so in effect the three days which were so busy were the three I missed out on and I’m willing to accept that, based on how sleepy I still am!

I also started work on a new poem, which came about as a result of some photos from the retreat. It’s a bit historical so I’m researching the factual elements in it. It feels good though, as though it’s as solid as the Welsh mountains. I can picture them, just writing out the words.

Another task I took on last week is a proofreading one – a friend of mine has completed her memoirs. It’s almost social history, because she lived through so many changes, and was a pioneer in many ways. I warned her it will take some time but I’ve got the first few chapters now so I can judge the time commitment a little more accurately.

What with everything else taking it on may have been a mistake, but it’s so fascinating I couldn’t help myself!

So that was last week – I might spend this week getting over it!

I am going to leave off here, as it’s time for me to get back to the whodunnit, but I’ll be back tomorrow.

Have a lovely evening

EJ

🙂

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