Category Archives: poem

Sunday Post – 12th November 2017

Standard

This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.

Another busy week – last Sunday was amazing as we completed filming all the major scenes, including the finale and once again, the weather was unbelievably kind with bright sunshine, though it was very cold. Monday and Tuesday were teaching days – though a number of students were off, smitten by tummy bugs and colds. On Wednesday, I attended Pilates and Fitstep again, although I still have a way to go before I regain the fitness I attained in the summer. On Thursday, Mhairi came over and provided a sympathetic listening year as I had a bit of a meltdown over the fact that I was STILL going through the line edit on Dying for Space after working on it for hours and hours… In the evening, I attended West Sussex Writers as Phil Williams was giving a talk on marketing for indie authors – it was an excellent evening with lots of valuable information. It was heartening to see such a great turnout.

On Friday, we had an important meeting regarding Tim’s progress and it was wonderful to see him talk so articulately about his hopes for his future in front of people who he doesn’t know very well. When I got back home, I got stuck into the manuscript and also worked through Saturday, so I should be able to have review copies available by the beginning of the coming week – phew!

Today is my father-in-law’s birthday and Oscar’s birthday tea. Bless him, he has kept our present unopened even though his birthday was earlier this week, so that we can watch him unwrap it.

This week I have read:

The Medusa’s Daughter – Book 1 of The Mask of Medusa by T.O. Munro
Haunted by very different pasts, three travellers journey together across a continent riven by clashes of faith and race. Odestus, the war criminal flees from justice. Persapha, new to all things human, yearns for a way and a place to belong. Marcus Fenwell, schooled in diverse talents, seeks a future beyond a wine bottle

But past and future entwine to snare them all, for the Medusa has not been forgotten nor her daughter forgiven.

This entertaining epic fantasy story is about three strong characters – one has been seriously maimed when engulfed by sorcerous fire; one is on the run from a powerful secret organisation and the Medusa’s daughter, only part human, begins to learn what she is capable of. I will be reviewing it in due course.

My posts last week:

Sunday Post – 5th November, 2017

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Dogs of War by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Teaser Tuesday featuring The Medusa’s Daughter – Book 1 of The Mask of Medusa series by T.O. Munro

Can’t-Wait Wednesday featuring The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross – Book 2 of The Curious Affair series by Lisa Tuttle

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Gnomon by Nick Harkaway

Friday Face-off – Zip it, lock it and throw away the key – featuring Keeper of the Keys by Janny Wurts

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of novella Ironclads by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:

The Chickpeeps – How to Go Vegan with Erik Marcus https://www.thechickpeeps.com/
This is a new podcast to assist people wishing to go vegan, or begin making changes in their diet towards veganism. I’m declaring an interest – my son is involved in this project and I’m so very proud…

How Well Do You Know SFF?
https://www.playbuzz.com/orbitbooks10/how-well-do-you-know-sff?utm_campaign=social&utm_medium=Orbit+Books&utm_source=twitter&utm_content=OrbitQuiz%252COrbitBooks Test your knowledge on this admittedly very small and limited quiz

Tammy’s Top Twelve 2018 YA Sci Fi Books #RRSciFiMonth http://booksbonesbuffy.com/2017/11/07/tammys-top-twelve-2018-ya-sci-fi-books-rrscifimonth/ This is an excellent article with Tammy’s top 12 picks for the coming year – given that it’s #SciFi Month, this is a great opportunity to compile your Christmas list

The Plot Thickens: How To Improve Young Children’s Critical Thinking Skills During Storytime https://freespiritpublishingblog.com/2017/11/07/the-plot-thickens-how-to-improve-young-childrens-critical-thinking-skills-during-storytime/ Reading to children can be so much more than reciting the words on the page…

…an Author’s lament… where Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow and modern pirate’s differ…
https://seumasgallacher.com/2017/11/07/an-authors-lament-where-johnny-depps-jack-sparrow-and-modern-pirates-differ/ This is an article about the kind of pirates that don’t sail around the seas sporting a skull and crossbones, wonderful hats or a surprisingly sexy shamble…

And as this is Remembrance Sunday, I wanted to add one of the poems I grew up with – one that my grandmother used to read to me while telling me about all the soldiers who died so we could be free. The wrenching pity is that young men are still falling miles away from their homes. Lest we forget…

For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Thank you very much for taking the time and trouble to visit, like and comment on my site and may you have a great week.

Advertisements

Friday Faceoff – The silver apples of the moon…

Standard

This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This week the theme is food, so I’ve chosen Golden Apples of the Sun by the incomparable Ray Bradbury.

 

This is the e-cover produced by Amazon for the Kindle version of this anthology. Initially I was slightly underwhelmed, but after wincing at some of the truly awful covers for this sublime book, I’m now more appreciative. At least there isn’t a family of woodentops passing around gigantic apples or oddly blue hands waving around *shudders at the memory*…

 

This Turkish edition, produced in April 2016 by İthaki Yayınlarır is quirkily effective. The bats coming out of the apple is an arresting image and the tangerine coloured cover is eye-catching. I quite like this one.

 

Published in November 1989 by Minotauro, this cover is really effective. I love the spacescape with the golden apples dotted around instead of stars with the golden sun shimmering below. It certainly comes closer to depicting the wonderful prose of both Bradbury’s short stories and the final line of the beautiful poem of W.B. Yeates he chose as the title…

 

Produced in February 1979 by Bantam, this cover has a real pulp-fiction feel. The weirdly coloured sun and that particular font which defined London in the 50s and 60s harks back rather than looking forward. While I like the quirkiness, my reservation is that I’m not sure if anyone other than a science fiction fan would go near this collection – and that’s a crying shame as Bradbury’s prose deserves to be read by a far wider audience.

 

This is a real blast from the past – a 1964 edition published by Corgi, hence the rather battered look of it. But despite its age, it gives a sense of excitement and weirdness to this collection. Though there is rather a lot of bare flesh which gives the impression that Bradbury’s content is more sexually explicit than it actually is.

And here is that lovely poem…

The Song of Wandering Aengus
By William Butler Yeats

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

Stormtroopers March

Standard

Freezing sleet, frost, snow
flinging forward an icy arch.
Winter’s army is on the go…
Watch the stormtroopers march!

Water freezes in the blast –
set in a cruel film of ice.
While rime-coated grass
yellows in the crusted vice.

Birds huddle – feather-ruffled heaps
of shivered misery – on bare branches.
As spear-sharp winds make it weep,
the bruised sky howls and blanches.

Car sliding on rinked roads
perform slo-mo comic dances.
Or become coffins – as their loads
of late commuters take chances.

Freezing sleet, frost, snow
flinging forward an icy arch.
Winter’s army is on the go,
so…
watch the stormtroopers march.

Frosted car bonnet-4

Inheritance Poems…

Standard

On this, National Poetry Day, I thought I’d share the poems that have mattered to my parents – and the poem I would like to pass down to my children.

Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley
I met a traveller from an antique landOzymandias
Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear —
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.’

This was my father’s favourite poem – and I also love it. The clash of what Ozymandias intended, against what actually happened to his works… Yep. Absolutely hits the spot.

Crossing the Bar by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!sunsetseas
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

This is my mother’s favourite poem and another one that gives me the tingle factor. The comfort and belief that underpins it comes from a different age, but for all that, it is a poem I grew up also loving.

And now for my contribution – the poem I’d like to pass down to the next generation. Hm. Which of all the poems I know do I choose? I was strongly tempted with ‘Anne Hathaway’ by Carol Ann Duffy – such a tender, loving poem, or Vernon Scannell’s ‘Grannie’, which is especially close to my heart, these days. I also seriously contemplated ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling, as the advice is so apt and beautifully put – there’s a solid reason why it’s the nation’s favourite poem. Or Jan Dean’s lovely poem ‘Angels’ that always leaves me with a lump in my throat. But, in the end I opted for this wonderful outpouring from Gerald Manley Hopkins – a plea for this untended corner to be left in peace, which surely must ring even truer today than it did when this poem was written back in 1881.

Inversnaid by Gerald Manley Hopkins
This darksome burn, horseback brown,
His rollrock highroad roaring down,
In coop and in comb the fleece of his foamarklet-falls-beside-the
Flutes and low to the lake falls home.

A windpuff-bonnet of fawn-froth
Turns and twindles over the broth
Of a pool so pitchblack, fell-frowning,
It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning.

Degged with dew, dappled with dew,
Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through,
Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern,
And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn.

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

POEM – The Creep’s Carriage

Standard

This poem was written after the discussion about bringing in women’s carriages on trains, due to the rise in reported incidents against women. Then someone suggested a creep’s carriage – and this poem kept running around my head this morning while I was trying to edit. So I let it loose…

They say women should be herded into
separate carriages for their own good.
To keep them safe from the slimy creeps who
won’t leave them alone to travel in peace.

Why don’t we pen up the vile creeps instead?
Give them vomit-curry coloured tickets
showing their creep-class status, to be led
by guards straight to the creep’s carriage.

Who will qualify to travel creep-class?
If you’ve ever groped, stroked or touched, then in
you go. Let’s ditch words like bother or harass –
if you’ve unzipped your fly to have a wank,
you’ve applied for creep-class. Shouted ‘fuck!’
loudly, watching the old bag’s face as she shrank
into her seat, while grinning with your mates –
you’ve complied with creep-class T’s and C’s.
Rating a girl’s tits or her face, demanding dates,
taking pics and posting them online – I’m pleased
to say you have fulfilled the terms that rates
you as entitled to travel creep-class.

Have a journey full of fear and heartache.

POEM – The Road

Standard

A long straight stretch of road lies
between Kitwe and Chingola –
dull grey, smelling of sticky tyres.
It slices through the blood-red
Zambian soil like a machete cut.
Heat coils off its dead surface
in roiling curls, tasting of tar –
slicking bodies in metallic sweat.
But in the smoking distance
sweet, blue sheets tease,
full of cool, clean water.
I watched for long, thirsty miles,
expecting that this road –
laid out like a lifetime before me –
would reach the soft splashing thrill…

It didn’t.

zambian road

POEM – Tania Honey’s Wedding

Standard

We’re in Ringwood Church and running late.
Pews are packed with broad-brimmed hats
and shop-sharp suits. While hiding behind
the choir stalls, Mona and me fumble
into our bridesmaids’ dresses.

Kneeling on the icy flags and frigid with fear
I’m threading stiff arms into a
Cartland-pink froth of lace.
But my vest shows, high over
the scalloped neckline.
And it’s too late. Heavy doors thud open.
The organ plays ‘Tip-toe through the tulips’

A candy-floss vision of net, sequins and feathers,
Tania advances up the aisle. Clump – clump – creeeeak…
Her size 10 Doc Martin’s squeak at every third step
as she drops a curtsey to the congregation.

Mona and me scramble out in front of the altar.

Tawny eyes narrowed,
Tania’s gaze razes me to ashes.
“What the fuck jer look like?”
I flick away Mona’s hand seeking mine,
hoping Tania will blame her – not me…

On waking, I run to tell Mona,
giggling with relief it’s just a dream.

But
thirty-five years on – whenever
Life leaves me church-chilled and craven,
wishing someone else was to blame –
Tania Honey’s Wedding
still slips through the cracks
of my forgetting.

220px-Church_of_St_Peter_and_St_Paul_-_Ringwood._-_geograph.org.uk_-_354515

Church of St Peter and St Paul, Ringwood.

POEM – Absence makes the heart hurt harder

Standard

Loss-leached to brittle sticks,
my bones want to crumble.
Instead, they drag my
sad-sagged body through
the motions of a pointless life…

My lips are tired of forming
words to tell the space where
you should be, of things that
would matter. If you were
here to know and care…

My bed is a huddled heap of pain,
crowded by the cold acre of space
where you used to sleep.
While I yearn for your warmth
to melt my frigid longing…

My soul is frozen shut –
locked in an ice-gripped vice.
While I wallow in slo-mo torpor,
drugged useless by need of you…

…because you are gone.

?????????????????????????

POEM – AFRICAN NIGHTS

Standard

Syrup-thick African nights stroked
my skin, bathing me in
womb-warm stickiness.
Pupil-black African skies sprinkled my way
with pearl-sweet shafts of affection.
Blood-rich African earth powdered
my feet with silk-soft smoothness,
pillowing my walk with unconditional
care…

So why am I stranded on this northern shore
skewered by winter’s blast?
How come I am cornered under
the stained-orange glare of a bleak
plane-streaked sky? Why are
worm-filled clods of cold mud caking my
feet?

What did I do so wrong to lose
my African nights?

africannights

POEM – Song of the Starseer

Standard

As we all gape at the marvellous photos and amazing discoveries NASA has revealed about Pluto, I thought I’d post this poem I wrote a while ago…

Tell them back home that we’ve made it-
While we speed
through the vast
night of Space
faster than a blur…

Tell how we’ve threaded
through asteroid fields
to gape at the swirling fury
of Jupiter’s Red Spot…

Spill handfuls of dust
from Pluto and Pan
through their fingers,
while spinning tales
of our travels…

For all those still stapled
to our small rocky planet –
still yearning skyward
for escape –
Sing of the rainbow-wrought
wonder of nebulae
and the lethal, taut-edged
awe of event horizons…

As the blinding glare
of Rigil fades behind us,
We thrum to the core
of our atoms
with the beat of being back-
Stardust to stardust.

To all Earth-bound exiles
who’ve bequeathed
generations
of hopeful dreams,
Say that we carry them with us,
glowing white-bright
against the blackness
like the coma of a comet…

Tell them back home that we’ve made it!

Photo of Pluto released by NASA

Photo of Pluto released by NASA