Monthly Archives: July 2022

Sutton bonfire night

Flames rise, pouring sparks upwards –
red specks flickering
among the billion bright
diamond points
of a black winter sky.

Faces glow in the firelight
while buttocks freeze,
then vice versa,
as we all enact
a slow human rotisserie.
while as the flames die down
leaves and branches gone,
back to the air they grew from,
we edge inwards
towards the great stumps and trunks
that will still be smouldering tomorrow.

(Imagine us from above, seen in time lapse:
we dance a slow, primal country dance –
spinning on the spot in concentric rings,
which gradually close around the flames.)

A blue dragon dances
past the towering fire,
head swinging to a drum beat
body swaying gracefully,
and followed behind
by a dozen children
gathered from the dark depths
by its glowing lure.

A pair of buskers,
adequate to the occasion,
lit by the church-hall porch-light
provide a backing track
to the how-have-you-beens
and did-you-hear-abouts,
exchanged by the fire.

Firefighters stand around,
poking un-burnt branches into the flames,
the red and blue lights of their engines
flashing in the background,
and the reflective strips on their suits
catching the firelight as they move
sending ripples of light across them
like deep-sea creatures.

As the flames sink
from white-yellow towers
to orange-red mounds
darkness creeps closer
and young blood is overwhelmed
with the sugar of too many
melted, scalded,
or blatantly blackened marshmallows,
and the knee-high and hyper
run in packs like ferals –
appearing
for a moment
from the dark
then disappearing again
trailing laughter.

Swaggering teens cluster
their swearing still sitting,
uncomfortably,
like sharp stones in their mouths
to be spat out from their hoodies
with awkward bravado
as they light sticks
in the marshmallow-toasting fires
now abandoned by their smaller siblings.

And so we are separated by age
(or volume? mass?)
by this strange centrifuge effect –
slowly rotating adults by the fire,
then gangling teens in their half-lit clusters,
and then the little ones,
running rings around us all in the darkness.

Until, dad’s beer and mum’s wine finished,
the sausages, served with bread and gossip,
savoured and swallowed down,
the rings start to mingle,
disperse,
as by ones and twos and threes
parents gather their teens,
their little ones,
and walk away into the darkness
under the billion bright
diamond points
of a black winter sky.

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pastoral care with Hopefully

Written for the dVerse MTB/Poetry form prompt “The eleventh power“: 11 syllables per line, 11 lines, rhyme pattern abababccddd or ababababccc. 

And written because I’ve been wanting to write something about Hopefully. 

Hopefully is a red corduroy dinosaur that came from the same rubbish tip shop that my office couch came from – so I figure he belongs with the couch. He looks handmade, with no tag and with odd details (for a reptile) like a belly button. He seems the sort of dinosaur that should have been loved, and I wonder how he ended up at the tip. When I brought him home my husband named him Nobody Saurus but I prefer Hopefully Nobodysaurus. He now lives in my office and helps me with pastoral care of students (young adults) which is the hardest part of my job. 

 

Made with love and to be loved, Hopefully lives
on the red leather couch in the corner there
where his presence contributes to calmness, gives
a touch of whimsy, of family, of care
for whoever sits to have their problems sieved
while I sit opposite in the old wood chair.
Then, tears dried, and plans in place, solution
decided, and so we reach a conclusion.
Then, I sit on the couch and give Hopefully
the hug that they needed, and so, truthfully,
do I, as the next comes knocking woefully.

 

 

 

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rabbit food

dVerse is back! Yay! Here is my quadrille for Monday’s “let’s celebrate” quadrille prompt.

 

No alcohol, no curries,
or it kicks me in its sleep.
No coffee, no tonic-water or
it races, stumbles in a heap.
I’m trying to take care
of this rabbit in my chest –
no champagne for me,
a celebratory carrot is the best.

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woodsmoke

Mid-winter
and the wood-smoke rolls
in a soft tumble from the roof.
Outside in the meagre sunshine,
it smells of home and warmth,
of our own small circle of firelight.

How does the meaning of a smell change so much?

Two summers ago,
smoke was the smell of fear
filling the air,
permeating every waking moment
penetrating our sleep
turning dreams to nightmares.

Two summers of rain have washed the fear away.
I know in time it will come again,
but for now
I am choosing
to let the smoke tumbling from the chimney
remind me of the warmth inside.

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