Moving

How do you weigh a house?
The bricks and mortar, tiles and chimneys?
No doubt those guards are weighty.
Surely include the landscaped garden,
its drooping flowers,
and heavy seed heads?
The shrubs, the herbs in pots?
The ponds?
The lolly stick crosses of long missed pets?

The contents are substantial.
Soft sofas and chairs
Imprinted with cosy evenings,
tables laden with feasts,
wardrobes full of outdated fashion,
beds crumpled with comfortable passion.

Oh, and the books. The shelves,
and shelves, of books.

How do you weigh a house,
where thoughts expanded,
where children left their giggles in corners,
where the halls still echo with the stamps
and slamming doors of angry love?
Where images of daily living in the living room
never fade?

A house where you can still find pine needles
In the carpets of Christmas pasts,
and there are still stars on the ceiling,
stuck there on a little girl’s whim.
Where hugs and waves and tears
tarnished the front door
after you said ‘I’ll be back soon’.

How do you weigh a house
that is at once so empty
and yet
so full?

Patience

She stood at the door
and said
I’m not living, I’m just waiting to die’
She watched as the rain fell
Onto bare ground
And flowers grew abundant
And the sun made them glisten
The longer days came and went
The flowers died
The trees cried leaves
While still she stayed and watched
Then the snow came
And cleansed the earth
Spring returned triumphant
And the flowers grew again
And then she understood.

Save your Energy

Get a smart meter’ the ad said.
Oh, if only I had one
I would never have stayed
to listen to those idiotic words
dripping from your mouth
like wasted water.

The electric shock
that you claim to feel
whenever I am near
drains me and I can’t recharge.
Oh yes, the light’s come on,
one hundred watts of understanding.

You sputter like a loose wire.
You shouldn’t be kept in a
confined space.
A dangerous appliance.
I turn you on.
You switch me off.

Blue boo

You may know from my previous posts that I don’t consider myself a great, or even good, artist, but I’ll have a go. Having said that this week is the first time I’ve picked up a brush since the beginning of lockdown in March because with no art group activities to keep up with, and plenty of other things to keep me occupied, I’ve had zero motivation. But the days are growing short, and everything outside is damp and uninviting so I thought I have a bash at some seasonal sketches. Ol’ blue eyes here started off very much as a pencil sketch and just got coloured in on a bit of a whim.

I have to confess the pumpkins were inspired by a (considerably better) watercolour that I came across on pinterest.

I always doubt whether I should share my efforts on here. I’m much happier sharing photographs and poetry, but I thought, given the season you’d forgive a bit of ghoulish painting!

Elizabeth

After ‘Queen Elizabeth I by Nicholas Hilliard, 1533 – 1603

Oh, I bet that dress was heavy,
dripping with pearls and jewels,
and hangers on. The puffed up
sleeves on those young arms.
That frosty veil of lace
cloaking your drooping shoulder.

And that skirt.
Double, triple, layer
of silk and taffeta
and deep piled velvet,
dragging in the dirt,
wicking up the mire,
all heaped on your
virgin hips.

Did it weigh on you?
Did you need the fancy collar
to hold your chin aloft,
or just to stop the chain
from chafing
that pale and slender neck?

Super Me

Here I am! Hi, yes it’s me… I know, I’ve been gone awhile haven’t I? Guess you want to know what I’ve been up to, after all, what could be more important than keeping my blog ticking, especially during lockdown (sigh…).

Well, alrighty I’ll tell ya…

I’ve been concentrating really hard on ploughing through the work for my Masters in Creative Writing which I’m doing with the Open University.  Its been challenging, tough sometimes, but I’m sure my own writing has evolved and improved over the two years, and my appreciation of poetry in general has definitely increased. Anyhoo, I’m pleased to say I handed in my very last essay yesterday and now have a couple of months of intense poetry writing to complete before I hand in my final examination collection.  So, nearly done and dusted, but not quite. 

For nearly 15 years my daily walks with the dog have kept me sane, and off the sofa for a while, but now I’m afraid my little friend is so arthriticky that she’s no longer up for the walk preferring to potter about around the garden in between sleeping and eating (oh, wait a minute, she’s turning into me!!) Of course, this not only makes me very sad, but also leaves me at a bit of a loose end when it comes to exercise.

I don’t like to go on walks without Suki beside me and wondered what I could do to fill the gap. As anyone who has read this blog for any length of time will know, I’m a total drip when it comes to physical exertion of any sort – can’t throw, catch, jump, kick, or run. But then I came across the Couch to 5k programme.

Could I?

I was pretty quick with coming up with the answer

No. You can’t run. You are hopeless. Mr once described my running as mincing. YOU CAN’T RUN. You get out of breath going upstairs. And besides, you are really, really old now. Old people shouldn’t run, it would be killing you off instead of making you fit. And you’re fatter than you want to be. Do you really want to be seen mincing along the road in lycra shorts?’

The answer to that was also a firm ‘no’. But, dear reader, I have to tell you, I did it. Yes, I downloaded the app, and thought I’d have a go, just around the garden, just to see what it was like….

And here I am, nine weeks later, having graduated from the course yesterday by running for a full 30 minutes. Not 5k or anywhere near, but I’m told that will come in time. Honestly, I feel like superwoman.

The course starts with interval training, the first three runs being just a minute long with minute and a half walking in between, eight times.  That’s doable.  Round and round the garden I went. The dog thought I’d gone mad.  The second week the runs are a minute and half – not too bad… Michael Johnson was in my ear encouraging me through the app, I had music on, the sun was out, and I was out there doin’ it! What’s not to like.

Pretty soon I got bored with running round and round the garden, and yes, I ventured out in my lycra, expecting shouts and jeers, but none came. No one took a second glance – well as far as I know… I was too busy singing along to my soundtrack and concentrating on picking up my feet.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, its been really, like really, hard. Many, many days I’ve absolutely hated every step. My breathing hurt, my legs hurt, my back ached, I’d get runners headache… the list goes on. 

However, the course advocates a technique called Japanese Slow Running which is, well, running, but slowly, and using this to trot along helped immensely. The runs got longer, and tougher, but with support from the absolutely wonderful people on the Healthunlocked C25k forum I managed to keep going.

I can’t begin to tell you how proud of myself I feel for even attempting this, let alone finishing it. I’ve now got to consolidate with some more half hour runs. It remains to be seen if I can keep it up, but I’m going to give it a go.

Nah, I’ve not lost weight, but I have gained stamina and endurance which I never believed I had in me. I’ve also gained a sense of achievement and a way to wrench me from the laptop for a while.

Honestly, anyone can do it, even if, like me, you are totally unfit and have never run. The programme is magical. Its worth a try.

It’s not a run day today (even my day to day terminology has changed) so I’m going to settle down and try and get writing now!

Take care everyone, and keeeepppp running!