As you can see from the date of my previous post below, I’m taking a break from regular blogging.
I started this blog in May 2009 as I felt I’d reached a watershed in my writing, and I wanted to reflect on the ups and downs of my career as a novelist and poet.
I’ve enjoyed all the activities I’ve listed in the chart below, and although these have taken away more time than I’d wanted from my own creative writing, I’m hoping that this semi-fallow period will prove as productive as this wild poppy field!
If you’re new to this blog and want to find out more about me, click here and for more about my novels, click here
If you want to read a few tips about writing a book, click here and if you are interested in poetry, take a look at my Poetry page
In the past two years I’ve spent less time on creating new work of my own, than I have on the business of other writerly activities.
But this doesn’t mean that I won’t be taking part in any of these things!
I’ll still be happy to consider giving talks and/or running workshops, if you’d like to contact me by sending a message via the ‘Contact Me’ page above.
‘WordPress’ will forward any message to my personal email address, so please do let me know if you have read and enjoyed one or other of my novels, or have any other comments on my work. As you can see on this chart, you can still buy my novels at a reduced price from this site
or, if you prefer, Paper Lanterns IS available from Amazon, even though they will tell you it’s ‘out of stock’. All you need to do is click where it says, ‘new sellers’ and then, if you click on the option of ‘Novel Press’, you’ll receive your copy within 2 or 3 days, direct from Novel Press, with my personal signature above the printed name on this label, that is inserted into the front of the book..
Now that I’m in between writing novels and have returned to my other love, poetry, I was inspired to find out more about the Scottish poet, Norman MacCaig, whose centenary celebrations were held this year. I wouldn’t normally be attracted to TV programme with the word ‘Fishing’ in its title. The fact that it also had Billy Connolly and Poetry, didn’t attract me either. I like all kinds of poetry, including the humorous, and enjoy do enjoy (smallish) doses of Billy C, too, but this suggested an hour of slapstick.
To my surprise and delight, it wasn’t like that at all. There was humour, tenderness and beauty and enough food for thought to keep me going for weeks.
For me, the programme was at its best when MacCaig spoke directly to us from the dead– via photos and old TV programmes. Hearing him recite his own poems has given me the voice with which I can hear any of his work that I’ve managed to track down.
I’ll buy a copy of at least one of his (20?) books published between 1943 and 1988. The images he uses hit me with surprise before I find myself breathing out in recognition. Here’s one I love, from True Ways of Knowing: “You let me know/The way a boat would feel, if it could feel,/The intimate support of water.”
And how about this, from his poem ‘Stars and Planets’:
“It’s hard to think that the earth is one-
This poor sad bearer of wars and disasters
Rolls-Roycing round the sun with its load of gangsters,”
I found this one, along with Treeless landscape, on this site
It’s wonderful the way so many people share pictures and information freely (I do try to acknowledge anything that I use here on this blog). I found this short poem on YouTube presented against a picture of Tony Blair in parliament, which seemed a very apt setting for these words, which are recited by the poet himself:
Watch him when he opens
His bulging words –justice,
Fraternity, freedom, internationalism, peace,
Peace, peace. Make it your custom
To pay no heed
To his frank look, his visas, his stamps
And signatures. Make it
Your duty to spread out their contents
In a clear light.
Nobody with such luggage
has nothing to declare.And here’s another Youtube, with more poems, and pictures of Maccaig’s favourite place, Assynt, and another of MacCaig’s poems, In Praise of a Man on a site called ‘The Scottish Patient’“The beneficent lights dim
but don’t vanish. The razory edges
dull, but still cut. He’s gone: but you can see
his tracks still, in the snow of the world.”
As an amateur poet and a creative writing tutor, the title of this post is a question that enters my head from time to time, so I was fascinated by his reply to interviewer, Jennie Renton, quoted in full on Frost’s Meditations with several more of MacCaigs poems and other articles about him and his work.
Here’sMacCaig’s answer: “When I was asked to be Writer in Residence at Edinburgh I thought, you can’t teach poetry. This is ridiculous. I’d always been suspicious of ‘Creative Classes.’ However, I learned something. I thought that if the young person, the student, has poetry in him or her, to offer them help is like offering a propeller to a bird. And if they haven’t got poetry in them, there’s nothing you can do that will produce it.”
That seems a bit dismissive, but his explanation of how he does, in fact, help the students is exactly the type of input which I find most useful – and which I often receive myself from the members of SoundsWrite, the inspiring poetry group in Leicester that I attend whenever I can.
“ A very common thing was to find a line I just couldn’t understand, and I’d say, ‘I don’t understand that line. It’s very boring to ask, I know, but what does it mean?’ Extraordinarily often they’d say, ‘Well as a matter of fact I don’t know.’ And I’d say, ‘What’s it doing there then?’ And they would say, ‘I liked the image.’ I’d say, ‘So do I. But I don’t know what it means. It’s a nice line. Remove it. Make it the start of a new poem.’ “
The last few days have been like another world! The only time I’ve picked up a pen to write anything in a book was on Saturday when I was one of the witnesses to sign the register at St Nicholas Church
in Chiswick at my daughter’s wedding.
I know that many other proud mothers and fathers of the bride will have experienced similar emotions to mine, but I doubt that any can have had quite such a wonderful day as we all did! OK, OK, so you disagree! But I think there’s something about this type of occasion that places it on a higher plane altogether – some kind of parallel universe that we can stumble into for a brief section of time. Once we’re back in our real lives we can store those memories and value them for what they were, rather than cling to them as a bench-mark against which we measure our happiness quotient!
One way of extending the pleasures of a very special event for a little longer, is to meet up with close friends and family the following day and share perceptions of the event, so I felt doubly lucky to have been invited to lunch by Clarissa, my friend and my daughter’s godmother, for a birthday treat at the Goring Hotel together with my husband, my son and his new girlfriend. His presence was an extra treat as, like my daughter, he lives in London. (If you want to read more about this fabulously opulent place, and see a poem I wrote after my first visit there, click here).
Back to the wedding itself: my daughter, Sara and her (now) husband, had organized every detail of the entire event, so all I had to do during the months of preparation was to offer verbal support over the phone and carry out one or two minor tasks. When she showed me the draft of the order of service, and asked if I might be able to write a poem to be placed on the back page, I agreed to try. As you might imagine, this was a huge challenge, so I was very relieved when the creative juices began to flow in the right direction! You can judge for yourselves below.
Sara and Ric met at the Corinthians sailing club,
and they had arranged for the bride’s wedding party to go in a boat, a minute’s walk from their home,to be taken to the beautiful old church further down the river. As mother of the bride, I didn’t take my own camera with me – for one thing, it didn’t fit into my small handbag and anyway, I realised that photographer wasn’t included in my role. I’ll post a few pics in a few days.
The reception was at the club house, an ideal venue for the happy couple!
And here’s the poem:
The Wedding Day
For Sara and Ric
Although the day itself seems magical,
the slow unfolding of a fairytale
in which the princess in a silken gown
glides down the river in the bridal barque,
her radiance out-dazzling the white wings
of her attendant swans, it’s merely
a bright exclamation mark in the elusive
book of chance that led them here.
Now they’ll set out as man and wife in the same
boat, the frail vessel of their hopes and dreams,
but they both know their love, if nurtured,
will be strong enough to anchor them
in times of harsh reality, and light enough
to harness all the winds of happiness.
No, I haven’t really got the recipe, but right now there are three subjects in my head that in a strange way seem to link up.
1: Getting published.
2: A novel for young adults called Wasted
3: An inspiring poetry Workshop
If you’ve visited this blog before, you’ll know that it’s mainly about my writing life as a poet and novelist, and that this can be split into two stages: before and after publication. The ‘before’ part is a good deal longer – I‘m an expert in the art of dealing with rejection: : it took me twenty years from completing my first novel to finding a publisher for my fourth.
You can find out here about Novel oneand Novel two. I nearly made it with Novel three, when I won a competition to receive a free read from The Literary Consultancy. Several amendments later, the novel was recommended as ‘deserving to be published’ . That was where the luck ran out: although I now had the backing of T.L.C., the agents on their list of contacts turned it down. They loved it, but not enough to take me on.
After at least forty more rejections, Novel Four was recommended for a free read from… The Literacy Consultancy! This didn’t feel like good luck to me. I’d been editing this novel, The Dangerous Sports Euthanasia Society, for over a year, and I knew that it had reached its final form. I wasn’t going to attempt yet another re-write.
I sent it anyway. Was that luck, or chance or sheer doggedness? All I know is that if I hadn’t grasped that opportunity, I wouldn’t have heard of “the new publisher, Transita about to bring out its first novel in a few months’ time”, and I wouldn’t have become the published author of The Dangerous Sports Euthanasia Society in October 2005. You’ll find a mention about the demise of Transita here ,and there’ll soon be more about my second way of being published.
2: A novel for young adults called Wasted by Nicola Morgan which I finished last night, made me think about the role of luck or chance in our lives, and for me, specifically, the chance that led to publication at last. Nicola has an inspiring blog, ‘Help I need a Publisher’ and has set up another for her new novel, Wasted: which, in spite of my reluctance to buy yet another novel for my t.b.a. pile, I bought.
Although when I taught English in secondary schools, I used to enjoy reading fiction for teenagers, I haven’t done so since my own children were in their teens. I’m not going to say much about Wasted here – apart from saying ‘BUY IT!’ and quoting from an email I sent her after I’d read the first six chapters: “ I love the way you kind of dance through the words on the page with such energy and sensitivity. You’re ridiculously, arrogantly original and you’re making me want to write for teenagers. (not that I could)”
Last night I couldn’t sleep until I’d finished Wasted. This morning I visited the Wasted blog and came across this review.. It expresses my thoughts and feelings exactly.On another blog, where Nicola was responding to questions about Wasted, I find her voicing my own sentiments:
“As Jack says in Wasted, “Luck is just what we call it.” I think we very largely make our own luck. Terrible things happen to people through no fault of their own, and sometimes good things happen to those who don’t deserve it, but I believe that there are lots of ways of maximising our chances in all aspects of life. With trying to be published, there are right things to do and wrong things. The more right things you do, the more likely you are to be “lucky”…”
3: Yesterday afternoon I was at an inspiring poetry Workshop in the beautiful Shakespeare Memorial Room in Birmingham, led by Mario Petrucci and organised by Jaqui Rowe of Poetry Bites. I came away feeling grounded again, and with a few notes that might become a poem. I’ve been reminded of what I need to do and, more importantly, not do. I’ll write more about this soon, but meanwhile I shall follow Mario’s advice and do - what might look like to anyone who might see me – nothing!
Please go the ‘Contact Me’ page above, if you’d like to order a copy of one of my novels, but would prefer not to use Paypal
Although I thoroughly enjoyed reading Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and the films based on these, I wouldn’t ever have expected to find myself at an event dedicated to his life and work, but there I was, last Sunday in Sarehole Mill Recreation Ground in the Shire Park, Birmingham.
This large grassy space, enclosed with high hedges of flowering May, was filled with marquees, jousting rings and make-shift stalls and tents, staffed by Hobbits, Elves and Medieval Humans.Unfortunately, my camera batteries were dead on arrival, so I’ve had the make use of photos taken from the Middle-earth Weekend site.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I can be relied on to turn up at any event that offers me an opportunity to talk about my writing and I tend to be open to almost any new experiences - as a writer I can never know what unfamiliar sights or sounds might provide useful material for a future poem or story - so when Chris Morgan, Birmingham Poet Laureate 2009, invited me to read some of my own poems at the annual Middle-earth Weekend, I thought, ‘Why not?’
and as usual, said, ‘Yes, I’d love to!’.
The warmth and brightness of the sunshine after so many weeks of grey cold days somehow added to the illusion of stepping into a film set, where small family groups in ordinary clothing strolled around holding ice creams and cans of pop, mingling with characters from The Lord of the Rings. These included a medieval lord and lady each with their own pet baby dragon which looked and felt extraordinarily life like, almost seeming to purr as I stroked one under its clammy chin.
The poetry recital was programmed for 1.00 in the Performance tent, where four of us delivered our poems to a small audience which seemed to be split into two groups: the enthusiasts who’d found their way there on purpose, and the bemused who only wanted a a cup of tea and a piece of Victoria sandwich. Nonetheless , they all listened politely.
I didn’t have any Tolkein-themed poems, so I’d selected a few that seemed in some way to fit in with a fantasy theme and started off with one which is usually popular, even with people who aren’t particular fans of poetry, Becoming a Seal
It’s a long time since I’ve posted a new ‘poem of the Week’ so here’s another of those I read on Sunday.
After that startled awakening and chase through the woods
bears lumbered almost nightly
into her dreams
but by the time she married, she couldn’t remember
why even the smell of porridge
could scald her tongue.
She has a baby now, and her broken sleep is invaded
by bears again – their coarse dark fur
smelling of resin and fungus.
Sometimes she wakes with honey in her throat
hands as cumbersome as boxing gloves
flat white nails thickened to ebony .
When she slides from the bed
it seems natural as breathing
to pad across the carpet on all fours.
Grey light seeps through loosely woven
nursery rhymes. She unravels undertones of
talcum powder, sweat-damp hair
and hints of her own milk on sleeping breath.
Her baby. Is he hers? He seems so
folded in on his unblemished self
as though he’s tumbled through a crack in time
and she can’t touch him.
I wrote this several years ago and was delighted when it won a place in a Mslexia competition.
Why would anyone want to spend an hour with a self-declared ‘Foppish Buffoon’ in a darkened upstairs room in a pub in Islington on a rainy Thursday evening? Even if he is poet-in-residence on BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live. Read on to find out why each of the 60 minutes added up to excellent value for the entrance fee.
My feelings about London are usually distinctly hostile. For me, on my frequent car journeys down to Sussex, it’s a blot on the landscape, the monster that spawned the nightmare of the M. 25. But last Thursday, on one of my occasional jaunts into its heart, I was reminded of how much I enjoy its variety, once I’m there.
As soon as I emerged from the bowels of the earth and climbed the steps to Hungerford Bridge, I breathed in the tang of the sea, the only thing I miss since moving to the Midlands. Then into the Festival Hall to meet my writer friend Crysse Morrison for a catch-up chat, lunch at Waggamamas, and a peaceful hour in the National Gallery relaxing in front of her current favourite, Seurat’s The Bathers. Like most people, I was familiar with the card-sized version of this picture, but I was stunned to see it taking up almost half the wall ( actually about 2 metres by 3). We sat for a long time, enjoying the calming scene and wondering about the lives of those boys.
The highlight of my day took place in the Red Lion in Islington, where our other writing friend, Roger Jinkinson joined us, and, best of all, my son. I had no idea what to expect of The Petty Concerns of Luke Wright, apart from this, taken from his website:
“Featuring some nipple-tweekingly awful teenage lyrics; sarcastic cricket commentators and the death of a very tight pair of jeans. Luke effortlessly mixes comedy and poetry as he tries to look past his own inflated ego and find out what really matters.”
He’s a whirlwind of energy, and I found his self-deprecating delivery hilarious and touching, both the preambles and the poems themselves. These were clearly differentiated by the use of a huge screen, letting us know that the monologue had morphed into the poem it was introducing, by the simple technique of displaying the poem’s title.
To get a feel of what the show was like, you’ll have to check out where it’s going to be performed next, and book your ticket. If you can’t do that, then buy the book. I was delighted to be able to do this, and extend my enjoyment of the evening by reading the poems on the train home.
As it says in the blurb on the cover of his book, “High Performance “ brings Luke Wright’s acerbic wit and high-energy performance style to the page, revealing the formal discipline underpinning much of his verse.
It was enlightening to see what the stream of words looked like on the page, and identify the internal and end-rhymes and half-rhymes. It confirms the importance of the visual aspect of poetry, and how this affects the way the poem works in the reader’s head, presenting more layers of meaning and understanding.
One of my favourites from the book is Family Funeral, with its precise choice of metaphors to pin down nostalgic memories and complex emotions:
“And so, as sure as seasons, they arrive -
relations last seen heavy as trifle
at some mid-childhood Sunday lunch …”
Take a look, and buy the book.
BEFORE YOU READ ABOUTSutton Park, and ‘Each Year I Forget’,
Click here for my BOOK COVER DESIGN CHALLENGE
and give yourself a LAST CHANCE of winning a FREE copy of Paper Lanterns(CLOSING DATE: 31st December)
Anyone who’s visited this site over the last few weeks will have noticed that I’ve not been posting much since I started my Book Cover Design Challenge, not even a ‘Poem of the Week’ - I’ve been too busy responding to everyone who’s entered. I’ve been delighted by the amount of thinking time that people have given to the task of guessing which of the seven covers is my favourite, and/or telling me which they’ve liked best, and why.
I love this clear and sunny frosty weather – it’s one of the things I like about winter in England. I’m not so keen on dank and foggy days, though they can also have charm of their own, especially in the countryside.
In spite of living on the edge of the second largest conurbation in the UK, I don’t think of myself as a ‘townie’, and I’m lucky to have the second largest enclosed park in Europe on my doorstep, where I can roam at will through ancient woods and open heath lands.
These days, large areas of the countryside might look beautiful, but are often inaccessible to walkers. I often think kindly of Henry VIII who apparently gave this land to the people of Sutton Coldfield in perpetuity. (At least, that’s what I’ve been told, but I’ve just come across an excellent website that gives lots more detail of the history and geography of the park, together with pictures of its seven pools.)
This afternoon I went out with my camera, as I wanted to get a picture to illustrate the poem I’ve selected for December. Being a fine day and part of the holiday season, there were more people around than usual, but fortunately, most of them kept to the tarmac (car-free) roads, while I crunched across the frosty beech leaves on the narrow tracks through the woods.
Each Year I Forget
Each year I forget
the shape of twigs and branches
under froth of summer leaves.
October flaunts nostalgia
in scarlet woods
binding with spells of
yellow and orange light.
Don’t go, don’t go.
Each year December
surprises me again
as trunks of beeches
glow with their own green
and twigs crack open sky.
I wrote this several years ago – as you might have guessed, I love each of the four seasons as they come around, and although I’ve experienced several decades of them, I’m always surprised to find that I’d forgotten so much about the details of the pleasures they bring.
BEFORE YOU READ ABOUT Radio Wildfire Live, Click here for my BOOK COVER DESIGN CHALLENGE and give yourself the chance of winning a FREE copy of Paper Lanterns(CLOSING DATE: 31st December)
I’ve been so busy replying to the numerous kind people who entered, that that this is the first new post for a couple of weeks
One of the many nice things about the Writers’ Conference I attended a couple of weeks ago, was the chance of catching up with former writing friends and making new ones. The only other Writing Conference I’d attended was a residential weekend in Winchester in June 2008. It was inspiring, informative and great fun, and it made me wonder why there was never anything like that in Birmingham. (Even the East Midlands seemed to have more going on for writers then those of us in the West)
That is, until Jonathan Davidson puts things right with his Writers’ Toolkit. James Walker, a writer from East Mids, has written an excellent report of that day – I’ve just spent time I haven’t really got to spare, browsing his own site. But then again, he’s saved me some of that time by expressing a lot of what I’d intended to say myself.
So now I can skip that and get to Dave Reeves, director and programmer of Radio Wildfire,a spoken word radio station that streams content 24 hours a day over the internet. It’s the LIVE transmission that is the really exciting part for me, as Dave has invited me to take part in this TOMORROW, Monday 7th December, between 8.00 and 10.00 pm UK time.
Dave has a great way with words – I’d sent him a few short paragraphs about my writing life, and here’s how he introduces his Monday evening guests: “A Laureate, a Plinther, and a mountain climbing Guinness drinker.” (that last phrase is the way he’s chosen to present me – it’s made me quite nostalgic for those far off days in Dublin)
The Laureate and Plinther is Adrian Johnson, “the current Birmingham Poet Laureate and a man with an enthusiasm for storytelling… Earlier this year he became a ‘plinther’ in Trafalgar Square, standing in the sunshine at 3pm on a Saturday - almost exactly 20 years from when the Poll Tax riot erupted on 31 March 1990.” He’s a great performer of his own poems, and from this YouTube video,it looks as though it’ll be a lively evening.
Here’s the more serious part of what Dave has written about me: “Christine Coleman’s first novel The Dangerous Sports Euthanasia Society came out in 2005. While that was mainly set in Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield, her forthcoming book, Paper Lanterns, was inspired by finding a cache of love letters written in China by two separate women to the same man.”
And there’ll be a lot more to squeeze into this couple of hours:
“Amongst the artists we’ll be playing from CD is Coventry based Chris Hoskins from her collection of monologues Relatively Speaking, and singing with the superb a’cappella trio Free Harmony. And there’ll be some of the sort of Christmas literary offerings that you’ll only get on Radio Wildfire as we look at office parties with Roz Goddard; Christmas presents with Brendan Hawthorne; and reinterpret a couple of well worn seasonal tales.”
And now I’d better go and sort out which extracts from my books the listeners might like to hear me reading on Monday evening
It was so sad to hear of the death of two more British soldiers in Afghanistan, today of all days, when we are reminded of the deaths of hundreds of thousands of other men and women killed in wars.
There’s nothing new I can add to this topic – the pros and cons of this war or that - the justifications and condemnations. I can only feel immensely grateful that virtually all my friends and family members are in good health, and (as far as any of us can know) are not in present danger - all except one, a fairly recent addition to our extended family, and he is often in my thoughts, particularly today.
The Sunday Times News Review has lain on the kitchen table all day. My eye was caught by the headline ‘ HIS LAST LONELY WALK’ and a picture of a beautiful young man, Olaf Schmid, who died last weekend, attempting to defuse his 65th bomb, on the eve of returning home on leave.
I was resisting the article – I didn’t want to read about that tragedy. I’ve just done so now, with a big lump in my throat. My heart goes out to his wife, Christina – his parents too. My son is one year older than he was.
What a courageous young man. The newspaper article quotes his words, “I go home, and people go,’ How many f****** Taliban have you killed?’ Well, it’s not really about that. It’s more about how many lives I’ve saved, I think.”
I live not far from Cannock Chase, 26 square miles of woodlands and heather-covered hills, a wonderful place for walking. I’d been visiting the Chase for years before I first came across the German Military Cemetery. Attached to the memorial building, there was a small, obviously lived-in, house probably occupied by a caretaker.
It just happened to be on the last day of the last millennium – a time when the whole country –indeed, the whole world – was in a state of excitement, some anticipating all the computers on earth grinding to a halt, with disastrous consequences, and others getting ready for the party of a lifetime. Hemmed all around by dark pine trees and a wire fence, were the final remains of 5,000 German Servicemen from two World Wars. So many young men. Just a small percentage of all the others from those two wars
There was something unbearably poignant about the headstones in their neat rows – each one shared by two names. This is the poem it inspired.
Millennium Eve in the German War Cemetery, Cannock Chase.
They’ll be restless tonight, mutters
Mr McAllister locking the door.
There are no windows in the back wall
of the bungalow. It looks onto
its own courtyard. Better that way
he said when he took the job.
He keeps all green blades clipped
to the regulation inch – or rather
two point-something centimetres now.
They’d like that. And each brown mound
in every row of every phalanx shows
no hint of grass or pale unfolding leaf.
Beyond these lawns, where Fritz and Heinrich
Hans and Gunter lie, two to a bed
dark pines mass up against the wire fence
that keeps out deer. No place in here
for their unruly steps. Their eyes
are too alive, their breath’s too warm.
He switches on the tele to Sky News
from all around the world. But those Chinese
don’t even have the same New Year as us!
Fireworks cascade above the city squares
on the meridian as midnight after
midnight fizzes past. Hush, he murmurs. Hush.
But all explosions are too far away
to stir the random couples underground -
no trace of sleep inside their hollow skulls.
If they could dream they’d be where only time
can measure distances. They’d watch those stars
whose light has not yet reached our skies, burn out.
What a lovely afternoon it’s been - even the weather cheered up for my long drive to Leicester on a very special occasion: it was the launch of yet another collection of poems by Alice Beer. I wouldn’t normally draw attention to a writer’s date of birth, but this information on the back is relevant to the content of “Window on the Square” :Alice Beer was born in Vienna in 1912, and moved toEngland in 1937. She lives in a flat in Leicester overlooking De Montfort Square
The other important statement on the back cover is:
ALL PROFIT FROM THE SALE OF THIS PAMPHLET
WILL BE DONATED TO HAMLIN FISTULA UK
If you don’t know about this life-destroying condition, (and even if you do) click here to find out more about this charity, and, for a very brief photo story of one young woman’s path to recovery, and a chance of having a normal life restored, click here.
I met Alice in August 1996 at my first residential poetry course with the Arvon Foundation at Lumb Bank in Yorkshire, and, like many others who have fallen under her spell, have kept in touch ever since. This contact was easier to maintain because of the fortnightly poetry group, Soundswrite, that held its first meeting in 2000, and I was delighted to see that Alice also was joining this wonderful group.
If you’d like to find out more about Window on the Square, and support this very worthwhile charity, this book is available via the link to Alice’s web-page above, and also the link to Soundswrite.
One of the poems that were read this afternoon has helped me to decide which of my own will be Poem of the Week. Alice’s is called Puzzling, and recounts her sighting of a fox on three very different occasions . The most recent of these took place below her window on the square,
‘it trotted off,
not leisurely and not in a hurry, intent
on its own business and left me wondering
why I felt as if the clouds
had lifted on this dark December morning
a gift bestowed on me.’
I, too, am fascinated by the urban fox, and its parallel world –
Monochrome foxcubs tumble on the lawn.
Sparrows and finches stir
and test their voices.
As day noses up behind next-door’s
privet hedge and sycamore
the cool earth yawns and calls.
Wet grass springs back after each footfall.
A tunnel strokes damp fur as cubs creep down
into their solid sleep.
Their dreams dissolve above them
and this house, a block of shadow
is rubbed out.