Category: Poem

Sentiment: Man’s Golden Hamartia

By Guest Blogger, Rebecca Wilson

Sentiment: Man’s Golden Hamartia

No strings
they say,
Love will only tear you apart,
but let’s be honest,
how many people can say
they really listened to that advice,
they told you
from the start?

Sentiment: Man’s Golden Hamartia

A stage of lights,
we dim them when it gets hard.
Because no one
wants to play the lead part,
when inside,
you feel yourself
crumbling,
Shards of glass sticking
in your chest.

Sentiment: Man’s Golden hamartia.

With each day you love someone,
a new string finds itself
wrapping around your heart, loosely at first
So you don’t know how vulnerable you really are.
A few times maybe, you’ll feel a harsh tug,
a warning, a reminder
of the blood that’s to come.

And then one day,
when Time decides that the web
Is complete,
all those strings will pull tight,
and you’ll feel your whole body constrict.
Love, love, blood and loss,
since when did I let myself become a play thing for Grief?

A strange desire,
to feel numb, cold,
knowing that you’ll remain trapped inside the warmth of attachment,
even if you try to throw open
all the windows.

And then
In an ironic twist of fate,
Grand old Time,
Love’s initial thief
Will walk in and decide to give you
at least some form of relief

He doesn’t cut the strings,
or allow them to dissolve
Instead he covers them,
in liquid gold,
to set and shine in your chest as


He slackens the grip of the strings still clinging to your heart,
letting the blood flow stop,
at least in part.

His work of art
comes to life in your chest,
a gradual sculpture of forged golden acceptance,
That to do this day,
is still shining with
the memories, the laughter, the tears

And never once forgetting the ones who made up all those years.

An absence of love, Man’s real Hamartia.
And sentiment, the Golden one,
punished and scorned, for the ruthless Truth
its voice cries out.

And
In spite of our attempts
to vainly silence him,
He will speak, he will speak.
He will be heard, there will be light.

And now his voice
Will echo all the way through,
The longest and darkest
of all our nights.

#rebeccawilson

‘Self Doubt’ – Poem by Lesley Atherton

We all have it – especially writers.

I hope this poem helps anyone else who has to deal with it. I don’t claim to be a poet, but sometimes the words just happen, then happen to mean something.

Image: Pngtree

The Voice

There’s no way you can sing and dance
Said Voice with sneering, snarling stance.
Your playing’s crap. Your singing’s worse.
Makes fingers twitch, makes eardrums burst.
– Creative stuff’s just not your thing.
– The Voice said Girl just pack it in.

Your needles break, your knitting sags.
Failed projects lounge in patchwork bags.
Your hemming rips, your beading flops
Applique flakes, and stitches drop.
– Creative stuff’s just not your thing.
– The Voice said Girl just pack it in.

And writing? Girl, for goodness sake,
You’re barely literate. You’re fake!
You self-indulge. You scrawl your name
With fallow dreams of shallow fame.
– Creative stuff’s just not your thing.
– The Voice said Girl just pack it in.

I’ve read your awful stuff, Voice said
You’re destined never to be read.
Remove the stories from your head.
The only decent scribes are dead,
– Creative stuff’s just not your thing.
– The Voice said Girl just pack it in.

What makes you think you’ll ever scrawl
A story strong, a tale not tall?
And why would any person buy
Your ‘Camping Tales’ or ‘Baby’s Cry’?
– Creative stuff’s just not your thing.
– The Voice said Girl, just pack it in.

So, when I’m low, the Voice is loud.
And when I’m strong, the Voice is cowed.
I’ll do it even if it’s bad
Cos if I don’t I’ll just go mad.
Yes. When I’m low, the Voice is Loud.
But when I’m strong, the Voice is cowed.
– Creative stuff’s just not your thing.
– The Voice said Girl, just pack it in.

#poem #selfdoubt #thevoice #lesleyatherton

Review of ‘Moving Times’ by Phoenix Writers

‘Moving Times’ is a book put together to celebrate the decade-long existence of the Phoenix Writers group, from Horwich Lancashire, and the contributors should be highly proud of what they’ve achieved.  

The first thing you notice is that it is a very attractive book with a simple but well-designed and effective cover. This really does the contents justice, which is something not achieved by all small press and writing group books.

As a member of three/four writing groups, I really do identify with the sentiments expressed in the book’s foreword – ‘What moves you, gets you out of bed in the morning, drives you to action? For us on a Thursday, it’s Phoenix Writers. We meet as friends, share ideas and get support and inspiration’. Yes, that’s what a strong and healthy writing group does for the usually lone creative. Such a group provides a stable and caring home for people who, by the nature of their pastime, can feel rootless and isolated. Phoenix is clearly a great base for many thoughtful and interesting writers.

This book contains just over 100 pages of stories, poetry and thoughts, and style/content-wise, there really is something for everyone. When reading a book of this type, I always begin with the poetry.

Ann Lawson’s ‘Iambic Tetrameter Rules, Okay?’ is a clever and amusing poem about the frustrations of forcing your creativity into a restrictive art form, and am sure the sentiments expressed will resonate with most poets.  With a completely different feel, ‘S is for Sharing’ is a short and life-affirming verse by Tony Nolan about all the positives in the world. This joy in living can be in short supply at times, so it’s pleasant to read regular reminders. In a similar vein, Joy Pope’s poem titled ‘Horwich Times’ made me proud to have connections with the town, and even more keen to produce my own book about Horwich – ‘a town of bustling resilience’. Kathleen Proctor’s poem, ‘Alexander, My Grandson’ is the most beautiful recollection of love for a grandchild who is ‘snuggling, nuzzling’ and ‘Chubby, chunky, comfortable’. Jeanne Waddington’s poem ‘The Contrariness of Young Love’ is about insurmountable contrasts between a young couple. It’s a regular enough subject, but the style lends it originality – ‘She’s a summer’s evening, he’s a cloudy day.’

The stories are also lovely to read and insightful. Bernie Jordan’s story ‘Time Moves’ begins this collection with a vivid recollection of a moment in the life of a crane and a railway bridge at Lostock station. 

‘Turning Left,’ Janet Lewison’s unpretentiously written tale, immediately drew me in with its endearing dialogue about a woman who ends up in a hired home that comes with its own snazzy car. She is changing her life, and the Cobra she now drives provides its own form of liberation.

‘Newfoundland’ by Elaine Hamilton is a short but lovely tale of boats, and it really conjured up a misty and weird atmosphere.

‘Going to Waste’ (by Dotty Snelson) is one of the longer pieces in the book, about recycling, hoarding, skip-diving and the make-do-and-mend ideology of a man, Gordon, his wife Sheila, and their personal tragedy. I really enjoyed this touching story.  

Barbara Oldham’s story ‘Stolen Bikes’ was about that very subject – or was it? Reading it, you really get a feel for the woman behind this very witty monologue.

Terence Park’s story ‘Wild Mouse’ tells the story of Mags and Rebecca on a day out at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. They take in all the pleasures and try to defer their ride on the ‘Wild Mouse’. The characters leapt from the page, especially their dialogue.

‘What the Spider Said’ by Phil Chrimes is an insightful tale of a conversation between Boris, a spider, and Humphrey. Their conversation is simple and so endearing. Pam Hunter provides another spider-related piece of writing as she relates the tale of ‘Little Miss Muffet’ and gives the reader the story behind it. There’s a lot to learn from how fairy tales and nursery rhymes come about.

Alan Gibbs’ piece ‘It Started Well and Just Got Better’ is about a campervan trip to Mull to view white-tailed eagles. This gorgeous personal recollection was good to read and really encourages the reader to visit this area of the world.

Lastly. Margaret Halliday’s piece, ‘My Home is in India’ did bring a tear to my eye. Margaret passed away in March 2019, and also attending ‘Write You Are’ – another Horwich-based writing group of which I am a member. I knew Margaret’s writings well, and this appreciation of her life in India was Margaret to the core, and a lovely, though unintentional tribute to her.

Thanks, Phoenix, for this book. Greatly enjoyed!

‘Book of Longing’ by Leonard Cohen

This attractive book of Leonard Cohen’s poetry, prose-poems and artwork, was taken from content that first appeared on http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com.  Some became song lyrics, and many in their current form, do have that feel.  Indeed, it is these shorter and more lyrical pieces of writing that speak to me the most.  Consider stanza 7 from the poem, ‘Better’.
 
better than darkness
is darkless
which is inkier, vaster
more profound
and eerily refrigerated
filled with caves
and blinding tunnels
in which appear
beckoning dead relatives
and other religious
paraphernalia
 
Some of the poetry is bewildering and clever, and I become overly aware of how many references I don’t understand.  This is nobody’s fault but mine. The poem, ‘Fun’ is about believing in God.
It is so much fun
to believe in G-d
You must try it sometime
Try it now
and find out whether
or not
G-d wants you
to believe in Him.
 
And another short poem is called ‘Thousands’. It simply reads:
 
Out of the thousands
who are known,
or who want to be known
as poets,
maybe one or two
are genuine
and the rest are fakes,
hanging around the sacred precincts
trying to look like the real thing.
Needless to say
I am one of the fakes,
and this is my story.
 
Shorter still is ‘Sorrows of the Elderly’.
 
The old are kind.
The young are hot.
Love may be blind.
Desire is not.
 
The shorter and snappier poems appeal more to those of us who aren’t poets and aren’t that well informed either.  However, I intend to pick up this book on future occasions and attempt to understand more of what I haven’t already picked up! 

‘Goblin Market’ by Christina Rosetti


I am not a big reader or writer of poetry, finding much of it too obtuse and unintelligible.  I enjoy reading that transports me to places without too much effort from me.  I was a little unsure, therefore how I would cope with this poem, but, open-minded, I began to read.

My first impression was the simplicity of structure and the ease of general understanding.  Despite my now being aware of some of the words’ meanings (ratel, for example), the entire feel of the poem was still strongly flowing.  The words in this case were decorative and attractive as well as functional.

My primary thought was that the writing was not aimed at children, though could be read and understood on an alternative level by them.  To me, the work was a salutory warning for young ladies not to become involved with rough young men for fear their health, complexion and hair will grey and age and that ultimately death will occur.  Cherries, plums, peaches and melons are all sexually charges words now and they abound within the offerings of the goblins.  The addictive power of sexual gifts threatens to overtake Laura till she and Lizzie stand strong against it – and their sisterhood defeats the forced, bullying manipulative goblins.

Two Contemporary Poems I Love

John Cooper Clarke – “Day My Pad Went Mad”
I’m ankle deep in human waste
The toilet has been clogged
Marrowbone jelly all over the place
I don’t even have a dog
The man upstairs he grabs my arm
Saying don’t I know your dad
All I could hear were the fire alarms
The day my pad went mad
All I could hear were the fire alarms
The day my pad went mad
The kitchen has been ransacked
Ski trails in the hall
A chicken has been dhansaked
And thrown against the wall
In walks this dumb waiter
With a fountain pen and pad
Saying how do you want this alligator
The day my pad went mad
Saying how do you want this alligator
The day my pad went mad
The hamster had been slaughtered
The parrot bound and gagged
The guard dog had been sorted out
And absolutely shagged
The goldfish drowned, the cat was found
Kicked around and stabbed
The radio did not make a sound
The day my pad went mad
The radio did not make a sound
The day my pad went mad
The pop-up toaster refused to pop
The chandelier was smashed
The starter motor would not stop
The tyres had been slashed
There was no way out of there
I was stuck with what I had
Out of order, beyond repair
The day my pad went mad
Out of order, beyond repair
The day my pad went mad
Yesterday I had the place rewired
And slung out all of my junk
A tumble dryer and a two bar fire
And a telephone now defunct
I peeped through the venetian blinds
And the rain fell down so sad
On the broken home I left behind
The day my pad went mad
On the broken home I left behind
The day my pad went mad
Roger McGough – The Sound Collector
The whistling of the kettle
The turning of the lock
The purring of the kitten
The ticking of the clock

The popping of the toaster
The crunching of the flakes
When you spread the marmalade
The scraping noise it makes

The hissing of the frying pan
The ticking of the grill
The bubbling of the bathtub
As it starts to fill

The drumming of the raindrops
On the windowpane
When you do the washing-up
The gurgle of the drain

The crying of the baby
The squeaking of the chair
The swishing of the curtain
The creaking of the stair

A stranger called this morning
He didn’t leave his name
Left us only silence
Life will never be the same.

Image discovered on Twitter.