Only the Rain – A poem

8am Fine but cloudy

9am Possible shower

Says the screen on my phone

So much for meteorology

My cat looks forlornly through the cat-flap

It’s been raining for three days….solid.

Three days like a never ending firehose

In the yard

Water pools in the trailer

Water pools on the lawn

Worms, desperate refugees squirm toward high ground

As the ground squelches, sponge-like underfoot

Rain barrels overflow

Passing trucks hiss by sending washes,

Small Tsunamis down my driveway

Under lead grey skies

A bird seeks shelter under the eves

A lone walker struggles past, soaked

Wrestling his umbrella against the wind

And still it falls

Peach blossom can no longer cling to the branches

Submits to the rains power and floats

Pink, limp and exhausted

In the puddles on the lawn

Soggy leaves make fine dams

Gutters overflow, downpipes blocked

Everything feels damp

Smells damp

Tastes damp

Even the air here inside.

The rivered streets slick and shine like mirrors

In a mono-chrome world

I look out the window

For the cowardly sun

Still a no-show

The sky darkens further

Like my mood

Thunderous rain beats against the roof

And waves its opaque magicians cape

As the street disappears

Concealed from view

Only the rain

My constant companion

Only the Rain.

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The sum of all things.

As I lay in bed early this morning, having been waken by a combination of our cat Hector demanding attention by mewing by the bedroom door, and the first notes of the dawn chorus of birdsong, all manner of things flood my mind.

My head is literally awash with thoughts all tumbling through with little forethought. Memories, ideas, wishes, and a few regrets, all pile on top of one another in utter chaos that I’m meant to sift and sort through if I’m going to make the slightest sense of them. Are they meant to be made sense of though? Should I simply get a big broom and sweep them all into a corner for Ron….you know, I’ll sort it out lateR on. Or I could sweep them under the rug and forget about them….leave them for Al – zheimers to claim.

But no. What ever these things are – rushing hell for leather through the sometimes dim, sometimes illuminated, corridors of my mind – they are demanding attention…much like my cat Hector is demanding to be fed.

Everyone I’ve ever met, everything I’ve ever done, every smell, every taste, every touch, every sight and sound, every experience – good or bad – every thought, spinning around in a huge tumble dryer falling over and over one another. These are the sum of my life. The sum of all things that equal me.

Another louder, more insistent MEEEEOOOW! And Hector leaping onto the bed and onto my chest mean that my mental mathematics will have to wait for later. The sum of all things that equal me have just been put in their place…..his majesty wants his breakfast.

The Curse of Writer’s Block.

Writer’s block can be a terrible thing. Thankfully it’s not something that I am suffering from these days. These days, I’m pleased to report, ideas come flowing through my mind like water from the tap. Admittedly some of my ideas, just like water from the tap, can be lukewarm and insipid – but at least they’re flowing.

This morning after my early morning coffee….(so it could be, or probably is, supercharged by caffeine)…my mind was brimming with ideas for blog posts and other articles. And I jotted down fifteen ideas straight off. BUT it wasn’t always that easy and even the greatest writers have at times suffered from the dreaded writer’s block. Here are a few quotes about that awful affliction.

“writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all”
Charles Bukowski

“One writer I know tells me that he sits down every morning and says to himself nicely, ‘It’s not like you don’t have a choice, because you do– you can either type or kill yourself.”
Anne Lamott

“You could see writer’s block as mental constipation but I like to think of it as cultural anaemia.”
Stewart Stafford

“The wonderful thing about writing is that there is always a blank page waiting.
The terrifying thing about writing is that there is always a blank page waiting.” ― J.K. Rowling

“Writer’s block is only a failure of the ego.” — Norman Mailer

And believe me, if anyone knows about the Ego it’s Mailer. I have never read any writer who’s ego is bigger or more perfect (at least in his own mind) than Mailer.

And finally…..

“When I got Writer’s Block, I masturbated.”
Takako Shimura

Well….I guess if it worked for her….who am I to judge. If you’ve already tried massaging your mind to stimulate it…. Before I get myself in any deeper (Oh Dear…) I think that I should probably finish right there….make it the climax of my blog post (pun intended).

A year of blogging and several thank-you’s.

I can’t believe it, but this weekend brings up one year of blogging on WordPress. Thank you so much for the “like’s, comments and follows”. It’s especially nice when people take time out of their full and busy lives to comment on something as trivial as my blog posts and I honestly am most appreciative. This first year on WordPress has been an interesting experience, and something that I am growing into. Yes, even at almost 60 years of age I am still learning and growing….even if my hair isn’t. The most important thing is that I am enjoying the writing experience even more than I hoped I would. Being able to read and comment on other peoples blogs has also been a new and rewarding experience, and I’d like to say thank you to all the bloggers out there who’s articles I have read, liked, or commented on. I’ve been entertained, educated and in some cases amazed.

A very quick recap of the last year of blogging shows that my first ever blog post attracted a grand total of 1 like – thank you Chris from https://gnashingblog.com/ – (If anyone hasn’t come across Chris’s blog, please take a look. He has some great book and movie reviews and the occasional spectacular rant).

So you’d think from only 1 like, things could only improve. Right?…..sadly no. My 5th, 6th and 7th posts received no response at all….not even a”is that all you’ve got?” comment, only the buzz…(or is it chirp?) of crickets. BUT, I didn’t start off writing my blog in search of likes, comments or followers – I was writing because I wanted to, and I wanted to know if I had the ability to string more than a couple of sentences together in a coherent manner…..and most importantly I was doing it for the pleasure of writing. Likes, comments and followers are a wonderful by-product.

I was inspired enough by reading other bloggers poetry to have a go myself and have been pleasantly surprised at the response. A very surprised “thank you” from me for all the nice comments. However, the down side – for you – is that I will be inflicting more of said poetry on you in up coming posts. I’m enjoying the process and the peace that writing poetry brings to the soul. You have been warned!

Other well received subjects have been some, but not all, book reviews, most of my travel/photography pieces especially the ones on Paris seem to go down well, but politics and environmentalism don’t receive the same response. Perhaps the reality of the mess we find ourselves in both politically and more importantly environmentally is too distressing for many of you. I totally get that. Sometimes I’d rather hide away and hope that it’s all been a bad dream. Sadly neither problem will go away. I don’t mean to cause distress in pointing out how sadly we’ve lost our way as a species, or how bad we’ve screwed up, but sometimes I feel compelled to let it all out in a jumble of words on paper…otherwise my head may well explode.

My most successful piece so far, with regard to likes and comments, was my post about children’s writer Enid Blyton – which is kind of fitting as it was dear old Enid’s books that opened up a world of reading and wonder for me when I was about 7 or 8 years old….and I’ve been addicted to books ever since. Thank you Enid – I am for ever in your debt.

So, one year passes….101 blog posts published (this will be 102), so that’s one post on average every 3.5 days….126 followers – I know that some bloggers have thousands of followers, but frankly, hitting that hundred follower mark felt great, so thank you guys and girls. I value every one of you and I’ll do my best to keep you entertained for another year….and to keep up with reading and commenting on your blogs too.

As Woody Allen once said “70 percent of success in life is in just turning up”….so for now I’ll keep turning up approximately every 3.5 days.

Earths Clock – A poem

Nature is Earth’s clock

The breeze in the trees its reassuring tick

Its changes mark the seasons

The horizon dips and rises

To greet and then farewell the sun

And mark each passing day

Its regularity is perfection

Its cycles keep us safe

Its predictability and stability is our truth

And its complexity a mystery

A wonder to be worshipped.

But WE know best

From air-conditioned corner offices

And laboratories under fluorescent lights

WE know best

We meddle and we tamper

We set ourselves apart from

And above nature

We play god with nature

Our experiment, life itself

We don’t KNOW natures complexity

Nor its inter-dependent layers

But WE know best

Can WE be gods?

We splice genes, change dna, IMPROVE on nature

HA! The vanity of our insanity!

We create or destroy at will

Burn fossil fuel, tear down trees

Do whatever the hell we please

WE want to be god, in our own image

We pollute, wipe out other species

They don’t matter and we don’t care

We clothe the globe in plastic

We change natures balance

In our ignorance

But WE know best

We crave our excesses

A need for greed

All balance gone

Water undrinkable

Air we can’t breathe

Food that won’t nourish

Our “intelligent” creation – more greed

We use people, and we love things

We ARE our own gods

And WE absolutely without a shadow of doubt

Know best

But we can’t save ourselves

When we’re put to the test.

After we are no more

And millennia pass

And nature once more becomes

The timepiece of the Earth

Will we again slither

From primordial ooze

To wreak havoc on earth

Or will we be wise enough

To know our place

And be one with nature

Because NATURE knows best.

Quotes about Books.

There is nothing quite like a book. It can entertain us, educate us, make us laugh, make us cry, amaze and delight us, frustrate us, and sometimes confuse us. It can toy with our emotions – lift us up, or exhaust us. A book can be our best friend. A trusted companion. Console us during our low points, take us on adventures we could only dream about, to places we could only hope to visit.

If a friend said “Come on let’s go!” – I wouldn’t need to know where. My only question would be “When we get there, will there be books?”

There are lots of quotes, by lots of wonderful people. Here are just a few of my favourites.

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.”
Mortimer J. Adler

“Isn’t it odd how much fatter a book gets when you’ve read it several times?” Mo had said…”As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells…and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there, too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower…both strange and familiar.”
Cornelia Funke, Inkspell

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.”
Franz Kafka

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
Haruki Murakami

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
Madeleine L’Engle

A poem

An explanation will follow after the poem.

After we stop pretending that everything’s alright

After the lies have all been told

After we realise that day may no longer follow night

After our children’s future has been sold.

Will we show remorse, beg forgiveness, be sad?

That we chose THINGS over their hopes and dreams

Will our kids understand, or will they just be mad?

That their parents didn’t love them enough, it seems.

The Earth, abundant in nature, wore a smiling face

But we traded it, in our greed for money

Nature is the loser in our in-Human Race

A toxic broth is our reward, instead of milk and honey.

When we were one with nature, just like insects birds and trees

And the gods of the forest were our guides

Everything was perfect, nature met our needs

But we traded it for status, shiny things, and lies

We ignored our forest gods and worshipped god in the form of man

Declared ourselves above and separate from the natural world

And that sadly, is where our troubles all began

And we’ve been fucking things up ever since!

I make no apologies for the final line. This poem follows on from my previous post also titled “After we stop pretending” about how we continue to pollute and destroy and how it may be too late to make the changes we need to make, to save our own lives. I have tried to give the poem rhythm and rhyme all the way through until the final line. It’s abrupt….doesn’t rhyme….and represents our disconnect from the rest of the natural world. I have never felt so angry, or so impotent to change things….to make things right.

Whether you believe in man made climate change, or whether you think it’s simply a natural cycle, that creates the rise and fall of global temperatures, what is undeniable is the fact that we – by which I mean you, me, the folks next door, the people down the street and most of all the people who have become rich and powerful – are responsible for polluting and destroying our natural world. And we covet our baubles and shiny possessions so much that we are content to allow the destruction of the thing that gives us life, and what would guarantee that our kids and grand kids had a future. If ONLY we had the courage to stand up and say ENOUGH! But we don’t care enough about nature and we DON’T love our kids and grand kids enough to have the balls to protect them. It’s sad….it’s really quite pathetic….but it’s the truth. Otherwise we’d be on the streets demanding change in an unstoppable show of public disobedience – displaying unselfish courage.

We watch what’s laughingly called “the news” on our TV’s at night and the lead item SHOULD be about how we are destroying the earth and more importantly what we are, or should be, doing to turn things around. But instead we allow them to distract us with stories of Donald Trumps tweets, or about which celebrity has had Botox, or arse implants, or which politician has been cheating behind their spouse’s backs. Anything to avoid the real issue. Anything to put off switching off the consumer driven growth economy and changing our own comfortable lifestyle. It seems that we love money more than life itself. We deserve our fate.