Monday, 31 May 2010

Midsummer Resolutions

After writing the hen poem into my last post and reading the words - weed your garden - I started to weed the garden, and proceeded to spend the whole afternoon and early evening gardening in my pyjamas. 
What a bohemian bank hol thing to do! Even though I'm already wont to spend large parts of the day in my dizzybelles, as my grandma used to say  - from the French se deshabiller, I believe - my son and daughter number 2 found it tres amusing that I was getting stuck in with a rake and fork in my dressing gown.  
I once read an article about the poet/crime novelist Sophie Hannah in which she said something along the lines that if you are a writer and have children, at least you will have to get dressed occasionally in order to take them to the places they need to go to.....or something like that.....Anyway I took that as encouragement that to develop my writing I needed to keep on spending as much time as possible in my pyjamas.....
I've toyed with the idea of writing a poem a day next month to build up my collection, but as June is only an hour away, I don't know that I can manage to be that prolific. So instead I've decided to go for one every other day. By the end of June I should therefore have the makings of 15 poems to play with. In May I haven't been near a pool, so that also needs to be addressed. These are my New June Resolutions.

Bank Holiday Brunch

Another Bank Holiday to bring my birthday month to a close. So another lazy day with plenty of time for this and that.....The scrambled eggs up above are from our own hens who live in the back garden. 
Here's a poem about hens by Michaele Oleson which I found on the internet when we first got our girls.

All I Need To Know In Life I Learned From My Hens

Wake up early, stay busy
Rest when you need to, but always stay alert
Visit your favourite places every day
Scratch out a living
Routine is good
Plump is good
Don't ponder your purpose in life
Your brain is too small
Accept the pecking order and know your enemies
Weed your garden
Look after your children
Sit on them if necessary
Take them for walks, show them the little things and talk constantly
Make a nice nest - share it with friends
Brag on your accomplishments
Protect your nest egg
Test your wings once in a while
Squawk when necessary
As you age, demand respect
Leave a little something for those who care about you
Chase butterflies

Michaele Oleson
Article from:

Countryside & Small Stock Journal, 1/5/2006 

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Hundredth Post

I thought I'd written my hundredth post a while back, but when I totted up, the list included some drafts which never made it. So this is officially Numero 100! A century!

As I've mentioned previously, the Saturday Poem in the Guardian is a feature which both irks and delights me. Tearing open the plastic wrapping on Saturday's paper, I'm always excited to find out which poem has been selected for us in the Review section. I'm irritated that despite there being scores of brilliant and talented women poets, for some reason this column seems to have a tendency to favour male poets. Not that I don't like poems written by men, but so far this year, poems by men have featured 16 times, poems by women only 5. What's all that about then?
Anyhoo, today is one of those red letter days when another woman poet is being showcased - woohoo!  Pascale Petit is the fifth woman to have made it into the column this year. 
Her poem The Bus is from her latest book What The Water Gave Me: Poems After Frida Kahlo. The collection is a series of poems inspired by the life and paintings of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The poem is based on the above painting. 
I find the poem and the painting incredibly moving. As a young woman Frida Kahlo was in a bus crash and suffered horrendous injuries. Not surprisingly, this had a profound impact on the course her life took afterwards.
Like the painting, Petit's poem is a poignant portrait of Kahlo's world in the moments  before that life-changing experience.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Swoony Simon

I have struggled a bit with some - not all - of Simon Armitage's poems, but I was very glad to get his latest collection for my birthday.
He was on Radio 4's Start the Week a couple of weeks ago and he read his poem 'The Delegates'. You can hear him reading it by following the link. I love him reading this poem, he makes me want to go and steal something. Ooo er missus.....

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Welcome To My Birthday Bash

Today I've been celebrating my birthday - 51 today - yikes! How did that happen?!!
I had a very lazy start to the day, then this afternoon we went into Manchester to the City Art Gallery to see the Emmeline Pankhurst picture that I featured here two days ago. This exhibition finishes tomorrow, so we got in fast to see it. Afterwards we strolled through town, finishing up at Wagamama for a perfect end to a perfect day! 
Here are my presents:

To paraphrase Bruce Forsyth - Didn't I do well?!! 
( Shows my age, eh?!)

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Election Night

Here in Suffragette City
I struggle
to locate
election poems. Perhaps
will come up
by morning.

Aqua Marina

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Poetry Pilgrimage

Across the valley from Gaddings Dam we could just about see the village of Heptonstall. I suggested a pilgrimage  across there to visit Sylvia Plath's grave.
Outside the village is Lumb Bank, the manor house bought by Ted Hughes after Sylvia's death. It's now owned by the Arvon Foundation which runs courses for writers.  

Secluded Swimming Pool

Bank Holiday Monday dawned bright and sunny so we decided to go and find Gaddings Dam across in the Calder Valley. After low-level agonising - say 2-3 minutes - on my part, we elected to keep our feet on the ground, leave the wetsuits at home and save the pleasure of swimming for another visit. 
Last summer at Boundary Breeze in Cheshire as the weather grew warmer, the weeds took over, clogging up the water, making swimming difficult and unpleasant. On my last trip there, I also got snagged on a fishing line. That was the final straw, I wanted to find a better place to swim this year. 
Across in Yorkshire, we parked up at The Shepherd's Rest Inn and hiked up to the reservoir, a steepish moorland walk which took about 20 minutes. On the way we passed a dead sheep which looked like it had been savaged by a wolf, a sobering sight. There was a flurry of hailstones and the wind was bitter, so I was mighty glad we'd ruled out a swim. 
Here is the first encouraging sign that we were close to our goal
then up the steps
to the beautiful sparkling ex-reservoir, ruffled by an icy wind
Oh wow!!
there is a lovely little sandy beach
and the water is clear and sweet
I suppose it's easy to say from the comfort of my armchair, but I'm excited at the thought of going back up there and taking the plunge!!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

May Queen

For all my watery frolics, I am a landlubber, a Taurus, an earth sign, and May is my month, all 31 luxurious days of it!
The sun is shining, the leaves are bursting out and the world is unwrapping itself. Oh how I love my birthday month! And what better way to start it than with a lazy, long weekend. I am going across to Chorlton Meadows to commune with Mother Nature on this Beltane Day!
Loude Sing Cuckoo!