Life in Poetry reading, writing, reflecting

Life in Poetry reading, writing, reflecting
April showers bring May flowers

Thursday, 28 February 2019

⌗28 days, February 27th, COMMIT

To My Sister

Kathleen with my middle daughter Emma, 7, in 2005.

You will never see the sky again.
We shall not quarrel anymore.
You have set yourself free, left me

behind, to experience
the aches of solitude.
To see the sun sink

beyond the rooftops.
You took up all the room
but it was not your fault.

I cowered, hidden away
in the eaves, grabbing at crumbs.
You would fill the kitchen

with words and I would hurry
out of sight, not wanted,
no place for me.


My sister Kathleen, committed suicide in 2011, at the age of 49. I was 3 years younger.

Here are some songs we used to listen to together during our childhood in the '70.

Nino Ferrer, LE SUD and THE GARDEN. Two of her favourites.

and here

UP, UP AND AWAY   Music for pleasure. My first personal record that I listened to from age 6. And I still do.

a song by Jimmy Webb, 1967, sung by Enchanted Escape. Albuquerque, Balloon Festival every year in October. Here.
Peter Skellern, MANIFESTO and YOU'RE A LADY.  The second, my all-time favourite.

Vinyl album 1972

John Spencer, MAMY BLUE. One of our favourites, she and I.

1971 version by the Pop Tops

Kris Kringle, SUSIE. My little private song.

On the album Memphis

And to finish on a joyful note,

GUANTANAMERA, performed by The Sandpipers.


Wednesday, 27 February 2019

⌗28 days, February 26th, PRUNE


The Cherry Tree

We prune the cherry tree in November, 
the rose bush in December.Then, I trim the bush 
all year round: discarding sick leaves, 
faded flowers. I cut the dried stalks.

The raspberries need extra care:
I snip and clip.
I clear the weeds so they don't
choke the delicate stems.

The fig tree captures our attention
every October, as does the pear tree.
The nut- and apple trees at Elie du Bois
are disregarded for years.

They keep producing bountiful crops.
One has been battered and bashed
by the autumn and summer storms.
The apples don't have far to drop,

The branches kiss the ground.
The roots are still firmly entrenched.
The trunk is angle-ironed.
When wind and water unleash,

The setting sun robes the clouds
and heavens with a prune hew.


Toulouse April 2014

Pear Tree, Toulouse

Cherry tree, Toulouse

Rose bush, Elie du Bois, Dordogne, May 2014

On the Road, Dordogne

Cherry tree, Elie du Bois, December 2014

The Meadow, Elie du Bois

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

⌗28 days, February 24th, MOURN


My Father in my Bones

Again he is in my head. In his armchair, he mutters;
reads the paper, politics. From his lips flows
contempt for a boss from his past.

He is smoking. Curls of grey climb and stain
the ceiling, the walls. A yellow light lingers.
The radio bellows: cymbals clash and trumpets roar.

I hear angry shouting through the door.We share
the same nightmares. Piranesi staircases wind up
and roller-coast down. Now he is gone.

In my own house there's a drizzle. Cruises my bones.
Weaves a path between flesh and veins.
A patter of rain falls on the panes. It slithers

in broken lanes. On iron railings it drips, drops.
On the window rim it seeps into stone. Pools of icy
water sketch landscapes. A map of the world.

We share the geography he loved. He used to pore 
over an atlas, fighting forgotten battles. He dreamt
of perfect quests into unknown lands, I dream too.

We share a passion for history. When I think, whimpers
of wash creep up over cutting moss, I shudder.
Aches skate across my shoulder blades.

I remember him in his chair. A garden seat in the shade
of the hazelnut tree. Even in warm weather
he shivered beneath a tight woolly.

His small boned hands at the end of my arms are numb.
I have blisters bobbing bubbles, bruised chins
and shins. We share a razor sharp blood line.

We share the notes of a tune tumbling
into bass booms and silent grumbling.


published Paragram Anthology, Remember, December 2014.

My father died in September 2005. I wrote this poem in January 2009. It was twice this size. I edited it a first time between February and May 2009; then again in 2012 and 2013. After it was published, I didn't touch it again. My mourning was complete.

⌗28 days, February 25th, THRIVE


Baby Alice thrived on her mummy's milk. 
Blowing bubbles to the clouds. 
Wee lass, a smile, a banana mouth with full blooming lips. 

A sparkle in her eye. So trusting, so helpless.
The fawn walks within minutes. 
We hold our head, roll over, sit, crawl. 

Baby Alice heaved herself onto her feet, 
clinging to the coffee table, 
the bookcase shelf.

She thrived on the puréed fruit: 
media manzana, media platano, media naranja. 
On the mashed vegetables, potato, carotte, spinach 
mixed with a mince of red meat, fish or chicken.

Baby Alice thrived on the Barcelona sunshine, 
the sweet air of Elie du Bois. 
She took her first steps at a wedding in Sitges. 

Baby Alice was lazy. 
She wanted the pushchair to ride to Square Nougaro, 
Les Minimes, in Toulouse.

So she had it, but she wasn't in it ! 
She walked behind it, 
held on to the sides and rolled it to the park. 

Little Alice thrived on the games, 
the swing by the seaside, 
at the Robert Louis Stevenson park on the beach at Alum Chine.

Little Alice dug holes and fashioned forts. 
She buried herself in the sand, 
her head sticking out like a rugby tee. 

Little Alice jumped in the waves and 
sat on the edge, toes wriggling among the seashells.
The tide gently lapped at her legs. 

And suddenly, it turned a trick, 
slapped her full in the face. 
'Spurt, spurt, sting, sputter. Pouah! 

The gigantic shark-carrying waves in La Reunion
 were far too threatening.But little Alice thrived winding in and out, 
rushing through the bambou maze. 

Behold her first meeting with the mosquitoes. 
A spotted dick, more like a pea-spattered bean !

Little Alice thrived singing 
Here we go round the Mulberry Bush, a fat conniver. 
She stomped up the mound shouting, 

'The Grand old Duke of York...' 
And then, in late spring, who should come along ?

Baby Emma: a playmate, a companion, a doll... 

And the merry-go-round thrived on a brand new tune.

⌗28 days, February 23rd, REACH


Dream your dreams, reach for the clouds. 

You only have one life, so experience it to the full. 
Let your feelings flow. Let your emotions grasp the better of you. 
Fly into a rage over a bee like

Drew Barrymore's evil stepsister in Ever After. 
Angelica Huston as the cruel stepmother: 
'Whatever I've done, whatever I do, it is never enough'.

Break down and sob when grief overwhelms you. 
Let the tears trickle down your cheeks at the sound of a song. 
At the surge of music, 

the unfolding of that poignant scene on stage or on the big screen.
Laugh out loud, cry with joy. 
Natural beauty makes you weep with felicity. 

Reach for the heavens and touch the moon. 
Share and love together. Fulfill your dreams. 
Bliss comes raining down on the bold.

To wrap up my poem, listen to The Pretenders, Lovers of Today.

Chrissie Hynde

I'll Stand By You, sung by Chrissie Hynde.

Interview about her book Restless

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

⌗WEP Challenge February 2019, 28 Days

With the Insecure Writers Support Group I am participating in the WEP challenge. To know more go here.

28 days

my contribution : a short story.

               The clock is ticking. Sam observes the seconds' arm click onto the next black button. The face stares back at him callously. It just records Time. No care for a petty human life.
Sam rises and brushes a lock of carrot red hair from his eye. He shuffles into the kitchen. Sets the kettle on the gas ring and fires it up. He grab his 'Best GrandDad' mug from the slender wooden peg. Two spoonfuls of coffee, a rush of sugar. The kettle whistles and he pours the water.
Out of the window, the goat is munching at frosted grass. Beyond he can watch the white horses crashing onto the rocks. Sam shambles back into the sitting room. He reaches for his tobacco and takes his pipe from the mantelpiece. He drags on a frayed jacket and steps through the glass door. He settles on the bench, brushing droplets from the nooks of the stone.
He feels guilty at smoking while he sips the scalding drink. What difference would it make now ?
The surgeon had been adamant, There was nothing left he could do. Sam had scratched down the words in his diary the day before, when he got back. 'February 1st, only 28 days more to go'.

He taps his pipe on the fence of the compost heap. Crossing the threshold, he picks up the paper. He throws it onto the table. He won't be reading it. Let others worry about the news. the ringing startles him. He eyes the telephone: a monster about to erupt into his gloom. he doesn't pick it up. It seems to toll forever.

He is floating above a pine forest, snow glistening from the branches. The treetops look so insignificant. he feels a surge of peaceful bliss. The banging insinuates itself into his dream, gnaws at his brain and his body plummets back to earth. The soothing image disappears. Wrenched from his nap by this intruder, his eyes open. He stares at the damp-stained ceiling. The banging doesn't let up. he swings his feet onto the floor and sticks his toes into his mules. he steps down the hallway, fixing the front door, clenches the knob and turns it.

Patty is standing on the mat.

"Granpa !" 

She collapses at his appearance. He catches her arm and draws her in. He leads her to the settee and lodges her between two cushions.

"Is it true ?" She looks up, pleading.

Sam remains silent but his gaze expresses it all.

"Oh! Granpa, why didn't you say anything ? Mummy was frantic with worry when the doctor told her. Why don't you answer the phone ?"

"I..." His voice falters.

"She wanted to come herself but..."
" I know."
"Don't worry Granpa, I'm going to take care of you from now on."
"I'm alright."
"How can you say that ?"
"I've had a good life."
"Don't you want to make peace with your daughter ?"
"If she needs to, she can."

Sam's eyes are two saphires. Patty breaks down and sobs.

"Oh, Granpa, please..."


Tuesday, 19 February 2019

⌗28 days February 17th to 19th. SONG, DANCE, FILM





The beautiful daughter of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg. Franco-British, like me. I saw her growing up, although she is a little younger. Her songs speak to me in a way no other songs do. As though the words were taken from my thoughts ! Definitely a soulmate.

To know more about Charlotte :


Here is an extract from Man on The Moon  with Jim Carrey

I will survive

last scene of the film

Another favourite of mine with Jim Carrey, by Michel Gondry,

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Sunday, 17 February 2019


Yesterday evening I went to an event at my local cinema : a documentary followed by a debate. The theme was REGENERATION.

As our planet has been able to regenerate itself after cataclysms like the ice ages, the meteor strike that wiped out number of species, including the dinosaurs, nature has a way of always landing on its feet. That includes all living species, plants and animals...and HUMANS.
So the body can regenerate, healing itself if left to its own devices. The argument of the documentary is that the brain, the most powerful of human organs, fabricates the right tools to cure all ills that can put the whole into jeopardy.

The documentary focuses on examples of individuals suffering from illnesses as divers as MS, diabetes, depression, colon cancer, tumors...who thanks to drastic changes in their rapport with and treatment of their body enabled it to heal itself naturally. Without surgery or chemical drugs.
A miracle, you might say ! No a lot of common sense, an open mind and a capacity to listen to one’s body and heed the signals sent. It’s a bit like when you don’t put your safety belt on and your car beeps annoyingly until you do what it says. The brain through its neurological system, our own built-in computer, receives from and sends messages to your organs, skin, muscles etc...
So basically if you feel a headache coming on, instead of popping pills, you try and figure out what your brain is trying to say: stop reading, turn down the music or switch it off, stop whatever your doing and rest. Drink plenty of water. Okay so this is only a headache. What about MS. The doctors say you are dying basically and that the lesions are irreversible. Your body says otherwise so listen to what it has to say. 

The people who bear witness in the film and who have survived and healed themselves, all were thought mad, eccentric, by their doctors. They stopped all conventional treatments, left their hospital beds and embarked upon a patient and sometimes long road back to full health.
What did they do ? The majority started by a period of fasting of several days. They changed their eating habits to more natural and fresh foods. They changed their environment to a more healthier one: less pollution, less man-made noise, less intrusive artificial light. They increased the quality of their sleep by reducing the level of stressful activity. The idea is to cleanse the body first so that the appropriate actions can be taken to refuel it and let the brain do its the work.
The changes produced new symptoms, but ones that indicated that the body was starting to work towards recovery.

The documentary went into great scientific detail as to the bodies’ mechanisms of self-regeneration. The usefulness of bacteria, nutrients, air, water, moderate exercise in a pleasant atmosphere, feelings and emotions. Doctors, neurologists, psychiatrists, nutritionists and specialists in alternative medecins all contributed to build their case.

Throughout the documentary, a parallel was drawn with how nature regenerates itself if left to its own devices. Soils pronounced dead are just exhausted. They need rest and nutrients. Forests grow back if they are not tampered with. Man-made constructions if abandoned are taken over little by little by nature. Agriculture does not need chemicals. Weeds are not bad, they enable the earth to breath, drain water. When fallen leaves rot, they create mulch. When apples fall, they attract insects and worms who feed the earth. Permaculture strives to recreate this natural environment by using the land as it is, without clearing or destroying the natural order but by planting the appropriate product in the right place. They then strive on their own.

This is not some readymade recipe. Each individual responds best to what works for him/her. The time it takes for the body to regenerate depends on each person’s ability to adapt. The path is first intellectual, then physical. You have to yield to the belief that life is always stronger than death. That the confidence you place in the survival instinct of your body is total.
Of course there is nothing new here. We have just forgotten about it. Chinese medical practices, Hippocrate, Jung, among others are quoted.

The documentary doesn’t exclude necessarily all medical advances over the last couple of hundred years but denounces the excessive use of drugs and invasive surgery.
Personally I was convinced before I even saw the film. I have suffered from severe depressions. I have been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and been treated over the years with drugs and psychotherapy. I have been told that I will have to take regulation drugs to avoid mood swings for the rest of my life. I have always fought against the need to take drugs and decrease the dosage whenever I can. This illness is my brain telling me that things have to change. I have adjusted an awful lot of things in my life and strive to keep working on relentlessly healing my body and mind. Each person can find what they need and apply it.

here is a link to the trailer of the film.


Writing has always been my refuge and most prized creative outlet but theatre, dancing, singing, photography are also constants. I need to walk in nature, travel to the sea regularly. I have been practicing yoga for twenty years, do-in for five. I have increased organic foods: fresh fruit and vegetables that we buy every week at the market, produced locally; tea, coffee, flour, rice, pasta, sugar, milk, cream, yoghurts, cereals from an organic shop. We eat red meat only once a week, fish and chicken too, organic eggs moderately.....

⌗28 days challenge Feb.15th, BROKEN.


The night is darker than the most bottomless
pit. In the shadows, sleek lizards slide
over strewn rocks and worms dig into the earth.

No lights bother the surface or reaches the rim.
A stain of ink can swallow all colours.
The moon rises and catches the ghosts by surprise.

The trees' outlines stretch over the lawn.
The wooden barn is now distinct among the pebbles.
No one has stepped among the brambles in years.

The silence is streaked with the night owl's tune.
Lonely crickets chirp among slender prairie grass.
Ivy overgrown attacks the walls.

If nobody claims the farm, in a few years,
the roof will cave in and the door will stick open.
hinges dislodged.

All the childhood memories,
the quiet meals,
will be forgotten.


⌗28 days challenge Feb.12 th, DANCE

The 28 days challenge is a writing exercise from Anita Ojeda. Write on a word a day and post it to your website/blog and also on the group page on Facebook.

if you would like to contribute please contact Anita at


Dance, hover, glide. Across the floor, slippered steps.
Arm-beats, soaring towards the sky like an eagle,  
fingers splayed, the tips of its feathers at the end of majestic wings.
Torso taut, strut. The strum of strings twitch my muscles.
They launch my limbs into a story, an opera all my own.
Hips hop, thrust from side to side, forwards; circle an imaginary globe.
I ride on a ray of golden light fallen on the tiles through the window.
On the terrace, my body skates on the breeze. 
I remember my dance-partners down the years: lovers, friends, 
my own flesh and blood. Emotions seep into the choregraphy: 
it shifts, it whips up fanciful turns. Lyrics trigger new adours. 
My voice grasps at fleeting words. I dive into song. 
My breath rises from the depth of my core, and fuels my fervour. 
My soul swoops into the music. I become whole and rise to a paroxysm. The sound flows into silence. I rest, spent.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

⌗IWSG February 2019, Drawing and writing.

The question on the Insecure Writer's Support Group this month is

When you are not writing, what other creative outlets do you have ?

When I’m not writing and watching tennis, I like to draw in a notebook. It’s more like coloring actually. Patterns, Mandalas, Landscapes. When I travel, I like to draw what I see out of my window, on a train, from a hotel room. I use pencils. Sometimes I take photos while travelling and then try to reproduce them with a pencil and then paint. Books also inspire me and I paint pictures of the images that have appeared in my mind. I’m not a very good artist so sometimes I need to draw lines to position the elements in my painting. I am messy too.
In my writing my confidence grew by taking courses, giving and receiving feedback. So I suppose my next step in drawing and painting will be to take lessons. In school, I loved to draw maps and color in the different types of landscapes, geological features or natural ressources.
In my writing, I am also inspired by pictures or paintings. Finding the story behind the scenes, or inventing one.
I think all creative activities are inter-connected in some way. They feed each other.

If you would like to sign up to the Insecure Writers Support Group, go to this link :

What I find pleasure in the most is the creative process. Getting my work out into the world is the drag: the competition out there, the disappointments. Discouragement is my worst enemy, perseverance my best friend and positive feedback from fellow writers, again, again and again. But it is just as rewarding to witness the success of others whom you’ve helped to improve.

An example of a sketch. Looking out of the window. B&B Stratford upon Avon. Virginia Lodge. Tim & Kate Wright, 12 Evesham Place.
On A Living Shakespeare Course at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. September 2013. Saw Hamlet, All's Well that Ends Well, As You Like It and Candide by Voltaire, adaptation by Mark Ravenhill.

And a painting inspired by Rama II by Arthur C. Clarke. Sorry, my scan is not big enough !

Sunday, 3 February 2019

My new blog

At the end of the Tunnel.

My heart is a feather. My spirit soars with
new endeavours. Liberated from any trials,
my children comfortably soothed into
their futures.

A second life for me, or a ninth.
Free to pursue the bliss of each day.
No longer encumbered by hefty obligations.
My work is done.

The foundations are sound. The edifice raised
brick by brick will not topple at a mere
gust of wind. We are tethered to weather
a storm.

Nothing short of a cyclone can sweep us 
away. A sound partnership cemented by
love has brought these years of joy.
The worst

of my dismay and dolour are behind.
The thrill is still beneath, graciously
awoken to carry me onwards until
the end.