Life in Poetry reading, writing, reflecting

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

Friday, 29 March 2019

⌗FMF Five minute friday, MEASURE, March 29th

It’s Friday again. We are officially in Spring. 
I am participating in the FMF, writing challenge.
Write for five minutes flat every Friday and post your entry on your blog and on the Facebook group FMF. You don’t have to be on “fesses-bouc” as we chide in French, to participate.
Just go to the Landing page
And follow instructions.

Here is my contribution to the prompt.

❀ A good measure of love in all things, of tolerance, compassion, kindness, joy and peace.

❀ A book by Margareth Forster, one of my favourite authors,
How to Measure a Cow. The difficulty and consequences of shutting out the past.

if you would like to know more click here

❀ A poem/recipe I wrote in 2015, on Blackberry and Apple Pie.


Pick the blackberries from brambles

along a meadow in late August.

Brush away giddy wasps that whip around.

Clothe yourself with long sleeves, jeans and socks,

although the weather is blazing hot.

Or be prepared to tweeze thorns from lacerated skin.

Take a walking stick with a curved handle

to reach those juicy nut size ones at the top

Long legs and long arms cannot be found in a shop.

Wear a cap and sunglasses to fight off the glare.

Don't forget to lift those leaves

where excellence shrinks from the pick.

Bend down to scoop up the apples to balance

the taste. They are easier to free from nature;

they fall from the tree.

Simmer the two combined, with nutmeg

and cinnamon. A whiff signals

Sunday dessert as it coils up the stairs.

Cut up the soft butter into dice:

clack clack on the side

of the enamel bowl.

Sieve the flour like snow

falling onto yellow clay.

Grip the sticky cubes with cool fingers.

Crumb fat and flour together, roll

the paste between forefinger and thumb.

Lift lightly through spread fingers,

like a prayer, an offering to the god of sweets.

Like fluffy feathers dancing between open palms.

Knead and roll out a circle of pastry.

A blue and white striped egg cup holds up the tent.

Stab it ten times to release the steam,

and place it snug in the oven.

©Susan Baury Rouchard 

Have a pleasant weekend. Please react, comment and I will be sure to reply. Sharing is what brings Peace into this world.

Thank you for reading.

Susan Baury Rouchard 

Saturday, 23 March 2019

#FMF Five Minute Friday challenge, March 22nd, 2019, REWARD

It’s Friday again. We are officially in Spring. 
I am participating in the FMF, writing challenge.
Write for five minutes flat every Friday and post your entry on your blog and on the Facebook group FMF. You don’t have to be on “fesses-bouc” as we chide in French, to participate.
Just go to the Landing page
And follow instructions.

As I didn’t have the prompt on Friday morning (French time, you were all still asleep !), I improvised and started writing about something completely different : Equality, following a series of conferences/debates going on in Toulouse this week. So that post you will get later today or tomorrow.

However, here is my contribution to the prompt.

Rejection and Reward (June 2009)

It was a spiffing bit of poetry.
Rhyming lines and bouncing
rhythms. It was about my wee

Alice who when just a babe,
bubbling bubbles would rock 
herself to sleep.

Startling images and rich assonance
it held. Meaning seeped up
from colourful words, reverence

for darling daughter peeped
out from stanzas, beats and feet.

Oh woe that my reader should
reject this wonderful piece.

See what you're missing; if only
you could, I shouted to the heavens
in Greece.

Reward lies in the writing,
that's the feat !

©Susan Baury Rouchard 

I don’t believe in heavenly rewards, only earthly ones. I think you create the opportunities for reward yourself in life by staying true to your inner being and living everyday with gratefulness, respect and compassion.

Although I am glad to write as part of this group, with Kate, I do not believe in God. I believe in Nature and the laws of Physics. I was baptized an Anglican Protestant and brought up within Christian traditions, more than Christian faith. I enjoy going to Church and sharing a spiritual moment, but I enjoy it just as much in a mosque as I do in a Bhuddist Temple or under the roof of La Case a Palabre in an African village.
I respect and accept all human religions as I do their followers, except if their faith is turned into hate, like it was last Friday in Christchurch.

However, I fundamentally believe that the Big Bang created life in the Universe and that the Big Crunch will end it. I also believe that human beings descend from apes, following Darwin’s theories of evolution and that ‘Lucy’ is one of all our common ancestors, ALL from the Rift Valley in Eastern Africa to Homo Sapiens Sapiens. The change in the color of our skins stems from generations of living under certain, different climates but climate did not alter any other Homo Sapiens Sapiens common traits.

I believe that education, knowledge and keeping the memory of the whole of the Earth’s and its inhabitants’ history alive in the minds of young and future generations is the duty of every human beings.
However, I also believe that we are all free to tell stories, perpetrate traditional legends and dream the day away, after all, that is what makes us human, our thoughts, our imaginations.

As long as we cut a CLEAR line between FACT and FICTION.

Have a pleasant weekend. Please react, comment and I will be sure to reply. Sharing is what brings Peace into this world.

Thank you for reading.

Susan Baury Rouchard
Imagine, John Lennon, Lyrics

Monday, 18 March 2019

⌗AtoZ Challenge April 2019, Theme revealed.

I am participating in the A to Z Challenge of April 2019.
On this blog, I will be writing poetry and short stories, some new, some older but never blogged.
I am also participating in the Nanowrite Challenge of April which will be more to do with my novel in progress. (Outline described in my post of March 6th, IWSG, heroes and villains).
Hope you’ll join me here and share my journey from April 1st.

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge

Landing page

Saturday, 16 March 2019

⌗FMF Five Minute Friday, March 15th, PLACE

Here is my contribution for this week's Five Minute Friday.

A challenge in which you write for five minutes flat on/about a word prompt, whatever it inspires in your writing self.
If you would like to join go to the landing page here


1) "The Potty's the Place", a quote from a 'favourite stories for under fives' video from 1991.

'I Want My Potty', a story written by Tony Ross for Walker Books Ltd, turned in a film by King Rollo films Ltd, Anderson Press Ltd, Abbey Broadcast Communications plc.

if you would like to watch

2) "There's no place like HOME", a quote from the Wizard of Oz, if you would like to see the extract I am referring to

Extract number one. Glenda asks 'What have you learnt'

EXTRACT NUMBER TWO, "There's no Place like Home"

However, this fairy tale had dire consequences for the actors has you can see in this short documentary, especially Judy Garland who never really found her happy place in this world, and died in 1969 at age 47.
go here

3) On Friday 15th March 2019, the place to be for me was in Toulouse for the March to Preserve the Climat. A March on Friday for high-school children and students.
There were adults too with smaller children and older people, even very old, in wheelchairs.

From 16.00 TO 17.30, the Place to be was Allés Jules Guesde, in the heart of Toulouse.
From 17.30 TO 19.00, we marched from the Allés Jules Guesde, Palais de Justice, Les Carmes, Rue Alsace Lorraine, The Capitol, Place St Sernin, Place Jeanne d'Arc.

If you would like to watch some videos I took at Allés Jules Guesde : banners, costumes, singing, dancing, slogans chanted, all the different kind of people coming together to protest against the Government inaction in face of the threats to the Planet,

Saturday, 9 March 2019

#FiveMinuteFriday, March 8th, MORE

I am posting with the Five Minute Friday Challenge.
If you would like to participate, sign up here


“Please Mr Bumble, can I have some more...” Oliver asked in a small, quivering squeak.

“MORE !” thundered Mr Bumble

In the Yemen, women, men and children need more to eat.
In Cameroon, men, women and children need more health care, more public infrastructures and more political freedom.
In Dubai, immigrant workers need more basic rights, more labor protection and more permanent houses and shops. Not the shanty towns where they are left to slumb their lives away in squalor, while the rich get richer in their glass and metal towers, oblivious to their plight.

To cite but a  smithering of the issues the forgotten populations of the world are facing. And they are many and live far and wide across the planet.

So when the rich Northern countries cry for more of everything, I shout back at them :
“ Shut Up and look around you. The world needs more of your Attention, more of your Care, more of your Engagement, more of your Financial Help and more of your Love if we, as a species are to survive !”

An extract from the musical Oliver, that painted a fairytale version of Charles Dicken’s grim novel.


Wednesday, 6 March 2019


It's the Insecure Writers Support Group day. Every first Wednesday of the month. Post your answer to the question of the month. Share with other insecure writers, comment on their posts, and spread the word. If you would like to join click on the landing page

The question for the 6th of March is

 Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?

Good Morning, fellow members.

Unfortunately I don't have much experience with novels, as I am writing my first novel.
My narrator is 3rd person omniscient and he/she is writing from the point of view of the two main characters, each with their own voice, and their own story as they don't evolve in the same setting. Different countries and they do not know each other. I suppose they are both the heroes of their own adventures.

In my short stories, my narrator is mostly 3rd person omniscient and writes from the point of view of the main character, usually, a hero. Sometimes the point of view can shift from one character to another, but in a short story, rarely...It's to short to be able to pull it off !

In my poems, the perspective is often mine. So I suppose I consider myself the hero but maybe I'm the villain sometimes. Then you could argue that there are no heroes or villains in poetry ! No, in narrative poems there are plenty. In Paradise Lost, Satan is the villain and Milton writes long passages from his point of view. In Keats' La Belle Dame sans Merci, the narrator is interviewing the knight, so the the poem is written from the knight's perspective who is not really a hero, more a victim of the Belle Dame, the clear villain.
Some of my poetry include narrative poems and in these cases, I like to write more from the perspective of a witness than the hero or villain. It enables the narrative to unfold more objectively.

Sorry I'm going off on a tangent here....
Today, as the question refers mostly to novels, I am feeling insecure about my novel in progress. It is not in progress as I am stalling ! I think about it a lot in my head but I am not writing. I started it in 2007 and wrote two chapters from the perspective of one of the characters. Then I wrote the third chapter in February 2013, adding to it in May 2014 but this third chapter is not finished. So what have I been doing ? Writing short stories and poetry, going to writing workshops, taking creative writing and poetry courses. 

In my novel's notebook, I have amassed research.
What is the novel about ? It's a two-fold Bildungsroman of sorts with one omniscient narrator and two characters, two stories and two point of views. Ambitious ? Yes, and you bet I'm feeling insecure about that. Has the novel any villains? I don't know, I haven't outlined my character list yet.

The research is on setting and occupations of the two main characters. 

Bartholomé is a 24 year-old Cameroonese from Douala who teaches Mathematics at the University of Yaoundé. His father lives in Douala and is the Head Receptionist of the Novotel there. His mother is from the English-speaking Bamiléké area. Bartholomé is fascinated by Mathematics. It is a subject which appears to fulfill all his intellectual needs. His Grandfather suddenly dies and he takes a trip up North to Maroua for his funeral. so my research hinges on Cameroon, country and history; advanced mathematics; Muslim traditions in North Cameroon; the Fang, Bamiléké and Fulani cultures and languages.
I spent a year in Equatorial Guinea, a hispanic country between Cameroon and Gabon and travelled between the three countries. So I already have quite a lot of books, my photographs and diaries. I have contacts still living in Cameroon, Cameroonese, and some Cameroonese friends living in France. I have kept up with the country's history, politics, news and culture over the years even if I haven't been back since 1989. This story starts in 1988.
I studied advanced mathematics until I was 20 and also have a friend who is an American researcher and has travelled the world.
I am not feeling too insecure about this story because I think I possess a sound foundation of knowledge.

The second story is the tricky part. Mathilda is an African-American who lives in New York City and studies the history of "Black" ( no offence ) music and how it has merged with other American music to create new genres. For her research, she will travel to the South Eastern States and there start to question her own family roots.
My research on this second story englobes New York City; African American music; the South Eastern States; studying at University in NYC, living in New York; the history of African-American who migrated/fled from the slave States to the North Eastern coast; literature and arts beyond music.
There again, I do know quite a lot. I lived in New York in my childhood, in Staten Island, and visited many times since 1971; the last time in 2013. I keep up with history, politics, the news, literature, music and culture from all over the States. But I know nothing about the University system in NYC nor even if you can study the history of African-American music in New York. So I 'm feeling very insecure about this.
I know quite a lot about the South Eastern States, having travelled there several times. I have my books, photographs and diaries. I went to a Gospel Church service on my birthday in 2008 and am still in contact with the parish. But I'm uneasy about the fact that my own family history in no way intersects with that of my character's. I'm afraid that I will not be able to grasp my character's point of view in an authentic manner. I've read the main African-American authors of the 19th century and a few who wrote in the first half of the 20th century but not many since so I need to close that enormous gap. I've read a lot about the civil rights movement and witnessed the incidents that made the news, through TV and magazines, in the States and Europe. I visited several museums in Georgia and Alabama, recording names and dates in order to be able to reconstruct an authentic, though fictional, family tree for Mathilda.
As a European, I'm concerned that I won't be able to write convincingly about racism in the United States from the Point of View of my African-American character. I recently read Jodi Picoult's Small Great Things and according to the reviews, realise that Mrs Picoult didn't really pull off a 'believable Ruth', the African-American nurse, heroine of the novel, despite 'rigorous research and good intentions'. The racial problematic seemed well captured but what do I know ? Anyone read this book ? What do you think ?

Sorry I strayed from the question but I'm far from being able to answer it from experience.
Thank you for reading to the end. If you still have some energy, please feel free to comment, discuss, argue... And I'll be sure to reply.

Have a nice IWSG Day.

a little something to end my post.

Friday, 1 March 2019

⌗FMF Challenge, SEARCH

Hello fellow writers. I am partipating in the FMF Challenge for the first time after the WEP-IWSG 28 days challenge. If you would like to join the 

⌗FMF Challenge, go to this link :



I keep forgetting things, dates, names . So when I remember that I'VE FORGOTTEN something, I write it down, usually in my daily notebook. Then when I re-read my entries, I'm in for a lovely time of searching for information : in my records, in my books, in my films....And more often than not on Wikipedia.
As my late Auntie Ann would say, you can't trust everything their articles say - but anyway I Love researching on Wikipedia. I check a date or a name then start learning something new and thread on from there. Very time consuming but it always gives me pleasure and I hook up with new books, music, authors, actors, films, historical figures....and ENJOY.

6 minutes, sorry.

An example of a search. I was wondering when David Bowie wrote SPACE ODDITY, in regard to the 1969 landing on the moon, while listening to the song the other day.
It turns out, the song was released in June 1969, a month before the Moon Landing but of course, once they had already left Earth, and there were probably reports on the launch and trip; as the event was amply televised. And then I listened to the song again in light of the information.
If you would like to listen to the song, click below

What did SEARCH evoke for you today ?
Leave a comment and I'll have a look at your post.
Thank you for reading. Have a pleasant day.