Life in Poetry reading, writing, reflecting

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

Monday, 26 August 2019

⌗FMF, Friday 23rd August 2019, PACE

It's Friday again. Welcome to Five Minute Friday. Write five minutes flat on a word prompt with Kate Motaung and her group.
If you would like to know more or join up start-here

This week PACE.
You do not need to be a Christian to join in. For my part, I believe in the natural laws of the Universe. All creeds welcome. (see my post FMF REWARD, Feb. 2019 on this blog)

a poem

Keep Up

Keep up the pace.
The bear has awoken
from his deep sleep.
The sun is high at dawn.

Keep up little bear.
Time is stretching
but not for long.
The air is bright for now.

Keep up with Spring.
Catch those fish
making their way
upriver to spawn.

Keep up the pace.
We need to fill up
to layer our hides
with thick reserves.

Keep up with Summer.
The light is waning.
long shadows creep
across the forest floor.

Keep up with the wind
that chills the mountain
tops, brings flakes
to the rocks. It's time.

Stranded, Hugh Coltman, 2012, live video in his garden, go here
Underground, Hugh Coltman, 2012, live concert Paris, here

Dawn, April 2014

Etang de la Jemaye, June 2013

Exhibition on Mongolia, In and around the Yurta, Musée Georges Labit, April 2019.

Thank you for stopping by. Still very much summer here in Toulouse. 33ºC in the afternoons, cooler in early hours of the morning. The dew of 2 weeks ago has disappeared however. Have an inspiring week. Please feel free to comment and I will be sure to reply.

Thursday, 22 August 2019


Welcome to another Challenge put together by Write Edit Publish and the Insecure Writers Support Group.
All through 2019, every two months, write a short story on a word prompt.
To learn more or join up go  here

This month

You can read my other entries for this challenge, on this very blog.
February, my short story 28 days.
June, my short story Tim and Sam, for Caged Bird.


Thank you to

Denise Covey - Founder/Host
L.G. Keltner - Co Host
Nilanjana Bose - Blurbs/Host
Olga Godim - Badges

and to

C. Lee McKenzie - liason IWSG/WEP
Pat Hatt - tweets and promo
Nick Wilford- judge
Elizabeth Seckman - IWSG Newsletter

and Chrys Fey for being our judge this month. Join her on Goodreads for exciting discussions on fiction and non-fiction at the IWSG Book Club.

Here is my contribution this month.

Breaking the Rules


Her big sister rode the red tricycle down the street. Francis clung to her brown teddy Badibo as she sat in the small red dumpster at the back. It was hard going for Mary. She huffed and puffed and blew her complaints out.

' You're too heavy, you can't ride in the back anymore. I'm not your chauffeur. Get off or I'll scream. '
' Teach me to pedal and I'll drive you around.'
' You can't, you're not strong enough.'
' Can. Am. Let me try.'

Mary stepped down.

' O.K. I'm going to sit in the dumpster and you get on the saddle. Let's see what you can do.'
' But I've never ridden the tricycle...' Francis felt unsure all of a sudden.
' You can do it. You're so superior.' Mari chided sarcastically.
' O.K. But I'm not carrying Li'le Bear too. Leave him on the sidewalk.'
' No someone will pinch him.' Mary put on her scandalised frown.
' Who would want that smelly old thing.' Francis teased mischievously.
'That's it. I'm going home to tell Mummy what a naughty little sister you are. You pedal back on your own.'

Mary stormed off. Francis shrugged, climbed onto the seat, gripping one of Badibo's paws and reached for the handlebars. She had to bend over her thighs before her fingers touched them. She glanced over her shoulder. Mary was already opening the green front door.
Francis looked down at her toes pressed on the pedals and pushed down on her knees. Nothing happened. She turned round and looked at the stem then the front wheel, the chain, the back wheels and saw that the dumpster was tilted completely down against them.
With a fed-up sigh, she climbed off and swung the handle so the dumpster was flat once more. Francis tried again. The chain rattled, the wheels squeaked and the tricycle was off, rolling, rolling down the sidewalk, bumping along the grassy cracks towards the end of the street and Barbara's house.

' Hi Barbara. look I'm riding my tricycle all by myself.'
' Wow... You're going to get your socks and jeans all dirty. My Mom doesn't let me ride with clean clothes on. I have to put my overalls on because of the grease from the chain and the dust on the wheels and the dirt on the bars...' barbara rattled on.
' Yeah ! Well you're Miss Prim Pants always dressed like a china doll. What do you know about having fun.' Francis counterpunched.

Barbara ran back into her yard wailing.

' Mom, Mom, Francis is being nasty'

Francis turned her razor eyes back on the sidewalk and pedalled on to the end of the world. She turned left and came down the next street, swerved dangerously round the corner and finished furiously her journey up to the house.

' Mummy, Mummy, I went around the block on my tricycle all on my own.'
' Be careful Honey.' Mummy paused looking at her daughter's white jeans. 
' Oh ! Francis, you're filthy .'
The jeans were smudged with black streaks of grime. Mummy clenched her teeth and her bright blue eyes scolded.

All the summer, Francis took over the use of the tricycle. She filled it with water for her mud pies; wheeled the bottles of lemonade and glasses to their table on the sidewalk. Travelled to faraway lands with Badibo reclining on a cushion in the carriage.
She wasn't allowed to cross the street so she had to walk to Frank's birthday party with her heavy bag: the present, her swimsuit, her towel and sunglasses. She couldn't take it to the pit either. mummy said the wheels would get clogged with mud, the chain, tangled in clumps of weed and brambles.

The red tricycle followed Francis through two years of collecting Easter Eggs, trick-or-treating. Playing Sesame Street and punching her RomperRoom inflatable dummy which burst after a week.
On Francis' fifth birthday she got her full-grown bicycle with trainer wheels. In September, Francis asked:

' Can I go to Kindergarten on my bike ? '
' No, you'll be taking the school bus.'

Francis' newfound freedom was nipped in the bud. So she climbed onto the yellow bus on her first day of school and had the time of her life. New faces, milk and cookies, hand-painting, story time and most of all new friends. At twelve-noon, Francis took the school bus bound for home.
Her and Patsy chatted excitedly about their day.

' It's my stop. Come and play at my house. Mum won't mind.'
' O.K. I'll phone home from yours.'

Patsy and Francis stood up and made their way to the front. Patsy got off, Francis close behind.

' Whatta ya think you're doing young lady,' came a booming voice behind her.
' I'm going to play at my friend's house. I'll phone my Mummy as soon as we get there.'
'No you don't. You only get off at your stop. back in your seat.'

Francis looked at Patsy walking away through the window. Tears welled up in her eyes. All the other kids were watching like hawks. The shame, the anger. The tears spilled over.

' Your stop,' commanded the driver.

Mummy was waiting on the curb. Francis took her outstretched hand, head fixed on the cracked slabs.

' How was your day ? What did you do ? '
The excited flow choked in Francis' throat.
' Great,' she managed.
' Well you'll tell me all about it after lunch. You must be tired and hungry. Here's your carrot.'

Francis took the carrot fingers silently, snapped them one by one and munched, eyes glued to the ground.
As soon as she could get away, she buried her head in Badibo's belly and sobbed her heart out. She couldn't wait to go back the next day but she would have to take the bus. The BUS. The DRIVER. The Others. Where was her little red tricycle with the dumpster. Her house on wheels. Her carefree life.
1080 words.

extra 300 words. to break the rules and end the story properly...  sorry...

' Time to go,' Mummy called the next morning.
' I'm not going.'
' What do you mean, you're not going, I thought you had such a wonderful time.'
' I won't take the bus.'
' Well, you have to take the school bus to get there.'
' Can't you take me, I'm feeling sick.'
' No you're not. Come along now or we'll be late.'
' I 'm not, I'm not, I'm not.'
' Stop being such a baby, this is nonsense.'

Mummy picked up Francis' bag, grabbed her hand and pulled her down the steps, dragging her length sidewalk. Francis' little feet pedalled to keep up, her thighs bashing into her knotted stomach. Her face sheet-white, her eyes wide open in horror.
The yellow bus pulled up just as they reached the stop.

' Off you go then. Have a nice day.'
' I can't, I'm going to throw up.'

' What's up, I haven't got all day ! ' bassed the driver.
' I don't know what's the matter with her, she doesn't want to take the bus. Did something happen ? '
The driver leaned over the steps and peered into Francis's face. His gaze lit up and he let out a resounding laugh.

' That's the young lady who wanted to get off before her stop. Said she was going to a friend's house. Stopped her of course. Can't have theses kids running wild.'

Mummy joined in the fun. Francis turned beetroot red and fumed at her mother with rage. What was so funny ? She didn't think there was anything to smile about. What were these stupid rules. If this was growing up, it was no fun at all. She couldn't wait for the week to be done and get back to her couch, her TV, her muddies, her paddling pool and her red tricycle with the dumpster.
She wanted her life back.

Mr Sandman, extract film Mr Nobody, The Chordettes (1958), go here
Everyday, Buddy Holly, here

Sesame Street, Greatest songs, 1970's, go here
Captain Kangaroo, theme song and video, here
RomperRoom, 1967, here

Leonardo di Caprio gets kicked off Romper Room, 1985, here
Robin Williams Interview, 1987 , go here

Over the Rainbow, Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland, 1939, go here

Sanonaxe Street, May 1967

Colon Avenue, June 1967

Kindergarten, class of 1970/71
Great Kills, Staten Island

Thanks for visiting. Please feel free to comment, discuss, like, dislike, rate. And I will be sure to reply.
Sunny here again in Toulouse, but cool nip in the air. Indian Summer on the horizon.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

⌗FMF, Friday 16th August, HOSPITALITY

Welcome to another Five Minute Friday post. Finally back home at my computer after visiting family and friends over the Summer. Sorry for my tardiness.

Join Kate Motaung's group and write five minutes flat on a word prompt, every Friday. To know more and join up start here

Today Hospitality.

Thank you Kate and Leslie Verner for her post, introducing her new release
Invited : The Power of Hospitality in an Age of Loneliness.


I've always wondered why the word Hospitality has 'Hospital' in it. Why not 'Hostel' which gave hotel. Were houses of care, the first havens where a community welcomed strangers ? Or is it the other way round. The hospital is where carers are hospitable. Which comes first the egg or the chicken ? The chicken of course or a form of chicken which came from another form of egg. and so on and so forth ... back to the first egg-layers, the reptiles who first lay foot on firm ground, then evolved into flying birds. Though the former came from egg-spawning fish. Who in turn came from the first animal cell.
Is a Hospital a place where people really feel welcomed or is it a sort of 'prison' ? It sometimes feels that way. First, patients are often prisoners of their illnesses. Then some doctors treat you like a scientific case to be solved and you are reduced to a file number. And some nurses treat you like 4 year-olds. So now we are back in Kindergarten ... the first prison ?
In a Bed&Breakfast you are made to feel welcome, a home away from home, where you don't have to do the washing up. However, hospitals, nursing-homes, hostels, hotels, lodges, campsites may be hospitable but they require a financial contribution ... so the welcoming is tainted.
True hospitality cannot be linked with an exchange of money. We welcome family, friends or strangers into our homes out of the kindness of our hearts or selfless love. A human trait ? Maybe not.
Animals can be welcoming too. Mothers wll welcome a stray into their nest or midst without a second thought , even another species, even a human baby. Would a human mother welcome an animal at her breast ? Nature is sometimes better at making the right choices than Man has become since he turned his back on the Laws of the Universe.
Food for Thought. Welcome to my table.

I'm Afraid of Americans, David Bowie, 1997, go here
Another World, Antony and the Johnsons, 2009, here
Turning down Water for Air, James Quill, 2009, go here
You want it Darker, Leonard Cohen, 2016, here

Elie du Bois, Dordogne, August 2019

Sunset on the Meadow

Etang de la Jemaye, 6.30am
Bathing with the ducks.

Chatelet, August 2019

Notre Dame du Sacré Coeur
Paris, 9ème

Rue des Jeuneurs, Paris 2ème

Thank you for visiting. You are always welcome. Please feel free to speak your mind.
Welcome rain here today in Toulouse after the sun overstayed her welcome.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

#FMF, Friday 9th August 2019, AGAIN

Hello there, welcome to another Five Minute Friday post.
If you would like to know more about FMF and join this group, writing with Kate Motaung, go here
Write every Friday, Five Minutes Flat on a word prompt.
You don't have to be a practicing christian to join this group. I'm not, my beliefs lie elsewhere (see my post REWARD, February 2019). All faiths welcome, as far as I'm concerned, as long as others' convictions are respected and nothing openly offensive is posted.


This Week, AGAIN.  Thank you Nick Hardy for the guest post.

Dubrovnik again.

The Sun crests the horizon
once again. The Moon creeps
night after night from full
to crescent, to new again,
and again, month after month.

She murders me with her gaze
year in, year out. She shot me
again on Thursday. I rise
from my corpse once more.
Freewill and I shall never surrender.

Once again, an old friend
at the other end of the phone.
Like yesterday, like thirty
years, so long ago, so far away.
Again we settle into safe companionship.

The cycle rotates, bumps
on cogs, bolts. The wheel
again takes the lead, edges
me back full circle to a haven,
my peaceful retreat, my pen and paper.



Crystalised, XX, 2009, here
Pursuit of Happiness, Kid Cudi, 2009, here
Heavy Cross, Gossip, 2009, here
The Sad Song, Freda Viola, 2009, here
Sheilia, Atlas Sound, 2009, here
Dandelion, Charlotte Gainsbourg, 2009, here and here .
Hang you from the Heavens, The Dead Weather, 2009, here
Immortels, Dominique A, 2009, here
Howling around my Home, Daniel Norgren, 2013, here

Thank you for stopping by. Please feel free to comment, discuss, like or dislike, rate. And I will be sure to reply.
Have a stunning Sunday.
See you next week.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

#IWSG, Wednesday 7th August 2019. Dog Days of Summer

Dear Fellow writers and bloggers.
Welcome to another month of the Insecure Writers Support Group.

Thanks to Pat Hatt for this month`s post. I`m a cat person myself, and agree that everyday day is cat`s day. They do what they want. As the Ancient Egyptians knew, they are Divinity.
On my recent trip to Croatia, as in Istanbul last summer, I observed the growing population of cats. They are everywhere. They are free as the wind; it sometimes costs them their lives, especially when newly born. No mother, no milk, no shelter. If they survive, a caress of their body and tail, a plaintive meow is enough to melt the most leaden heart. And food will be provided. Shelter, conversation and fondling follow. However, a cat will not give up his freedom so easily. Windows and doors are to be kept open, imperitively, at all times. As the French say, 'Propose and the cat will Dispose'.

if you would like to read Pat's post and be reminded of all the exciting things going on at the IWSG,
go here

and you can sign-up .

Thank you to the co-hosts of this month's posting, Renee Scattergood, Sadira Stone, Jacqui Murray, Tamara Narayan, LG Keltner and last but not least , the Ninja himself Alex J. Cavanaugh.
A round of applause for all their hard work. Be sure to visit their sites, and like a cat, brush against them with your furry tails and look at them with your theatrical plaintive eyes like Cat in Boots (Shrek).

The (optional) question this month is:

Has your writing ever taken you by surprise ? For example, a positive and belated response to a submission you'd forgotten about or an ending you never saw coming ?

As a budding professional writer, my publications are few and far apart. So I have never forgotten about a submission. The positive responses have always come fairly quickly, although always as a welcome surprise. That's how insecure a writer I have felt uptill now..
Thank's to this group and the support of fellow bloggers who regularly follow my writing, confidence has grown exponentially in 2019. After forty-five years of writing my heart and brain out, but who is counting ... better late than never ... Another heart-warming surprise. Beyond my immediate family, their is a world out there, willing to listen and enjoy. As my mother would say, 'Wonders will never cease'. To discover who these amazing people are, see my Sunshine Blogger Award post, 16th May 2019, on this blog, here .

What truly takes me by surprise is the extent of insight I have occasionnally been gratified with over the years. Sometimes, I will read a snippet or whole pages of writing and think: ' Did I really write this ? Why did it take me solong to rediscover it  ?' Life and inspiration work in mysterious ways.
As Dr Seuss, would say, 'lessons have to be learnt over and over again' ....  and most we learn in Kindergarten.
My guardian angel, or muse or lucky star hovers, though imperceptively, constantly in the recesses of my pen and from time to time strikes. The lightening bolt cracks open the treasure chest or the current hits the tungsten filement of the light bulb. And , as lightening, you never know when or where it will crash down next. It rarely falls on the same spot, but it happens. People hit multiple times by lightening and survivng ....

The endings don't tend to creep up unawares though. They have a terrible habit of rushing to the fore at the most inappropriate moments, and like and impatient child, raise their hand, jumping up and down in their seats, to be picked on before I've had time to finish my meandering speech.
I dream of writing like John Irving, from end to beginning; that would put a lid, from the onset, on that over-zealous young spirit bouncing about in my mind.

Dis-moi ce que tu penses, L'Amour et la Violence, Sebastien Tellier, 2008 go here
Entre les lignes: clouée au sol, Keny Arcana, 2006, here
Who the fuck are Artic Monkeys, Artic Monkeys, 2006, here
Mount Wrocklai (Idle days), Beirut, 2006, here
Trick or Treatz, Metronomy, 2007, here
Hier à Sousse, Alain Bashung, 2008, here

Thank you for visiting. Please feel free to comment, like, dislike, discuss. And I will be sure to reply.
Paris, sunny with a strong breeze. Bouncy bunny clouds floating from West to East. Yesterday's rain has washed away the dust and painted in the bright colours of Nature in again.
Have an inspiring August to contribute to the Anthology, Red Wheelbarrow and countless other 'goodies'.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

⌗FMF, Friday 26th July 2019, MIDDLE

Welcome to Five Minute Friday.
If you would like to join up with Kate, start-here


Middle English.

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales always fascinate me, even though the Middle English was hardeous at times. It transported me back in time to a place when people's preoccupations were either basic or spiritual.
The pilgrims on this, uncannily modern, road trip are endearing, funny and sometimes downright annoying. The perfect Human Beings.
I discovered these fireside stories about the same time that I visited Venice at 12 with my class. I spent that year documenting an enormous file on the Lagoon's origins, history, politics, economy and of course Renaissance Art.
I was under the spell of the earlier artists. Fra Angelico's frescoes, discovered first in Venice, then in Florence the following year with the same class. Then came UCELLO and his colourful battle fields packed with side-stories of minor characters in corners and behind the main scene. Botticelli was an allegory master who left the beaten path of religious representations to offer Nature a rightful place alongside human activities.
The architecture fulfilled my tastebuds for the Beautiful : palaces, gothic churches, campaniles. The explosion of gold and intricate mosaics encased within the Basilico San Marco.
No middle ground in Venice. Each canal, waterway, street, alley offer unsuspected treasures, amongst which I was all to glad to get lost and forget the average existence awaiting me back home.

Palazzo Venice, July 2019

Paradiso by Tintoretto
Palazzo Ducale

School of Ucello, Naval Battle

The Grand Canal
Santa Maria del Salute

Basilica San Marco
the Four Bronze Horses
July 2019

Jacco Gardner, Hypnophobia, listen here

Thank you for visiting. Please feel free to comment, like, dislike, discuss. And I will be sure to reply.

⌗FMF, Friday 19th July 2019, DISTANCE

Welcome back to another week of Five Minute Friday. Write five minutes flat on a word prompt.
If you would like to learn more or sign up with Kate click here


Distant in Space. Reach up and touch the Moon.
We climbed the mountain. Auburn butterfly hovering
over the violet clochette-shaped wild flowers.
Sea stretching away, azure transparent, clear green.
lunar landscapes islands, slopes crash into the water.
Kekrrastic rocks.
A Ryder sculpted onto the back of an Orc.
A log cabin, a deep well. Founders of the Botanical Garden
tread this path stealthily, cushioned by needle-blanketed
chocolate earth. A photograph immortalises them. Smiling
through Time.

Distant in Time. Lost to uncertain memories. The written word,
the captured image keep Time in a Bottle, to share and enjoy
full circle. Best friends at 8, lost to the passing years
and growing up. Re-connect at 54. Electrical waves bridge
an unfathomable abyss.

Distance of Emotions. When she expressed her aching feelings
and they were dismissed, made light of, made fun of,
a laughing matter. The comic story the family told over and over.
Emotions ignored, facts reported twisted into fiction imagined.
Fire ! Fire ! Wolf ! Wolf ! Burnt to ashes, eaten alive.
From frying pan to fire.

Distance of Opinions. Harmony of ying and yang. Creamy dough
of feminine flour and masculine butter. Clash of pater rostra
and questioning fila pequena. Gorge of misunderstanding : a woman's role,
a man's role versus a human being striving to survive to lead an equal,
balanced, fulfilling life.

Distance of Culture. The Hundred Years' War gathers like a storm cloud
over the Channel of my birth. Lightening strikes once, twice, again and again,
always hitting the same frail tree. You land me a blow, I get up and stare you
down defiantly.

Distance of Manners. Je fais fie de vos conventions. They are chains
and I am not a slave, nor a caged bird. My wings are delicate, engineered
to fly up, up and away like that beautiful balloon of my dreams.

Distance of Character. My genes have spoken, my likes, my dislikes are my own.
The battles I fight serve my survival and the bliss of loved ones.
If you do not wish to dance in my circle and take my hand, be gone with you.

The Distances have crept up unawares. The bridges that we thought were made
of stone have fissured and crumbled. The arches have toppled and stunned us dizzy.

I have lost a friend. You have severed a tie, imagining your unease is at the origin
of all your problems. I am but the tip of the iceberg of your own making that
you are intent on ramming your head against.
Turn your wheel away, and stir clear. The wind will once again fill your sail and carry
you towards clement lands.
I am content to share my hard-fought ice with my friends the penguins, polar bears
dolphins and whales. Basking in the clear air and rainbow skies.

La Garrigue, Lac de St Cassien, Côte d' Azur, July 2019

Street art Nice, Côte d' Azur, July 2019

Exhibition : Empress Sissi's Wardrobe
Opatja, Croatia, July 2019

National Park Velebit Mountains
View over Pag islands, Croatia.

Rock formation. Velebit mountains.

Morning moon over Pag Island
Gajac, Croatia

Johnny Cash, Live at Folsom Prison go here

Supertramp, It's Raining Againhere

Jim Croce, Time in a Bottlehere

Simon and Garfunkel, Wake Up Little Suzie, go here

Thank you for visiting. Please feel free to comment, discuss, like or dislike. And I will be sure to reply.