Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my poetry blog – Poetica Domestica! I am enjoying writing my poetry and this poetry blog has been running for a little while now. I have had long periods when I haven’t sat down and written anything but I hope to post more regularly. My work isn’t “high art”, but it is written from the heart and about things that have happened to me or people I know or the world around me. So I hope you enjoy reading the posts. If you do please feel free to press Like at the bottom of the poem or leave me a comment. Take a look at the About page (click on Menu above) to see why it’s called Poetica Domestica and to see two of the three poems that inspired the title.

The last day of summer

Sitting on the rocks, feet in the sea, waves splashing all around me,
Sun beating down from the sky, slowly moving towards the west,
I lapped up the warmth and the salt-laden breeze through my hair
Wet from a day’s swimming in the sun-kissed surf,
And I thought about tomorrow.
How tomorrow I would be sitting up straight,
In a chair, to attention, listening to the teacher intoning
Declensions, subjunctives, periodic tables.
And I wondered if then I would take time to look back 
At me, sitting here on this rock, drinking in the sun
Of the last day of summer.

A view from my mother’s window

Here is a little poem describing what I can see and hear from my mother’s front window:

View through mum’s window 
Inky black trees, against white fluffy clouds,
Blocking light, sucking moisture from the ground
Up into their arteries and veins outstretched 
To succour the new growing buds of leaves.
A lone black bird chatters in their branches,
Cleaning its beak and nervously hopping 
Along, from bough to bough in search of food.
A nest high up speaks of new life yet to come.
The lofty grey church peals its sanctus bell
To signify the raising of the host.
Children pass by with glee on their way home
From school with parents, the dog walkers stroll
Round windy streets to exercise their pets.
A window cleaner strains up to ply his trade
And cars just pass on through to somewhere else.

Car journey

It was World Poetry Day on Sunday 21st March and I watched a good programme about a rail journey from London to Glasgow. It was referencing the 1936 Night Mail documentary which featured a poem by WH Auden. In this latest documentary five local poets got on and off the train along the way and wrote about what they could see around them. So I thought I should write about my day’s journey, particularly as I felt so daunted by it at the beginning but it was a good journey in the end.

Starting out, the road seems endless,
The hours rise up before me like a cliff.
A daunting prospect, with a single aim
To travel north as quickly as I can.
The cliff looms large and overwhelms me,
I pale at all those thoughts of traffic jams,
Delays and endless roadworks, stopping progress.
Determination marks my journey’s starting flag.
First minutes crawl - unlike the passing cars.
I speed upon my way in unfamiliar ease
Below the Thames and out across the banks.
The fields and towns flash by in green and grey,
Memories of other travels flooding back -
Carol singing on Christmas holiday journeys,
Laughs and games to pass the time for children
Asking “Are we nearly there yet?” so many times!
Those years of growing passing quickly too,
Now with their families they travel these same roads,
For holidays and visits, work and fun.
A pleasing continuity of life.
It seems no time has passed, and soon the hours
Begin to roll into each other’s sphere
And almost soon my journey’s end is reached.
The cliff has been scaled, its loftiness tamed.
Arriving is relief and full of joy,
The victory flag is waved, a new memory begins.

Haikus

I find that I enjoy and work better having some kind of framework for my poetry. Whilst studying various forms of poetry I came across the idea of Haiku – generally 3 lines with a 5-7-5 syllable form, but not restricted to this (there are two line Haikus and ones with more or less syllables). However this has given me some structure to work with. Here are a selection of my Haiku-inspired poems – from most recent to early attempts….

View through my window 2 Haiku
Waving trees like hands
Ushering in blustery winds
Flowing through fingers.

Majestic tall trees
Lofty ancient giants 
Ceaselessly bowing.

Water 
Clear water flowing, 
Tumbling, racing headlong, fast,
Heading for the sea.

On the funeral of a friend
Wintry sun shining
As we sing our last goodbyes
Salt tears streak our eyes.

Flowers, petals, earth
Thrown by grieving family, friends,
Your bloom now faded.

You were strong with us
Through life’s demanding changes
We’re weak without you.

Autumn (my first 3 attempts at Haiku)
A chill in the air,
Crackling leaves under my feet,
Colours just like fire.

Fuzzy cloud- ringed moon
Illuminating the ground
Crispy with night frost.

Longed-for rain falling,
Quenching the thirsty garden,
Renewing spirits.



A view from my window

At the weekend we watched Grayson Perry’s Art Club on catch-up and the theme he set for that particular week was “View through my window”. So I thought of the view through my windows and rather than paint or draw or sculpt the view I thought I would write it. So here is one of my offerings of a “View from my window” (the others are in a collection of Haikus):

View through my window

Dark, brooding leafless wood,
Awaiting time to spring
Back into life. And here
And there a squirrel leaps,
A grey ballerina
Pirouetting along
The narrow line of fence.
An animal gymnast,
Performing feats of skill.
Graceful, cheeky, cunning,
Tricking rivals, making
Dummy digs to foil them,
Staring down opponents,
And scampering off to
Freedom in their dark woods.

A year like no other!

It’s been a while since I posted anything to my blog. Like many others I have been overwhelmed by the coronavirus crisis but remarkably have been busy in other ways – leading zoom choir rehearsals, attending lockdown quizzes, having board game evenings with friends. In this time I also continued to write some poetry. At one point I set myself a target of writing a poem a day – Poem 365 I called it – but I felt I didn’t work best that way. So I have mostly written when I felt moved to. After Christmas I started periodically walking individually with my grandchildren and daughters as we were allowed to exercise with one other person, and I was missing the regular contact with them. This was a poem I wrote after one such lovely walk.

Walking with Noah

Wrapped up all warm against the cold,
We start to walk around the street
And catch up with his swarming bees -
The game he plays for hours and hours
when school and home work are complete.
We start along the curving roads,
He tells me of his games and quest 
To win some tokens, points and honey,
To turn to other prizes in
This bee swarm games he loves the best.

We’re on the downward straight to home,
He’s talked for almost all the trip,
Then suddenly he turns my way,
And says with sadness “That is all
I’ve got to say. No wait..” He turns
And starts again. Phew, just a blip!

I love my walks with Noah Heff,
He makes me think and laugh and smile,
We reminisce about old times,
Holidays, swimming, fast food jaunts.
We’ll go again in a short while.

I can’t feel down when out with Noah,
He’s really just a one-man show,
The time spent walking really flies
With funny tales and I-spy games.
I’m sad when it is time to go.

Hambledon Hill

Whilst visiting friends near Shaftesbury in September we climbed up part of Hambledon Hill and this poem is a reflection of my thoughts when I stood on top of the hill, looking at the quintessential English countryside below us. Plus these thoughts and feelings were amplified by a recent concert by the Thomas Tallis Society marking the centenary of the end of World War I with music and poetry from composers and writers of that era.

Hambledon Hill

High on Hambledon Hill I stood
And watched the clouds float by the hills.
The patient sheep, who turned to look
At who was passing through their lea,
Returned to chewing grass and leaf,
Skipping skittishly through the gaps
Left open for them by their squire,
Following friends to pastures new.

High on Hambledon Hill I stood
And looked at rolling, quiet hills,
The little hamlets nestling, snug
Against the trees and meadows bright
With crops and berries, birds and men
All gathering in the golden hoard,
And cars and lorries rumbled far
Away to distant country towns.

High on Hambledon Hill I stood
And thought of how they felt when called,
Those brave young men, those country men –
A hundred years ago they left
This idyll scene – how did they ache
When down these lanes they marched away
With shouldered arms, to teary waves,
Following friends to pastures new?

High on Hambledon Hill I stood
And wondered if they climbed here once
Before they left, to take a print
Of all this beauty, all this view,
Their homes, their lives, their land, their heart,
A glowing photo in their heads
To light their darkest hours and dread,
Away in distant countries’ towns.

High on Hambledon Hill I stood
And thought of those who came back here,
Returned to take again the plough
And make their living from the land
For which their comrades fought and gave
Their lives, the missing ones who roamed
This countryside, this old green hill,
Then followed on to pastures new

The bee and I

On Saturday 7th April Pete and I went to The Potted Garden and I was looking at a tray of plants when a bee climbed onto my hand. I tried to shake him off but he was so drunk with nectar that he wouldn’t budge. I wrote this poem about it when I got home.

I wonder who was more surprised –
The bee?
Or me?
I plunged my hand into the plants
And he
Found me!
He climbed up on my fingers, then
I froze.
He rose
A little higher up my hand!
I shook,
He stuck!
Now what were we supposed to do?
Impasse,
Alas.
I waved my hand to set him free.
He flew!
Adieu!

Trosley Walk

Trosley Walk
The path leads us down into the green woods
Which lie upon a ridge, following close
The flowing contours of Kent’s North Downs hills.
Hardly mountains as found in other places,
But steep enough in parts to catch our breath
In pants. No Everest or Snowdon, still
The views afforded by this dreamy height
Appear in bite-sized chunks, through little frames
Showing their tantalising glimpses of
A distant, sun-streaked landscape. There the towns,
The houses, people, roaming cattle, horses,
Are pale against the golden ripening corn.
The trees conceal the intervening sights.
As we press on from gap to gap, I muse.
Could these small, bright snatches knit together
In our mind’s eye, to form the panorama
Of what lies below this tranquil Downland way?
October 2016

The river runs gently

Yesterday I attended my granddaughter’s bronze award art exhibition at the University of the Creative Arts campus, high on the hill in Rochester, overlooking the river Medway. During the session we stood in the canteen looking down over the Medway. Afterwards I wrote this short verse contrasting the slow run of the wide river with the excitement of the young artists at the exhibition :

The river runs gently, reflecting blue
And silver, winding broad bends, rounding banks.
Behind me flows the chatter of young Art,
Excited by the prospects of such fun,
And chance to bring their different worlds to life.
Their minds, young rivers, tumbling, racing down,
Whilst far below the ageing Medway runs,
A quiet, gentle flow down to the sea.

6th April 2018