Poet Mum – Bringing A Baby To An Open Mic

Babies and poetry don’t mix. I don’t remember who said that to me, but I remember it being said, and it stuck. The dread it inspired when I started to consider how being a mum and a poet would work still lurks in the back of my brain, and I probably spend more time than I should be worried over the subject. This post isn’t a how-to on balancing motherhood and writing, but it is my personal experience of how I’ve managed those two elements of myself so far. ‘One size fits all’ is almost always a lie, and it’s important that we share our experiences openly and honestly so that others can find the path that works best for them. Parenthood is riddled with judgements, the sense that we’re not doing enough, and that someone is always doing it better. In reality, most of us are doing our best and that is enough. We don’t need to be perfect, we just need to be ourselves. Finding how we do that is sometimes the hardest part.

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Static Begins A Storm – #Poem By Carol J Forrester

This trail of fingerprints is simply browsing.
Palm pressed to the hollow of your spine
before you step out of the moment,
leave this touch behind you in that second
where electric ran your length
and cracked between your ribs
as something begins burning. 

I’ve combined by love of sketching and poetry to make some poem postcards for ‘The Muse Spits Blood’. They turned out rather nicely, so I think I might have to make some more postcards for the other quadrilles I have written over the past few years.

Unearthed Abundance – We Repeat Our Tasks Of Preparing

Tonight’s poetics challenge from DVersePoets is to create our own major and minor seasons using the traditional format of Chinese and Japanese micro-seasons. Growing up in a farming family means that your sense of the year is always tied to the land, and I thought this might be a nice opportunity to share what January/February means on a farm in North Shropshire.

Sekki: Unearthed Abundance

Store lambs are bought in the Autumn, and sold on in the Spring. During the months in-between they need a source of food, and a good way to provide this is by grazing them on stubble turnips. The sheep will graze the leafy green tops off the crop first, leaving the field looking fairly barren, but the pink turnips that actually contain most of the nutrition remain below the surface. Without the easy to reach leaves to snack on, the sheep turn their attention to these. To represent this I chose ‘unearthed abundance’ as the name of my major season.

I was a little stumped as to what to name my minor season for this challenge. I decided to go with ‘where we repeat our tasks of preparing’ as my family are still in that point of the farming calendar where they are preparing. Lambing is a few weeks away since we don’t lamb as early in the season as some, and the day-to-day tasks revolve around fencing off new patches of grazing for the store lambs, getting reading for lambing, and keeping an eye on the cows close to calving. While the crops have been sown, in places the fields still look empty, and it is easy to be fooled into thinking this is a quiet time in the farming calendar. There are no quiet times.

Green leafing forage
shifts in sections of fleeces
one patch to the next

With new calves being born, thousands of store lambs grazing in the fields, and new pedigree lambs on their way, my parents’ farm is currently busy with livestock. Winter may not be quite over yet, but new life is there just beneath the surface. In my own garden, removed from the farm I grew up on, I can see this in our koi fish. Sunk to the bottom of the pond, they are waiting out the cold weather and look almost dead in their stillness. This is the way of this season, the barren hiding the plentiful.

Pencil sketches of the top of a fodder beat plant, a lamb, a cow, and a koi fish
Evening doodles – 01/02/2020

Watcher Under The Table – A Poem By Carol J Forrester

Exhausted, your prostate yourself,
legs aloft and crooked,
chin tilted towards some ceiling corner
as if to suggest you were focused
on anything but us.
you follow footsteps with a beady eye,
wriggle your spine against tile,
happiness thumping in rapid, swishing beats.

As Lillian shared a lovely doggy snap with us tonight, I thought I’d include a sketch I did last month. I’m currently 9,000 words deep in NaNoWriMo, but when I’m not writing I have a go at improving my drawing skills, which mainly involves many hours of looking, sketching, going ‘well that’s shit”, erasing and trying again.

Tangle Deep

‘You have a twig,’ he says
fingers already picking
at the knots and brambles
thorned in her hair.
‘There’s a leaf caught,’
powdery fragile in the blonde,
whispers of skeleton,
rib rack of split ends.
‘Let me get that for you,’
sharp syllables, blunt nails,
loose strands and dandelion sap
rooted out from the scalp.
‘Isn’t that better now,’
no question, answer indisputable,
pretty plastic petals painted white
for the mirror to show.

Artwork by the fantastic Catrin Welz-Stein

I’m in love with the piece of art above, so much so that I’m planning on buying a print of it after payday. Though I’m a little torn between this one and her piece ‘Sisters’. I’ll have to pick one and maybe allow myself a second at Christmas.